Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Wake Me Up When September Ends. It's a song by The Counting Crows. I have always loathed it. It's depressing. It never made since to me.

And it's whiney.

But now I get it.

And not just get it. I live it.

September used to be such a wonderful month. It usually meant a new school year, a new chance, a fresh start, cool weather, pumpkins, happiness, harvest and beautiful growing crops. For my side of the family it also means lots and lots of birthdays.

New life. Love. Hope.

And now it stands for something different.

It has nearly been one year since Wesson passed.

September 26th.

I have replayed that day and the 24 hours prior to it over in my head for an entire year, each and every day and every time I lay down at night.

I hear this is common. To relive those moments.

When I look back I can honestly say the past year has been a blur. A total and complete blur. Like God was like okay Kristi I will take over because you cannot do this alone. 

Like I got put on autopilot.

Because when I think back the day we lost Wesson feels just like yesterday, clear as can be. And everything in between is quite sketchy.

We had made the decision with the help from our very well dedicated and trusted ICU physicians and transplant team that it was time for Wesson to be taken off of the ventilator and undergo surgery for a tracheostomy.

His cancer was declared cured. For Good.

My God we didn't even think that would be possible. His liver was healing and his organs were not completely failing. His graft with mommies cells were stronger than ever and he had already fought off a line infection and fungal infection that we thought would take his life.

There was so much hope. The only option was that he had to get off of the ventilator. His pain medicines were at such high doses that they could knock out an elephant, and keeping him on it any longer posed more risks than we were willing to take.

However, the tracheostomy procedure panned out to be much more than sweet Wesson's body could handle.

The procedure itself went good but my sweet boy was unable to recover from it and his organs began to fail.

Not from the procedure.

Not from the leukemia.

From the chemotherapy, the antibiotics, the treatment, the combination of it all.

I remember the nurses encouraging me to sing to him, pray, talk over his body. This was probably eight hours or so before he would leave this world.

Neither Logan nor I could successfully do this.

We would take turns whispering words of encouragement in his sweet little ears. I closed my eyes.  I could barely look at my son at this time.

It was not him.

My son had beautiful warm, pale glowing skin. Sparkly blue eyes and laughter that could make the devil smile. The boy that was laying in the room of the ICU that night did not have these qualities.

He was leaving us, and Logan and I both knew it.

Logan and I took turns that night. We knew we were losing him but we were so sleep deprived, weak, and emotionally shaken that we took two hour shifts to try and get some sleep while the other stayed close by to monitor his status and listen to what the ICU team was saying, what the every two hour lab tests were telling about his status and what decisions were being made.

When morning came they asked us to mask up and stand back as they tried to place an arterial line. It failed.

I fell asleep curled up in the rocking chair with my mask on -- like a toddler does when he's scared or sick or in trouble.

When I woke up Logan and I both went to the bedside.

We gave our sweet boy a sponge bath -- for what would be the last time. We placed blanket upon blanket over his sweet body to keep him warm.

I remember the words of the ICU physician that came back that morning just to place Wesson's chest tube. He was supposed to be in meetings, but came running in shortly after we discovered Wesson had developed a pneumothorax from the high ventilator settings that he could no longer tolerate.

He ran over to us and the words still ring in my head "I know that this is a real living nightmare for your guys."

How true.

Logan and I had to make the decision for the ICU team to stop coding. We had to listen to machines beep and buzz and scream until Wesson's sweet darling heart stopped and the world as we knew it came crashing down at our feet.

We had to stand in a room full of strangers as they unhooked the various lines and tubes that had been his lifeline for over 6 weeks in the ICU.

We have to live with these last memories of our sweet boy. Knowing he deserved better than that in his life, and yet unable to give that to him.

We had to let go of something we had fought for, for nine precious months knowing and yet not accepting that the outcome may end up exactly this way.


I remember Wesson's wonderful transplant physician saying, only moments after Wesson became a sweet angel.

"If Wesson's story had not ended so tragically, it would have been poetic. It took both you and Logan to save him. And in the end you did. That is something you should always be proud of."

It really is all very beautiful.

The most beautiful part now being that Wesson has been saved.

Saved from a life of pain, suffering, tears, heartbreak and heartache and ugliness in this world we call Earth.

I find comfort in the promise that Logan and I are also saved and will someday (With God's promise) get to hold him again.

To feel his warm glowing skin and hear his beautiful laughter that we have longed for and will continue to long for - for the rest of our lives.

Logan and I will suffer now. Big brother Keegan too. 

We will struggle. We will find happiness on some days and sadness on others. But I am forever grateful for this struggle and this suffering because it reminds me that we are alive.

And that this whole thing was real. Wesson was real. And he is here with us.

And there are days I ask "WHY" -- of course there are.

But what brings me solace at these times is the biblical question that I ask myself daily:
"Who understands suffering better than God and Jesus Christ themselves?"

Who better to spill your sorrows to than God -- he himself watched his son suffer and die on the cross for us!

We had experienced this similarly.

We are not the only ones to watch our child suffer. We have not made ourselves victims, even though the pain some days is so deep I feel like I'd rather just sink into the carpet than to face the day.

We don't have many memories in our home of Wesson. Our memories are in hospitals, transplant floors, ICU's and hallways of St. Jude Children's hospital. But they are still beautiful ones.

And after this year my goal is to lay Wesson's memory of his last day of life to rest.

Wesson would not want to be remembered that way, and there are so many beautiful memories floating around of him in my head and in my camera that I'd rather fill my heart with those.

I will always do what I can as his mother to make sure his battle is remembered and that his beautiful soul will remain with us.

He keeps us strong.

He has made me a better mother and has oddly enough enriched our lives so much that I find myself thanking him daily for everything his short life brought to us that we otherwise would have never had.

A richer love, deeper laughter, stronger relationships and a value for life that cannot be replaced.

There are days I long to administer his IV meds, strap his little mask around his shiny bald head, wash his blankets over and over, clean up his vomit, boil his bottles and pacifiers, and rock him for hours and hours in the middle of the night so that he didn't have to lie alone in a hospital crib.

I long for this so badly that it makes me physically ill.

There are moments I wish he could play with his new to be baby brother. I wish he could have watched his proud big brother walk into preschool this year.

And I wish we could have had more time to raise him up to be the wonderful man he could have been.

But I am so happy that he is in God's arms instead.

And as my growing belly continues to inspire people to ask the question "Oh is this your first?" or "How many do you have" --- I will always say:

"No it is not my first" and "I have three".

Wesson you will always be my son. You are still here and although we cannot see you, we feel you daily.

I will always be proud to be your momma sweet boy and I know your daddy feels the same.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Remember Wesson.

Remember his suffering, his death, his life and his battle.

Remember those that have been diagnosed with cancer, will be diagnosed and please do not take your lives or the ones around you for granted.

Enjoy your children. Love them, hug them, tell them you love them more than necessary. Read to them, lay down with them at night. Put pictures of them in an album instead of sharing them on Facebook.

And Proudly Wear Gold This September for Children Like Wesson who are Fighting for their lives when they should be playing, learning, growing and living.


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