Facing Ghosts

Today I earned a new piece of flare to pin on my Mom Vest. The “My Son Projectile Vomited All Over Me” is now proudly sewn on my vest. Awesome.

Poor little guy is sick. Thankfully, not with a stomach bug, but with a horrendous cough that led to the previously mentioned situation. I did what every mother does in these predicaments: I cleaned up the vomit and threw away all towels and items associated with it. Then I called the doctor. Unfortunately, they cannot see us until tomorrow.

Enter: ghosts of the past.

The last time I went to our pediatrician’s office, I left in an ambulance with my daughter. The memories, still vivid in my mind, are painful. Tuesday, May 26, 2015, that pediatrician’s visit was the beginning of a mother’s worst nightmare.

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Since that day, Jordan has taken Manning to the doctor when needed. Marjorie’s vaccines are delayed because of her chemo so there hasn’t been a need to bring her, thank goodness.

Jordan has to work tomorrow, therefore, I can no longer run from the ghosts. I have to face them head on.

Thankfully, I am no stranger to facing ghosts. Recovery has forced me to stare down some pretty painful ghosts and memories. When I came home from treatment, ghosts seem to lurk in every corner of my house and every corner outside of it too. The ghosts were almost too much too bear at times, but as I faced them, I grieved them and knocked them out one by one.

Ghosts are always a hot topic when I speak at treatment centers. But eating disorder or not, we all have them. Ghosts are those memories of a person, place, activity or event that led you to feel some pretty hard emotions.

They are hard to face. We avoid situations, people and places – just like my avoidance of the pediatrician’s office. Every time I thought of walking through those doors my eyes filled with tears and my hands started to sweat.

So how am I to go back to the place where the nightmare began? The place where I knew in my momma gut that something was wrong – really wrong. How am I to casually sit in the brightly colored room with a rocket ship painted on the wall? The same rocket ship I stared at and prayed over and over: let this be nothing, let this be nothing, please God, let this be nothing.

But I knew it was not. Tears fell down my face as the PA went to get the doctor and the doctor said we needed to be admitted for testing. I tried to act casual and okay, but I was anything from it.

I tried to put on a brave face, only to collapse into my husband’s arms when he walked into our isolated hospital room. It was there we waited…and waited…and waited. Only to be told hours later, five little words:

“We think it’s a mass.”

I bellowed a cry and a yell that can only come from the belly of a mother. If I didn’t have Marjorie in my arms, I would have collapsed to the floor. But I cradled her tightly rocking her back and forth, back and forth.

Yes, tomorrow I return. And I am finding peace with it. So how do we conquer our ghosts?

For me, I give myself time. I am gentle with myself and do not brush the painful emotions off with a “Get over it” saying. I embrace the sadness, the anger and the hurt. I feel it. I grieve the ghosts. I talk about them. And then I face them. Head on.

There may be tears tomorrow and I am totally okay if there is. And there might not be. At the end of the day, my son is sick and nothing is going to stop this momma from getting him well and back to truck building and tractor riding.

But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
We’ll live a long life

So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
‘Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we’ll be alright

– Mumford & Sons

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  • Charla
    December 28, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    I’ll never look at that rocketship again without thinking of you guys.

  • Colleen
    December 28, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Oh gosh, I know this feeling all too well. I have since been back to our pediatrician where “the mass” was palpated and we were sent down to the city for scans….. Just try to look at the parents and kids around you, and keep telling yourself you are there for”normal kid” stuff… No cancer today, JUST normal kids stuff…. So tomorrow is a good day, not a cancer day. I see my ghosts everyday changing his diaper and seeing the scars. We moved homes in order to leave ghosts behind. I am also trying to embrace the rage, anger and sadness…. But it has been so hard. I also am realizing I am a changed person… For the best, but I have so much from my old life that just doesn’t fit into this new person I have become. I am learning it is ok, and now it is time to make room for the new.