A few nights ago I work in the morning after having a terrible dream. I don't remember much of the dream, but what I do remember had me in tears upon waking. Gus was in the hospital and breathing through a ventilator. I was sitting in a chair holding him while he looked up at me and I could tell that he wanted to stop being on the ventilator. I asked him, "Gus do you want to stop breathing?" and he nodded yes "Are you sure you want to stop breathing and leave us?" Then I woke up. I don't frequently have dreams of my children, any of them, but when they are like this, so real and so emotional, it makes me scared that something terrible is going to happen.
Every night before I go to sleep I HAVE to check on Gus. I have to make sure that the blankets are covering his face, that his nose and mouth are clear from the pillow, that he's still breathing, that he's still alive. There have been a few nights that I haven't been able to check on him, and those are the most anxious nights I have. The other night, I think the night before I had this dream, I walked into Gus' room and he had a pillow up by his face. I so desperately wanted to pull the pillow away from his face and move it, but he had trapped the pillow with his arm. Which was going to be worse: leaving the pillow where it was and be anxious all night that he was going to suffocate or moving the pillow and waking him up? It's not his fault I have these fears, so he shouldn't suffer with interrupted sleep. I walked out of the room without going in, only to turn back around and check to see exactly where the pillow was in relation to his face; his face was clear. I went to sleep hoping I did the right thing.
Along with everything else that is difficult when one is a bereaved parent, so, too, is having a subsequent child at home. I try to find a balance so that I don't get too much anxiety, but some nights, and mornings, are much more difficult than others.