When I first got to the hospital to see Richie, I didn’t know what to expect. What does someone who has been in a freak car accident look like? My mind had built up a scenario that had me scared to death to walk in the room. When I got in the room, he was laying there with nothing wrong with him but lots of white bandages around his head. I looked him all over. He had not a scratch on him. All 10 fingers. All 10 toes. Freckles in all the same spots. Just the white bandages. It looked as if they had rolled miles and miles of white gauze around his head. I could just see the tips of his ear lobes hanging out. He was perfect except for the gauze.

I have been in counseling or therapy as some call it. I call it crying time. Sometimes angry time. I spent an entire session recently on wondering if I am crazy. See, I now have a fear of white gauze. When I see it, I panic. It cuts me to the core. I feel like I have been punched. I lose my breathe, my mind and all sense of what is around me. My mind feels like it is going in every direction at once. Screaming as loud as it can. My brain is yelling for thoughts to get out of my head and all while trying to tell my body to calm down and remind me to breathe. Breathe in, Breathe out.  I cannot look at it. Not just head bandages. Any bandages that are white. Someone had their finger wrapped in some and I immediately went back to being in the hospital room looking at my son and the doctor telling me he was gone. Like I was magically transported back by a genie blinking her eyes.

I have been told things to do to make it better or to try and help. Apparently I have PTSD. Not just for war heroes like I thought. I talked to my cousin about it and he told me,”That S#$@ is real. Take your time to heal. Cause it may never go away.” I asked the one counseling me. And Josh was right. It may never go away. You can just learn to live with it and cope or maybe you don’t. Another cross to bear along with unending grief from the loss of my precious boy.

So why am I being so open about it? Why do I feel the need to share about my fear, hate and anger over white gauze? Because with the way media sharing is now days, I cannot go one day without seeing a person laying in a hospital bed wrapped in gauze! Every single day there is someone that shares some picture with a story of the pictured and their accident. How we need to pray to heal them. Yes we need to pray! We need to pray hard for them. But does the world need to see them in the bed fighting for their life? Why can we not just share a picture of them as if they were up and running? Do you think there will be less prayers without a picture like that? Truthfully I doubt half the people even looking and sharing the picture are praying for them. Most are just doing it to show the “gory details” and to be able to way they saw them that way. At the hospital, we had a strict no media policy. You could ask for prayers on Facebook but you were not allowed to post pictures of Richie in the hospital bed nor were you to give details that were not approved by me. The news story of his accident was not to be posted because it was not fair or respectable to the family. Why do we as a society want to see the pictures and stories like this? I have been there! You do not want to see it. It is not a spectator sport, not a gossip item. It is a human life and families are involved. Respect. It all comes down to respect for others.

So I am asking each one of my family and friends…. with my most sincere heart…. Please if you are friends with me on social media, watch what you post. What may seem like an innocent story to you can be a horrible reminder of loss to others. It can be a trigger into a world of panic and despair for others. There is no need to see people dying in a hospital bed. No need to see blood, bandages and any other thing like that. And truthfully if I am being honest, I do not need to see the picture of the accident site. None of us do. We can pray with just a picture of the person smiling.



Recently one of my fellow “Broken Moms” that I e-mail with regularly and have this instant bond with, sent me an e-mail asking if I ever had flash backs of when my son was in the hospital. Here was my response to her. (I have edited out some details that I want to keep safe from my children.)

——-Oh my! Flashbacks are all I see some days. Some days I have to look at pictures repeatedly because I cannot see anything other than my son laying in the hospital bed with tubes on half his swollen face and his head bandaged with blood still pouring. I just kept thinking over and over again, why are they not stopping the bleeding? I was worried when he woke up that he was going to be mad because they shaved part of his hair. He was so perfect (Friend’s Name) from the neck down. Not a scratch or scrape. I counted his toes and fingers just as I had when he was born. All I wanted was for him to open his eyes so I could see the blue in them. When I go to sleep I keep hearing the beeps and the sounds of the machines going off. I will jump up sometimes and yell for the nurse in my sleep. Jeff has always slept in another room because of his snoring and now I refuse to let him in my room at all so he doesn’t hear me yell. I am thankful his room is at the other end of the house so he doesn’t hear me. (Private Info deleted) So that nightmare stopped. But I still am haunted by the thought of if he knew what happened.
Yes, I have flashbacks. I think I always will. I don’t think any therapy will help. And oddly, I don’t want to lose them. They are from the last 18 hours with my son. I was with him from the moment he was conceived and remember everything in his whole life. I do not want to lose his death. I made sure I was the last to tell him bye and the last to see him. But like I said, they were the last time I saw my son and I do not want to ever lose that. ——-
Flashbacks are the worst part of dealing with a sudden traumatic death of a child I think. I have them almost daily. Mostly at night but during the day I get them if something on TV is like that night. If I hear certain sounds. It is hard being in public and having them. Jeff and kids have come to know just how to handle the look with the phrase,”I need a minute” as I walk away suddenly.
But I do not want to lose them as I said. It was a part of my life with my son. It is not the ending I had pictured. I guess I had pictured some Hallmark movie ending where all my kids and grand-kids were gathered around my bed, holding hands and saying how wonderful I was singing some hymnal. But that is not the ending Richie and I had. God had other plans. So I will take the ending I was dealt and whether it is a story book ending or not, I will cherish no matter how painful it may be. It was the last time I saw and kissed my son.