Sunday, January 3, 2010

I am still here!

Well, I lived through yesterday and that was not an easy task, let me tell you!

It is amazing when we get so used to hearing someone tell us for so long that we are wothless and stupid..... how we hear that voice in our heads long after they stopped saying them.

Yesterday marked the 23rd anniversary of my youngest son's death. His name was Joseph Junior Allee. A lot of people thought I was too stupid to put it the "right" way and thought it should have been Joseph Allee Junior. That was not the case!! He was named after my grandmother who was named after her father after her father gave up on ever having a son. His name was Joseph so they named her Joe Junior and she went by June all her life.

Joey was born on November 28, 1986 at 5 am and died January 2, 1987 at 5pm. He was exactly 5 weeks and 12 hours old. He was born with Hypoplastic Left Ventrical, which is a fancy way of saying he was born with half a heart. I was told that I should never have given birth to a live child with this disorder. I was told that he wouldn't make it past the night. Then I was told I couldn't take him home unless I promised to perform "no marked miracles for recusitation" or I would have to leave him at the hospital. In other words, I had to promise that I would let him die as they planned to, or they weren't going to allow me to take him home. I promised what they asked, which is the first time I ever purposely lied to get what I wanted.

Yesterday marked many painful memories for me and it was difficult to weave through false information going on in my head and truth in what was actually going on in my life. Unfortunately, because of this, I jumped to conclusions and started judging every aspect of my life, including my marriage. I am, hopefully, past that now.

I was watching a movie where a little girl asked a woman who had lost her daughter, how she felt when she died and I blurted out. "Like your world just caved in." I didn't realize that I was saying it out loud for a moment. When the movie was over, I started remembering things from the week that followed my son's death and then more from a conversation about 5 years ago.

First.....The day that I was visiting the mortuary/funeral home where my son was taken, I started crying. A pretty natural thing to do in my opinion. My mom told me that
"God took Joey from you because you don't appreciate the two kids you already have."
What a thing for a mother to say to her daughter who just lost a child....but she said it.

I wish I could say that was the only thing she said. The night that my son starting going into heart failure, New Year's Eve 1986, I was staying with my parents for the weekend (mom's request) I called the doctor and told him that Joey was not breathing normally and asked what I should do. My dad overheard the conversation and told me he would take us to the hospital (while I was on the phone). My mom started yelling that I was just faking it so she would have to cancel her plans for the New Year's Eve Party and she wouldn't stand for it. My dad again said he would take us to the hospital, but the doctor said if I would just stir him a little bit that he would start breathing again.

He was going through something with a name so long I can't even remember it, but they called them ABC's for short. He was not breathing properly but if it was heart failure that it would take several days for him to wouldn't be sudden. I assured her that I didn't plan on taking him to the hospital because they wouldn't help him, they would just let him die and that she could go to the party because I was staying home with all 3 of my kids.

She was pissed off to say the least, but she left. Dad hugged me and told me everything would be okay before he left.

When they came home from the party, I was still awake and holding Joey on a pillow in my lap to keep him comfortable and make sure he was breathing. She got mad again, and said I was just over exagerating to get attention and that I should just let him sleep and leave him alone. I told her I couldn't do that. She went to bed but was up in just a matter of minutes to tell me that dad was going to take Joey to the hospital and I would have to leave him there because I had two other children who needed me. I told her "no", but she insisted and dad got dressed and took us to the hospital.

I stayed as long as I could but the doctors posted a "Do Not Resucitate" order on his "bed" and I didn't want to leave. My dad told me that I needed to go home and they would call me if they needed me.

I cried all the way home and called the hospital about every 2 hours. I got no sleep that night at all. I begged my dad to take me to the hospital to pick him up and take us to the house. He agreed. We got back home (mine) and the boys went to bed. Joey was sleeping but very ash in color. I kept checking on him to make sure he was breathing. He made it through the night, but the hospice nurse advised me that it wouldn't be long at this point. I called the Fire Department in our district and let them know of the situation so they would know what to be prepared for in case I had to call, but I went ahead and made all the preparations as told, "just in case".

On January 2nd he was breathing hard and I was worried but he was sleeping and I was trying to let him rest. My mom called about 3pm and told me to "stop babying him". She told me that IF he made it, I would have to learn to treat him just like the other two boys and let him make it on his own. She kept insisting that I was worrying over nothing and I sank down on the floor just listening to her batter me about being overprotective and overbearing. I finally got her off the phone because it was time to feed him. He had to be fed through a tube, gavauge feeding, because he didn't have enough strength to suck on a bottle. I went into the kitchen to warm the breast milk up for him and realized he was being very quite. I went in to check on him and he was cold and not moving.

I called 911 and told him the situation and the operator asked me if I knew CPR, I said no and she started telling me what to do..I screamed that I did know what to do and threw the phone down on the floor, placed my lifeless son on the coffee table and proceded to do CPR on him until the paramedics arrived. My mom called while they were there and I told her Joey was dead and slammed down the phone. I don't know how long it took them to arrive but the chaplain had come and had called the hospice nurse as well.

They all tried to talk me "down" and tell me what I needed to be doing next. I remember jumping up from the bed and telling them "He is cold and he needs a blanket". I took the blanket in to the paramedics to wrap him up in and started asking if anyone needed anything to eat or drink. I remember doing these things but they made no sense. I guess that is normal as well.

The day I went to take Joey's clothes to the funeral home (January 5) I got a phone call as I was leaving the house from Joey's father (I had kicked him out after finding out he was a child molestor when I was about 3 months pregnant). He said he had just heard on the radio that we had a baby boy. I told him he had died and I was on my way to the funeral home. At this point, he sarcasticaly stated....
"I guess you want me to come to the funeral."

I hesitated for about 1/2 second before screaming that if he wanted to keep his genitalia, he had better stay away from me and I slammed down the phone. When we arrived at the funeral home, my mother told the director that when they got their tax return back, she would be purchasing a head stone for the grave site because I could not afford one. I was very appreciative and told them both so in front of the director.

On January 7th, I buried my son and the only people present were the director, my parents and myself. I agreed with my mom that it would be too traumatic on the boys who were 3 and 18months. I had to re-dress him at the funeral home and remove the red makeup that they had covered his face in. I remember the embalming fluid leaking from his mouth when I moved him. I still finished the job and placed his little blue bear in the casket with him before they closed it and placed him in the back of the hearse.

I cried during the entire funeral and all the way home. When we got about 2 blocks from my parents house, my mom turned to me and yelled that I had two other children who needed their mother and I had better straighten up before I get in that house. She said they would not understand why I was crying all the time. I told her that I was more afraid of how they would feel if they thought their brother had died and I didn't care. She told me how selfish and stupid I was being and I breathed deep and held it all in.

I stayed with my mom for the afternoon but begged my dad to take us back home. When I arrived, my cradle was gone and so were all Joey's clothes and diapers. When I asked dad if he knew anything about it, he said mom had taken care of it for me.

I called her to find out what she had done with all of his stuff and she said she gave it to a family that needed it because I didn't need to be reminded of the past. That night I cried into my pillow.

About midnight, I felt a small hand on my shoulder and looked up to find my 3 year old son standing by my bed. He looked so sad and serious and stated..."I miss him too mommy". I thought I would fall apart completely. I just held him in my arms and cried.

Tomorrow I will finish the story, but for now I have to go and breath and remember that I can't change the past, but I can face the future and accept that my mom is never going to understand that what she did was not nice or normal for anyone who loves their child. And that the feelings I had, and still have regarding the loss of my son are normal for me, and that is all that matters!

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