I’m writing you another letter because that’s what I find helps me when I’m feeling sad and heavy-hearted, as I am tonight. We’re so similar, you and me, with our sensitivities and our emotions. We feel things deeply and strongly and that’s a beautiful thing my sweet girl. I struggle sometimes to feel the way I do, to feel every ounce of your emotion and pain as if it were my own and to feel intensely sad about sad things. I sometimes wish I could switch off my overthinking brain and things might be easier, more black and white and more straightforward, but then, I wouldn’t be me, would I?
I always knew today would be difficult as of course it is for any parent who watches their child go through an operation, no matter how routine or straight forward it is. I also knew that your hyper-sensitivity to pain and touch and your unpredictable responses to strangers could add another layer of complexity to the mix. Your hyper-sensitivity isn’t just an excuse for challenging behaviours and big reactions and I’m sure it is something that plays a huge part in your everyday life and your responses to the world around you.
This morning I arrived at the hospital to find Daddy in tears, having just had to hold you tightly in order for you to be sedated as not surprisingly, you didn’t go willingly. You weren’t persuaded by the strawberry tasting mask or the “special cream” for your hand as for you, those would’ve been warning signs, ever perceptive as you are. Daddy held you as you slipped into an unconscious state and I’ve never seen him as upset as after he left you in theatre. He loves you so much!
Later in recovery, I watched as you kicked and screamed in pain and in confusion, drowsy and delirious from the anaesthetic, a look of pure desperation on your face. I too had to restrain you as nurses attempted to stop you pulling out your cannula and strapped your arm with extra layers of bandages. One nurse commented about how strong and determined you were but I knew it was because the sensation of the cannula would have been hell for you, especially without explanation.
I watched as you pointed to your mouth and ears, indicating pain, crying out and unable to speak. I watched as you started to gag and as blood stained snot poured from your nose and I watched as your eyes grew puffy as you were unable to stop the tears. I watched you become increasingly angry with the presence of nurses, touching you and offering you things to cheer you up which you simply threw across the room in a rage. I watched as you took your first bite of food and realised how painful it was to swallow. I held you for an hour in my arms in the recovery room and nothing else mattered to me in that moment than making you feel better and stopping your tears.
I watched you move so slowly all afternoon, with no energy, barely speaking at all and never once being able to smile. Not once. Not even in the pink princess dress or with a chocolate cake or crisps. I heard the slur in your speech and I heard you cry and moan, sad, confused and unable to comprehend what was happening around you. You have cried so much today and I feel each and every tear that falls from your face. You are searching for answers that I can’t give you yet and you are seeking security in any way you can.
The adrenaline from today is wearing off now and my whole entire body is aching in pain. Your pain. Pain from the stress and the tension and pain from holding you down. You’re in the hospital now with Daddy because I’m at home with your sister and I am just longing to hug you and hold you tight. I just want to tell you how much I love you and that I’m sorry and that it will be OK but in these moments today, these intense and difficult moments, I haven’t been able to focus on the future at all. I haven’t been able to let thoughts of this being the best thing for you take up space in my mind and I haven’t been able to think about tomorrow being better than today and the day after that being even better too. Although I know these things to be true, today has just been about feeling and being present and allowing whatever emotions we’ve all got to be expressed and to be valid. We’re so often told to spend more time being present but when the present is difficult, we look straight to the future, afraid to just feel and be, even when it’s tough.
I know you want to come home now and I know you want your special present. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling scared, I would be too. Daddy is there to cuddle you all night and I won’t let you out of my thoughts for one minute. You’ll be home tomorrow my big girl and Mummy isn’t putting any limits on special treats or TV time. The nurse even said it doesn’t matter if all you eat is biscuits, as long as you eat! We can cuddle and play and read and do all your favourite things for as long as you need to until you feel better and Jasmine, you will get better.
I love you so much and I’m so proud of you.