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Puzzle Pieces

December 14, 2006

Most every night when my head hits the pillow, I do the same thing: I remember that night. My eyes dart around behind their lids as I revisit and reenact that same chronology. I don’t always go through the whole thing; usually, my mind fixates on some detail and tries to place it in context. I’m sure this is just a part of post-traumatic stress, and it will start happening less frequently. I’m probably trying to fit all of the pieces together, to exert some kind of control over a night that was completely out of my control. In any case, it is interesting to see what my brain brings out each time.

A couple of weeks ago, it was the fact that I put Will’s milk back in the cooler when he stopped breathing. I think I was expecting him to start breathing again, as he had every time before. A couple of nights ago, it was the placement of the furniture in the room. When the doctor and nurse hit the Code Blue, I reflexively moved the table, chairs, and the makeshift bed I had been laying on, off to the edges of the room so that the code team would have room to work. But the bed itself was at an angle when I came back in, and I wonder why.

Last night, I recalled that I had my cell phone with me. As I lay there on my pillow last night, I was sitting at the nurse’s station, and it just popped into my hand. Weird. So I thought for a minute and remembered that, yes, I had called Stacy, and then I called Gospel Matt. And I sure wouldn’t have remembered Matt’s number on a good day, much less at 3am, and under those circumstances. So I must have picked it up at some point. But when? Did I put it in my pocket when I got up out of the bed? Probably not. I must have picked it up after his breathing and heartbeat stopped. But why? How could I have been so calculating while he lay there? I put the milk away, and moved the furniture, and grabbed the phone, instead of saying goodbye to him or crying. How could I? Well, it’s because I expected him to come back. Why did I? He was already gone.

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7 Responses to “Puzzle Pieces”

  1. lisa says:

    Oh, Mike. We still grieve with you and Stacy. I’m so sorry.

  2. With an ache in my chest and a mist in my eyes, I wonder…

    Who understands the complexity of the human mind and where it takes us?

    You are courageous to record the grieving process here and I continue to pray for you all and I continue to read what you so willingly share.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just like taking CPR, we plan what we might need to do, in case something bad happens. That early morning, your mind shifted from emotion, which couldn’t be of help, to a logical plan of action that was purposeful. In this role, you exceeded all expectations! Nana

  4. Anonymous says:

    p.s. Will said “Good-bye!” in his out-loud laugh, when he saw Glory! Nana (again)

  5. Mojo says:

    Dude, this just keeps on sucking. That actually does sound like PTSD to me, a non-psychologist who has no training or qualifications in such things.

  6. Tom Della-Moretta says:

    Whilst I was venting during small-group, recently, I started to apologize to everyone for all my whining. That wise Miller-guy said not to apologize for venting because there’s lots of stuff in this life that stinks. Lots of things here are screwed up, by our fault somtimes, and not our fault sometimes. His point was its O.K. to complain at times, cause it’s just an honest reaction. Thanks for being honest…and sharing.

    Thinking of you and your family right now.

    Tom and Yvonne

  7. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like an intensely harrowing experience, to experience over and over again–I am praying and thinking of you and Stacy, with love.

    Erin B.

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