I’m sitting here alone watching the clock. It’s about to turn 7:44am. It will mark exactly one week since my beautiful first born son, Brendan Bjorn, took his last breath while his brother, Declan, and I held his hands.
I don’t know if I can do this. Do anything. Right now, breathing is at times all I can find the energy to do. I haven’t even cried in a few days…not out of lack of emotion, but I think because the emotions are overwhelming me.
This time last week the tears were streaming down my face as I stroked my boy’s lovely, thick brown hair and told him it was ok, that we were right here, that he could let go.
Forget what I said above. After days of not crying, I am now crying as I type this blog piece. And remember.
Sobbed uncontrollably to the point of not being able to catch my breath and triggering my asthma. Inhaler taken now. Talking myself into a space of calming down because, well, I have to do it. I have to think of Declan. I’m all he has now and I can’t lose myself altogether. Yesterday was his 14th birthday. He needs me here. And God knows, I need him.
Declan is back at school today after having taken the last week and a half off. He’s been so mature through this heartbreak. He spoke so well at Brendan Bjorn’s celebration of life (funeral). We have moments of crying together, and even some moments of laughter. But this past week, it’s mostly been quiet. Solemn. Reflective. Still.
Life with Brendan Bjorn is ALL that Declan has ever known.
His world has been shaken as much as mine.
He is now my main priority in life: to get him settled for his life ahead as a young man in this world.
I’ve had a lot of time to think of what I would do when this day came where my caring role was over. Yet now that this day has come, I feel more lost than I thought I would. The day after Brendan Bjorn’s celebration of life, I could barely move. I was physically drained. I didn’t realise that I had gotten through the week and the service on what must have been reserves, because I woke the next morning with nothing left. I am still physically weak, exhausted, shaking.
Emotionally, I wrestle with thoughts of doubting myself…did I do enough; did I try everything; could I have done more…despite all of Brendan Bjorn’s doctors and nurses telling me I did all that I could and indeed more than many parents would do or have done. Still, I wrestle with those thoughts of questioning myself. Mind you, having someone call the police after my last blog piece, accusing me of starving my precious son to death, resulting in 3 Gardai coming into my home and questioning me, hasn’t helped my instinctual self-doubts. In fact, that evening continues to traumatise me, playing over in my mind and even invading my dreams. And to think Declan saw it all. My heart aches for all he’s been through.
The tears have settled again, undoubtedly until next time they come raging. Today I will go to the GP and pick up the medical death certificate for Brendan Bjorn. The GP office rang yesterday to tell me it was ready while I was at the beach with Declan for his birthday. We tried to escape the reality, but it barged in on us with that phone call.
At some point this week, since I will now have the certificate, I will have to register his death and notify social welfare. That will be Declan and I floating adrift financially in now just 5 weeks time. How is someone supposed to pick themselves up after nearly 18 years of intensive, nursing-level, complex medical caring work, literally 24/7, and even contemplate rejoining the workforce? My body is broken after years of this work. My health not good. My career gone. My heart shattered. I’ll be 57 later this year and all I want to do now is rest. At this moment, I actually want to go back to bed but I know I can’t. Too much to get done. There is no one else to do it all.
I just want him back.