It’s real

Bye, Mama!  I wave to the Mama lady.

“I love you so much sweet boy.  I’m so proud of you.  Be strong.  I’ll be here when you wake up.”

Why is the Mama lady crying again?  I just hug this lady she call nurse.

The Daddy man crying, too.  He never cry.  Always tell the Mama lady it will be ok.

I just go with the nurse lady with the funny hat and the fun thing I hold onto they put on my heart.


Why the nurse lady walk away from the Mama lady and the Daddy man?

I nakey…why so bright.  This bed cold.  Too many people in here…where are my people?

Where the Mama lady?

Where the Daddy man?

Where the sissy?



Owie! Owie!  Owie!

I have ouchie!

“Is he ok?  Are you controlling his pain?”

Mama lady?  Mama lady?

“Hey, buddy. You look good.”

Daddy man?  Daddy man?

Why I hurt?  Why I hurt?

Mama lady? Where are you?

I hungry.  I cry.  I hurt.

It cold in here.  Where my jammies?  I have ouchie on my mouf.  I have ouchie on my tummy.  Why I nakey?

Mama lady?  Mama lady?

I cry louder.

“I’m so sorry buddy.  I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry….”

Mama lady crying.  Mama lady hold me.  Mama lady hold me…but I still ouchie.  I want no more ouchie.  I kick to take away ouchie.

“Stop buddy. I’m trying to hold you.”

Mama lady…I ouchie.  I kick.  I kick.

“Evan.  Sweet boy.  Please stop kicking.  Nurse…can you give him something, please?  I think he’s in a lot of pain.”

“We already gave him the max dose of morphine. It may just not have kicked in yet.”

Mama lady?  I owie.  I owie.  I kick.  I cry loud.  I cry loud.

“Give him something else.  Obviously whatever you gave didn’t work.  He’s in obvious pain.”

“Don’t worry, Mama.  He won’t remember any of this.”

Mama lady cry.  Daddy man cry.

I owie.  I owie.  Why I hurt?  Why I hurt?


He remembers.  My boy does.

It’s one thing to see your child writhe in pain while you stand helplessly on the sideline.  We’re told to talk to them, soothe them with our voice, rub their hands, touch their feet.


That’s not good enough.

I can’t accept that.  I just can’t.  I can’t stand there as my baby – my baby – the innocence of my life lies bloody, swollen, scary still..almost silent.

I want to take the pain.  I want to be the one to endure each cut, each stitch.

This past surgery Evan was older.  He remembers. He does.

I can’t think of the amount of pain he was in for his heart surgeries.  I can’t imagine the pain he felt…the crushing ache on his chest from wires that are threaded in his sternum, a tube the diameter of a small straw shoved up his little wee wee to catch urine, I.V. lines on arms, on chubby feet, in necks, on scalps…..

I want to slam people into the wall the take a machete to their chest, gut or face every time they say to me,”The great thing is with all these surgeries is that he won’t remember the pain.”

{insert a 4 letter word here that is not appropriate for children under 18 yrs}

My boy remembers.

He wakes up scared.  He wakes up screaming.  He wakes up with his eye empty, blank, only holding puddles of tears…he remembers.

Pain.  The pain I can somewhat deal with.  At least there’s a remedy….morphine, codeine, or a sedative to knock him out.  Even at home…at least I can alternate the Tylenol and Motrin to help ease the pain.

But the fear.

The fear.  It’s real.

I’m having a hard time handling the fear in my boy’s eyes.  He’s scared. He’s scared.  And I don’t know how to fix it.

I can talk about the Boogie Man, the monsters in the closet, the scary things that live under the bed…and with confidence say…those things aren’t real.

But, the fear..the fear of his memories…the fear of waking up and suddenly being in excruciating pain, in a dark room hooked up to wires, and tubes, bright monitors beeping and people hovering around and poking and prodding all day and all night….those things in my boy’s mind…I can’t take away.  I can’t say aren’t real.  I can’t say….won’t happen again.  Because, achingly enough, it will.

My boy who never met a stranger.  My boy who laughed and giggled and babbled to every person he met.  My boy whose eyes showed nothing but joy…is now changed.

He’s different.  He’s suddenly aged…the truth of his life and the journey of a thousand men resting on his little shoulders.  I see it in his eyes. I see the fear of the unknown.  The apprehension.  The fear to leave my side….because the last time I left it….he woke up in a nightmare.

My sweet innocent, baby boy.

It’s never ok to tell me “He won’t remember.”

Because he does.  And he’ll be reminded every day for the rest of his life when he sees his scars on his face, his chest, his stomach…

It’s never ok to say, “At least he’s so little he’ll forget the pain.”

When?  Because he still remembers.  He does.  And the pain….it’s still there… maybe not in the magnitude…but it lingers.

It’s never ok to say, “Luckily…this is all happening when he’s so young.”

No.  That’s not ok.

He just wants to be a baby.  I just want him to be a baby.  To only know love. To only know the gentle touch of my hands and my arms.

Please remember these things when you are talking to me or another parent who’s child has been through extensive surgery or medical treatment.

Because…they remember….and yes…someday they may forget.

But we never will.



  1. Jennifer Benedict says:

    I can’t imagine what he must have felt and what it must do to you! I totally support the machete method!! How dare they presume to know those things while he lays suffering and all you can do is watch!? A big F U to all of those who are insensitive enough to tell a mother that its ok her baby is crying and screaming in pain cuz he won’t remember it even though he does! How dare they!

  2. That was beautiful and very well written. I read with tears rolling down my face as I cannot begin to even imagine what you or he have gone through. Just know that your little guy and your family have been and will continue to be in my prayers. God bless you…you are a wonderful momma.

  3. This happened to Mason. He had severe PTSD and for the longest while I never thought I’d get his sweet smile back. He was tortured. Plain and simple. Sure, it’s to save their lives and yes it has to happen.

    I *can* tell you that two years later, he seems to have forgotten and he’s all smiles now with no apparent lingering issues. However, I remember vividly the feelings you describe of mourning the loss of my child’s innocence and bawling over how obvious it was he remembered.

    Hugs. You are replacing the scary thoughts with loving moments. Eventually, all the love will replace the bad <3