Everything happened so fast. Too fast.
Now everything keeps repeating.
In my sleep…
The nightmares change, but the fear is the same.
I’m walking through a store with my dear sister, casually browsing aisles. She asks, more to herself than to me, how do I manage to not fall apart.
Oh but dear sister I do. I fall apart in a million times a day. And night.
And in a million crazy little ways.
I stop and look at her and tell her to look at me and just listen. I ask her to isolate the beeping sound of the scanners at the registers scanning merchandise from the shopping carts.
I ask her what does that sound like, she says it sounds like people shopping. I tell her, to me, that is the sound of the heart monitors beeping to the tune of my daughters heart when she was in PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) and NICU.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, silence… I catch my breath. I focus on the sound of my own heart beat. The words keep ringing in my ears “Strain on heart”; “Patient presents Tachycardic.” A fast heartbeat that is persistent, usually over 100 beats per minutes is called Tachycardia. Her heartbeats were into the 130’s. Then the rhythm starts again…beep, beep, beep.
Her eyes fill with tears.
No, no, no dear sissy. We do not waste mascara on tears. Have you see the price of mascara??
I do not tell her how my stomach clenches when my phone rings and I see its one of my daughter’s doctors. Or the school calling. Or my daughter.
I do not tell her how I am startled awake in the middle of the night roused by the sudden, faint sound of my daughter calling out to me “Mom!”
Only to realize she is sound asleep in the next room. Sometimes the sound is not faint. It is crisp and loud and with a tone of urgency. “MOM!!” But, alas, she is alseep.
Dear sister sees that I barely touch my dinner some nights. Other nights I eat like I am eating for two, but then I disappear into the bathroom doubled over with stomach cramps and nausea.
She notices the bags under my eyes and the puffy eyelids. We do not speak about how some nights I might collapse into bed at 8:30pm, but awaken at 4am. But she knows. Many times the exact time is 4:18am. My brain swirling.
Other nights I am wide awake until almost 2:30 in the morning and my alarm goes off at 5:30am.
She watches silently. I pretend to not notice her. She is watching with tears in her eyes and in her heart.