I followed the ambulance so that I could stop by Mom’s and tell her what was going on. I still didn’t know anything except that something was wrong with his heart.
When I got to the hospital they had him in the room prepping him for surgery.
My son underwent his first heart surgery (of 3, to date) that night, and I began to see miracles, left and right. I called my Dad, who had gotten clean and sober several months before I had, and told him what I knew. Between my sobs, he pieced together enough to know that this was serious trouble. He asked if I wanted him to fly in (he was living in Florida), and I said no. I’d learned from years of wishing Dad would step up and take care of me, not to ask. He hadn’t been capable of connecting with me emotionally until he’d gotten into recovery. I told him not to worry about it, because I’d rather have him tell me he wasn’t coming than to hope he would, and then have him not show up. Again.
I was taken to a room inside the hospital to sleep for a few hours. My baby was in surgery for 5 or 6 hours, and there was nothing left for me to do. Besides, the terror and hysteria of the day’s events had left me exhausted. I had cried until I had no tears left.
I’m not sure what time it was, but in the middle of the night, there was a knock on the door of my room. Through the darkness I saw the outline of a figure. It was Dad. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. I really didn’t have to go through this alone. I cried that time, for joy. I was absolutely taken by surprise, seeing him there.
I mean, I had already seen (and would continue to) that the recovery community was going to be there for me, and along with all the fear and pain, I felt that I was not alone. God was with me, and He was using people to demonstrate His love to me.
That was the night that I learned about faith, and about redemption. I learned through that experience what hysteria feels like, and that feelings won’t kill you. I learned that the program was true and the process could be trusted. I learned that I never had to do anything alone.
What it’s like now…
After I got clean & sober, the relationship with my Dad was gradually mended, and when he died in 1999, I considered him my best friend. Part of his making amends was giving me a book called “Toxic Parents”, and later asking me what I thought about it. (And listening to my thoughts and feelings when I told him.) I was blessed to be with him during his last months of life, and I was sitting beside him on the bed when he graduated to Heaven. It was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I look forward to seeing him again.
The first several months of my sobriety felt like I was in the middle of an ocean, during an intense storm. I was only able to keep my head above water because of the women in the fellowship and the grace of my Higher Power. I didn’t have any time to consider much of anything besides survival, from one day to the next.
My boy and I came home (to Mom’s place) from the hospital after a few weeks. He was on medications that had to be administered every 2 hours around the clock, which meant I didn’t get to sleep a lot. The sleep deprivation was almost like being wasted on (something), at times, which was NOT what I was looking for. Once I was warming a bottle up for him and when I opened the microwave to get it out, pulled out the nipple, instead. The bottle was sitting beside it, in plain view, but I didn’t see it until after I saw the nipple in the microwave.
I thought about how utterly ridiculous it was that the Dr.s sent this tiny, fragile infant home with ME being responsible for keeping him alive. I wonder now if my Sponsor and other support members were aware of the incredible job we had in front of us. Them: helping me through the insanity of early sobriety. And me: doing everything required to keep this gift alive and make sure he thrived. And it didn’t help anything, I learned shortly, that I was no longer going to be sitting anywhere near the throne of my life. “King Baby” had to step down, and it was not without a lot of screaming and crying that I did so, one day at a time…