October 31, 2023

The Lost October

The past few weeks have been timeless for me, and not in a good way.  Is it Tuesday? How long have we been in the hospital?  Did I have a dentist appointment today?  Did we miss Halloween?

In fact, I've lost October.  It's disappointing because it's my favorite month--the leaves are changing, pumpkins are tucked onto porches, we celebrate our wedding anniversary, and of course Halloween.  Why couldn't it have been January?  In the days I spent in the pediatric ICU, I charted the autumn days by watching a tiny maple outside my window turn from green to orange to red to bare branches, which was a small but hopeful thing.
This year, October is bittersweet, still tinged with the memory of being in a hospital unsure of whether my eldest would be permanently absent from our family.  But October is also filled with gratitude for finally being able to bring him home.

Our homecoming was fraught with drama, as Hurricane Sandy slammed into our area.  We just made it out of the hospital before the heaviest rains and winds rolled into Pennsylvania.  I repeatedly told people that after the last few weeks, I've had enough of adreneline.  I did fill up a few jugs of water and bought some groceries just to get by, but I just couldn't allow myself to be sucked into the panic.  Thankfully, I didn't have to, since our area was only mildly affected, despite the eye of the hurricane moving just to the south of us.  We're SO grateful things were fine for us.  I feel for those who've been affected more severely, either by life or by property.

This ordeal has churned up so many things I've wanted to say, so many emotions I've wanted to chart through this blog and other outlets.  From straight-up fear to guilt over not spending a lot of time with Jude or Chris (we did the switch-off each day, where one of us stayed at the hospital and the other went home) to imagining what life would be like in our home without Soren.

One of the most surprising emotions was related to Jude.  While cuddling him, I couldn't focus just on loving him because of the intense longing I had for Soren.  I wondered if siblings of deceased children feel like they can never break free from the shadow of their lost brother or sister, that they can never live up to the child who is gone.  In my pre-hospital mind, I would have thought that parents just transferred all of their love and good intentions to the remaining child, as sort of a family savior.

Anyway, I hesitated to write much here, not only because it was difficult to do on a phone or iPad in the hospital, but I'm not sure how much I wanted to violate my son's privacy.  It's such a grey area, wanting to share updates but not wanting to be the mom who's constantly taking photos of her sick child and posting them for the world to see.  Somehow it just doesn't seem right to me.  On that note, I did have permission from S to share a more recent photo, taken on the morning of our departure and the beginning of happier times.
I'm managing to find our way back to normalcy this week, but it's been hard with dressing changes, meds to be given, hospital smells still on my son's skin, and a week of weird weather that has closed a lot of things in town, including the schools.  But we're taking baby steps, just like my boy who's learning to be steady on his feet again, after a long week of stillness in bed.

Thank you all for your prayers and support during this difficult time.  It truly means so much to myself and my family.  May you be blessed.


  1. My heart is so happy that Soren is home yet it is heavy for the turmoil you and your family has gone through. It is a great reminder to cherish each and every moment we have with our children - a reminder we all can use.

  2. It's been a while since I've checked into your blog, and I had no idea of the difficult times you have been going through. Here's to November being a much better month! Better times ahead, I hope.

  3. I'm so glad you guys are home and safe. Perhaps as you have your downtime and reconnect, you'll be able to have Oct-ember, a fabulous month of thankfulness, monsters, and treats.

  4. Sweetheart, I can't imagine what you're bearing right now, emotionally and physically. We're still praying for you...especially for re-entry and emotional healing. :)

  5. I am sure you had many, many complicated feelings during this ordeal. The important thing is Soren is home safely and you've literally weathered the storm. I still remember how time seemed to stop when Jasper was placed in the NICU several hours after being born and declared perfectly healthy.

  6. So glad he is home now...*hugs*


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