Looking for answers to life's questions

Today is a special day for me and my son. It’s his birthday so the other post I have written will have to wait a day. I woke this morning knowing I had to write about him.

18 month old in Taiwan.

18 month old in Taiwan.

It’s really hard for me to come to grips with the idea of my child being 47 years old. In the blink of an eye he went from being a tow-headed mischief-maker to a shiny domed, salt and pepper bearded mischief-maker. Some things never change. This man who is my son, lights up any room he goes into and makes people smile. His patience is legendary. I don’t know how many false cuts he had to make on molding to get it just right, but not once did he lose his temper and walk away. Nor would he if someone else had done it.

The work just never ends

The work just never ends

The story of his birth is one I have tried to write many times. I’m going to attempt it again with my new writing group next year. The sum of it is we almost didn’t get to keep him. He was born with Hyaline Membrane Disease, also called infant respiratory distress. As soon as he was born, they put a gas mask on me to put me to sleep. I didn’t see him for 10 days

The prognosis was grim. No oxygen right away meant likely brain damage and possible or probable death. I was a very young mother. It was beyond my scope to understand but I knew one thing for certain. If I was going to lose him, I wanted to hold him or at least see him. They threatened to tie me to my bed to keep me away.

Many hours had passed from his birth to when the doctors came to tell me how bad it was. I can promise you that if I was being told I would be tied to my bed, the drugs had long since worn off. My in-laws were called to come back to the hospital to be with me and help me cope.

After the bastards doctors left my room, I did what most mothers would do in this situation. I prayed, hard. When I got to the point of the prayer of acceptance for whatever outcome was handed me, I had the most profound spiritual experience of my life. It changed me, and my outlook. When the in-laws arrived, they thought I was nuts. All I could do was pat MIL’s hand and tell her my son would be fine. I was comforting her. I was unconcerned with the diagnosis of brain damage, though we sometimes still question that with some of his antics. I was certain death was not on that day’s agenda.

oops. Can I leave them this way?  Naw.

oops. Can I leave them this way? Naw.

His birth taught me many things. Our children are on loan to us to love, nurture and release. They are a gift, not a possession. At any moment we must be ready to release and trust. I know of many women who have lost children; infants or adult children. I understand their pain. That day changed me from a religious person to a deeply spiritual one.

Dancing around the molding to paint it.

Dancing around the molding to paint it.

He has dimples where our Angel kissed him to remind us of how much love there is in the Universe. I learn from him daily what love really looks like. He holds my hand to make sure now that I don’t fall like I did when he was young. His kindness and honesty inspire me to be a better person. He makes me the envy of many mothers on how he makes sure I know I’m loved and appreciated.

I won the lottery with both my children but today is his day and his story, told to the best of my ability in fewer words than I would like to use. I could get quite effusive here.

Happy Birthday son of mine. Let there be so many more.

Have you ever had a spiritual experience that changed you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of a Way to Tell This Story" (27)

  1. That was a beautiful story Marlene, wonderfully told. I’m so happy for you and your son.

    Have I ever had a spiritual moment that changed my life? Yes, I have. A couple of them and they always happened when I needed it the most. May light and love be yours always my friend.

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    • Thanks Jackie. Same back at you I tried to write it for Angels on Earth Magazine. They didn’t respond so I’ll try a rewrite.. I only told part of the story. It would take a long time. Or I’ll try to tell the rest later. I want folks to understand this isn’t about religion.

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  2. Happy birthday to you and your son! [I always congratulate myself on my children’s birthdays – I sometimes think they are the reason for my life!] You told this story beautifully, I read with my heart in my mouth at first and then recognition at your situation, your anger, your distress, your release …… My eldest daughters birth was a very traumatic affair and I almost died – and yes I have had several moments in my life of knowing all will be well and one profound experience that changed me forever. Nothing to do with religion and everything to do with spirituality, which transcends all religions.

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    • Thank you Pauline. I’ve never said Happy Birthday to us, but in a way it was. We both had quite a day of it. I’m still going to try and write the whole of it next year to submit again to the magazine. I think it needed a good editor. I write often with too much emotion. I enjoy my children but found it not such a good idea to let them be my reason to be. They could disappear in a heartbeat and you wouldn’t know how to breathe after. Almost dying in childbirth could be life altering as well. It’s interesting the things that bring us to pivotal points but I’d like to write more about those moments. I’d like to read about others as well.

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    • Pauline, your life, like Marlene’s, is full of trauma, yet here you are, full of life, kindness and wisdom. Always a pleasure to read your words.

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  3. I’m really happy for you both. You celebrate your children with such love and respect. I think that’s so wonderfully tender. I don’t have this in my life but I can imagine you just put the biggest smile on his face. Motherhood isn’t for everyone, but I can tell by your words that you were meant to be one. It’s not magic or a slight of hand trick to have children that love you and are so attentive. It’s a caring hand that plants many seeds and then reaps a beautiful garden. I was very fortunate for my dad to be the loving gardener in my young life. I could never tire to spend time with him. I was just telling Mr B. how I’d sit on the Toilet tank and chat to dad as he shaved. He used one of those soft little brushes to whip up lather and then a real metal razor that you’d drop blades into and close it mechanically. It all seemed so technically fascinating, LOL. Or I’d hang around in the garage and fetch tools for him when he was under his truck. When you enjoy someones company, it really doesn’t matter what you’re doing together. Happy Birthday (as Pauline so kindly said) to you both xoxox K

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  4. What a beautiful birthday tribute to your son, Marlene. Such a cute little tow-head! He looks so happy. I don’t have children, but I would imagine what you experienced after his birth only made your bond that much stronger. Happy Birthday to your son! He’s lucky to have such a wonderful mother. xo
    My biggest spiritual moment was a few years ago. A wheel barrel fell off of a flatbed truck in front of my car, while traveling 65 mph on the interstate. It should have had a different outcome, but God took over the wheel and maneuvered me out of a deadly situation.

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    • Thanks for reading Jill. That experience made all my relationships stronger and more precious. Not everyone is destined to parenthood. I was and knew early in life I would have only 2 children. My children have no children either. But they learned somehow to value other relationships that were healthy and let go of those that were not. I can imagine what you felt when the barrel came off in front of you. I was in a white out once where I was no longer in charge of the drive. It’s an eery feeling. I want to write more about these kinds of experiences because I love to read about them.

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  5. How lovely, Marlene. God is truly good to us, and it is good to recognize that like you did. Those are defining moments for us. Happy birthday to your son! Enjoy your time with him! ps I’ve had many moments of profound trust and care. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. Thanks Missy, for reading and the kind thoughts. We are having a great day together. I’m grateful for each birthday my kids get. Especially since they lost their father so young. Those profound moments of trust are what I most like to read about but usually afraid to share. I’ve had many myself. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. We are going to my son’s friends home so he can spend time with his God-children. I’ll enjoy the rest.

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  7. Marlene, happy birthday to the both of you because it’s just as much your day as his. I can only begin to imagine how you felt getting that horrible news but you were right, he did live. You are very lucky to have your two wonderful children and the relationships you have with each.

    When exactly do they grow up, it happens so fast. This year I had to wish my son a happy 30th, it seems like just yesterday he was born and I was younger than he is now.

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    • Do they grow up? Some times I wonder. I watched him growing one day in front of the kitchen door. I swear his body inched up while we were talking. Freaked me out. It happens so fast like when did we get old? I am lucky. I won the kid lottery for certain. I work hard at relationships. They are important to me. That’s why I stuck out bad marriages for so long. Have a happy Thanksgiving Lois.

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  8. What a lovely, lovely tribute to a great guy! I’m so glad you’ve had these 47 years together. What an unbelievably scary time and yes, medicine was not always caregiving back then (or even today).
    That picture of him as a little one is precious! Not to say he isn’t still precious 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, he is still precious and still my child. I’m delighted that medicine has come out of the dark ages with regard to mother child bonding. The hospital team worked hard to care for him, they just left me out of the equation. The people we have become as a result of that experience is the most remarkable part. Every time I think of that day, I am moved in a way that still compels me to tell the entire story. That part is still not here. It is so tender that I’m afraid almost to bring it to light.

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  9. Dear Marlene, firstly, I am so sorry I so late getting here and secondly, I am deeply moved by your beautiful story, full of love and joy in your son and in the wonderful relationship you have with him. It is my middle boy’s birthday tomorrow (he is my Thanksgiving baby!) and I can certainly relate to the amazing bond you have with your children. I thank God every day for the closeness I have with each of my three children and never take that for granted. How blessed you are indeed, as is your son, and your daughter. It is clear that your life was profoundly changed that day and we are honoured that you would share it with us. Thank God for His grace and mercy and loving faithfulness. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and also a very happy belated birthday to your dear son ❤

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  10. Oh Sherri, you aren’t late. It’s the same calendar year so it’s all good. I’m so far behind too but maybe before years end I’ll catch up too. Thank you for reading and your kind comment. My son was born the day after Thanksgiving. I insisted on my turkey dinner before I had him. I bet your son is a Sagittarius too. Easy going and mellow. We do have a wonderful relationship, my children and I. We have been mostly on our own even while I was married to their father. We’ve learned to rely on each other. I will tell the full story at some other time. There was a lot more to it. And yes, I live in Grace and I know it. I’m trying to figure out the best way to write these stories and not embarrass my family. Sometimes I couch things in creative non-fiction. Wish your sweet son happy birthday for me too. We are so blessed aren’t we?

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    • Thank you so much Marlene, and I know just what you mean creative non-fiction. I think it is a wonderful form of expression, especially when you are not quite ready to tell the full story. And yes, my son is just as you describe 🙂 I felt the same way with my children, even when married (22 years), it so often felt like it was just the kids and I. Perhaps that is why we are so close as with your family. Not what we had in mind, but there it was. And we are blessed indeed, yes we are ❤

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  11. Marlene, you are a mama bear through and through. What an extraordinary beginning to your life as a mother. This is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to a remarkable man. I hope when my sons reach the same age that we too have had the experiences that have kept you close. I’ve had many years of emotional trauma with my older son, and fought tooth and nail with school administrators, educators and others, trying to get him the support and services he needed to survive and thrive. The tears, the hand-wringing, the anger and the terrible fear propelled me forward. Crawling into a cocoon was never an option. My reward: to see him blossom, grow and reach near-adulthood after finding the environment and support he needed to thrive.

    I can’t say that I’ve had one spiritual experience that changed me, but feel that life itself continues to open me to the possibilities. xox

    Love this post!!!

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    • Mama bears recognize each other don’t they? Even though I was a young mother, My children knew I would give my life for them. My daughter watched me once put a nurse in her place for trying to keep us away from her doctor. I was always polite and kind, but she knew I’d walk right over her if need be.

      Not everyone gets the kind of experiences that I had. I think I just never fully left the other side and had continued awareness of it. I’m considering writing more of those stories as they were such a large part of my life. Just trying to figure out the best way to present it. There is so much more to this story that I didn’t tell. I just like to keep them short and sweet.

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      • Perhaps you could write the full piece over time, but present it in ‘chapters’ as a series spread out over the weeks? I saw this done by a blog I follow this summer. That way you retain your short-form blog style, but share a longer piece. I would enjoy that and I’m sure others would as well. You’ve got a deeply personal story to tell. I hope you’ll share it.

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      • Thanks Alys. It’s a great idea. And I appreciate the encouragement.

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  12. Marlene, I found you via Pauline’s post and am glad I have. Thanks for sharing your birth story; I, took, have had a few spiritual experiences,, but don’t have time just now to share them. I’ll be back, though. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. ~ Linne

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    • Thank you Linne for reading and your kind comment. I’ve only shared part of the story. There is much more. I’m looking forward to reading your posts as well.

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