PTSD is a weird thing. We often think only soldiers or police experience it, but I’m pretty sure I am having it now. The last year of Hollis’s life, especially the last few hours, are constantly replaying in the back of my mind. At times it is hard to concentrate because of it, but usually I am glad for work or another distraction so I don’t have to think about my new life and what I’ve been through. Certain songs, sounds or sights can trigger a memory and suddenly I am a million miles away from the present.
I remember when Savanna died. She was born so suddenly and died 14 hours later, but I can remember so much from that time. The Drs. doing everything they could and her prognosis changing every couple hours as she struggled to pull through and survive. The sounds of the monitors beeping loudly then suddenly a long, constant one as she flatlined. I was hysterical, yelling for Shane, the doctors, anyone I thought could do something to stop her from dying. “Do something! Save her!” I yelled. “I’m sorry Ma’am, there’s nothing more we can do for her…” as Shane and I fall to the floor in each others arms.
Then, 10 years later the situation happens again but this time with Hollis. The sounds of the monitors, the smells of the hospital, the spinning of our heads, the narrowing of our vision as we watch a second child in the last minutes of their life. “Do something! Save him!” I yell hysterically. “I’m sorry Ma’am, there’s nothing we can do for him. The cancer is killing him and shutting down his body…” as Shane and I run to his hospital bed and speak words of comfort hoping he can still hear us and isn’t afraid. I hope the last thing he heard was us telling him how much we loved him and not us freaking out.
On August 25th Savanna would have been 12 and while driving we casually mentioned this to Rhett. “You know, today would have been her 12th birthday and your older sister would have been keeping you in check!” He was quiet for a second then started laughing. “Can you imagine how crazy it would be with the 3 of us back here! Us 3 against you 2, you would be outnumbered and go nuts!” He continued to smile for awhile, in his head imagining what that life would be like, then went happily back to reading his book. Shane and I just looked at each other with tears in our eyes because the reality is there is only 1 child in our backseat, not the 3 that should be there.
Watching 2 of your children die can change you. Change who you are, your priorities, your response time, your dreams and hopes, your friends… everything. So, if we seem like different people, it’s because we are. If we seem spaced out sometimes or not as engaged as we should be, it’s because our head if full of memories and loss. It seems so surreal that it’s been over 8 months since Hollis died. He was the light of our lives and brought so much joy to everyone around him. Someone asked me recently what kind of medication I was taking to keep it together and I said none. I don’t know how, but none. And, it’s not because I’m praying my way through the pain, because I’m still not really praying right now. I once spent much of my day praying and talking to God, but not right now. However, I know that people are praying for me and that must what is getting us through. So, please keep praying for us because after 8 months, we still need it.