Friday, October 24, 2008

Breathing and flashbacks

Since Natalie's death, I have become unusually aware of breathing--that simple act we all do thousands of times a day, usually without even noticing. I think it is because Natalie stopped breathing that I am so hypersensitive to it. When I check on Roslyn after she's gone to sleep, I first listen for the sound of her breathing. If I can't hear her, I rush over and touch her cheek or forehead to feel if she's warm. This usually causes her to stir, take a deep breath, and move around a little, but not wake up. Sometimes, I've been in a panic and pounced on my poor sleeping daughter to make sure she's OK. Once I feel reassured that she's fine, I say "Thank you, Roslyn" (for not dieing).

Since we've been having our kitchen remodeled, Roslyn has been sleeping in our room, in a cozy "nest" on the floor next to my side of the bed. I love having her so close so that I can hear her breathing when I wake in the middle of the night. I also listen to hear Chris's breathing. Sometimes, I have to listen really closely to figure out whose breathing I am hearing. If it's Chris, I lean over and touch Roslyn. If it's Roslyn, I reach over and touch Chris. Reassured that my two loved ones are safe, I can then go back to sleep.

More often than not, going back to sleep is hard for me. Inevitably, my thoughts turn to Natalie. I am flooded with images of her on the morning of March 18. Seeing her dead face, feeling her cold, stiff body. I relive that horror over and over and over. I have wondered if it's a form of "post-traumatic stress," and I think that it is. Sometimes I lie awake for hours, trying to change my thoughts so I can go back to sleep. But then the flashbacks creep in and I am forced to relive it again. I cry and cry and then, exhausted, I eventually drift off.


Anonymous said...

Hi Beth. I read your post. I'm so sorry. This is really sad. I'm sure I'm not the only one of your friends who checks for her kids' breathing each night. So far they have been breathing (obviously) and it seems like a miracle every time.

I saw you from afar at church today--couldn't get close enough to say hallooooo. I think we will skip next week, but it sounds like I'll see you on the 4th, which will be very nice for us.

I'm sitting in my in-laws' driveway working on the kidoinfo events calendar. It's the 20th or 21st anniversary of their daughter's death today, and I think we're about to go to the cemetery. I am always tempted to tell my mother in law about Natalie but fear she might track you down to chat and then feed on your grief like a vampire.

it's from katy

Beth Fouser Adamo said...

Thank you, Katy, for sharing your thoughts. I am always happy to hear from you. I'm glad you read my blog and remember Natalie. I looked for you today, but didn't see you. I did see Briggs in the kindergarten room, though. Look forward to seeing you on Election Day. I'll do my best to bring something palatable, even though we don't have a kitchen yet. Tomorrow starts week 10... Will it ever be done?!

Naddie said...

I hope that time will erase all the horror that your mind still brings back and you will only remember the wonderful times you had with your little girl. I have to admit that after reading your story and following your blog, each and every morning I go into my daughter’s room to get her up, I think of you and Natalie. Your pain comes through your writing and I wish no mother would ever have to experience something as horrific as you and your family did!!! I wish this tragedy never happened!
As always I am sending you hugs!!!

Beth Fouser Adamo said...

Dear Naddie,
Thank you, once again, for your caring words. I am always glad to hear from you. I wish this tragedy had never happened, too. It is a huge mystery to me that it happened because Natalie was (seemingly) so healthy. It doesn't make sense. And yet, it happened. And it (SUDC) continues to happen to other people, too. Thank you for your hugs! They are always welcome.