Thursday, July 9, 2009

What makes you cry?

During the first months after Max was born, I cried daily. Even hourly. Even half-hourly. I cried about my newborn baby who'd had a stroke at birth. A baby? Having a stroke? I cried for myself; I'd had a nightmare birth instead of the blissful, soft-focus experience I'd envisioned. I cried for Dave, the most happy-go-lucky guy I'd ever met who now had a tragedy to cope with. I cried some more for Max. How disabled would he be?

These days, it takes a lot to make me cry over what happened to Max. But once in a while, things get to me. Especially when I hear someone on TV or in the movies talking about a stroke. The other night, Dave and I were watching a Tivo'd episode of Nurse Jackie, our new favorite program. Edie Falco rocks. Suddenly, she was dealing with this middle-aged man who'd had a stroke, trying to get him to utter words and lift his arms.

The tears started coming. For a minute, it seemed horribly, awfully, terribly unfair that I have a little boy dealing with the after-effects of a stroke. Then the wave of grief passed and I was back to my usual self.

The trauma I went through when Max was born lies buried deep inside me. It surfaces from time to time, then recedes. But so much less frequently than it used to.

Max's progress, his determination and the joy he brings heal me.

Photo by Tapio Hurme


  1. I share those same early days where crying on almost a minute to minute basis was my norm. I would lay awake for hours googling neonatal seizures and then cry some more over all the horrible things that popped onto my screen.
    Noah is only 20 months old, so it's still sort of "fresh" but already it has started to bury itself deeper and deeper and surfaces less.
    I do cry at all sight of a lot of those birth type shows, I really can't watch them. I get really jealous for a fleeting moment when I hear of someones picture perfect delivery, but it's getting a lot better although the recent miscarriage put another spin on it for me.
    Of course Noah's smiling face usually snaps me out of whatever funk I am in but I have a feeling this trauma will be a long process to work through!

  2. Sending you (((HUGS))
    It's good to cry, it shows you're human. Don't bottle it up x

  3. It isn't just you he brings a smile to...everyday I read your blog and between him and sabrina. I always get a smile on my face...You have wonderful children and they make me laugh and cry! I adore them!

  4. After Daniel's diagnosis, so many things made me cry. I remember at a family softball game, I was watching his cousins run around chasing each other. At the time, I didn't know if Daniel would ever be able to run around with them. I made up an excuse to leave, sat in my car across the big parking lot, and cried my eyes out for a good hour.
    Another thing that made me cry was an old laundry detergent commercial that featured a little boy getting covered with mud while playing football in the backyard. Every time I saw it, I cried over the fact that Daniel might not be able to run around and get into mischief like other boys.
    Four years later, I'm now secretly grateful when he comes in with grass stains and mud on his clothes!

  5. Oh I so hear you. I can tell you exactly what and where I was when we got Daniel disgnosis about his brain malformation. I can tell you how the furniture was set up in the room, where I sat on the floor and rocked him and just cried and cried. Those memories come back often, the whys, what if's. Reading someone elses experiences gets me going too because I KNOW how they feel.

    Then I get happy because Daniel is doing sooooo much more than anyone expected and he amazes me everyday. But I so easily get bummed out again when I see another child who is doing something that he can't and I'm back to the tears again.

    Max looks like he is doing great, he is so happy, and he looks like he brings lots of joy to everyone around him! BTW- I love the hat! ;)

  6. Well I for one cry every time I see the little video of Michael Jackson's daughter speaking at the memorial. It was touching but also reminded me of two other families kids I know who lost their father at that exact age. Many years ago but I still picture the children at the service. I also cry at any show where they have a premature baby and a few weeks ago while browsing with my son at a second hand store I saw a copy of "what to expect when you are expecting" and it made me cry (and maybe say a bad word) as I had been all giddy reading my copy BEFORE giving birth three months early! Hey but its ok because my premie guy found some scary books cheap to add to his collection and that made me happy!

  7. For me, when we get more and more diagnosis which means a more complicated and less bright prognosis for our son, I cry. It seems they keep coming. It's like the initial diagnosis of CP all over again, each time. We now have 7 diagnosis'.

    When I realize what he's going to miss because he's cognitively unable to participate, or think about any bullying he may experience...I cry.

    But, I have come to terms with his long term future, or at least the long term where my hubs and I are still around. Past that...I can't consider.

  8. Anniversaries are tough for me, but widowhood does that to you. So do birthdays, holidays, and "memory" days, if I let them, and if I am feeling blue. The baby looks more like his daddy every day, though, so I've still got a piece of him. I suppose I should be crying over what the boys can't do, but really, I'm just glad I have them and that they can do so much more than anyone ever expected. When I don't feel like doing anything, they give me the reasons to push on.

    You're not gonna believe what my "word verification" is for this post, Ellen--it's "copers." I guess that's what we are and what we do, we're copers who cope with the challenges we have to deal with.

  9. Ellen,
    My worst moments are when we get invites to birthday parties, kids running everywhere, screaming, climbing, eating. Over the last year, we stopped going to most of them. They are just too painful for me, especially. I was at our town's Forth of July celebration,last week, and I saw all these people I went to school with and their kids. I had to get in the car and go back home and have a good hour long cry. Even though we have been living this for over 5 yrs, it still seems sooo fresh to me. I feel like someone is always ripping the scab off again. I suspect it will always be that way.

  10. I read this post this morning and cried. Since then...all day...I've thought about what I could write...all the things about Gavin and my life that make me cry. I cried all day. Does that answer the question?

    Oh, and it made me cry to picture YOU crying. What is up with me???

  11. Well, I cry at EVERYTHING. But when we got my daughter's diagnosis, I think I was numb for about 3 weeks before it really hit me. Maybe I was in shock. Or maybe I was just in survival mode and really couldn't deal with all the of the emotions at that point.

    She is 21 months old and now it hits me again and again: when we order a wheelchair for her, when I watch other kids half her age do things that she cannot do, when all the moms are talking "shop" and I am excluded from the conversation, when I think about all that we have to do on a regular basis just so she can do the most basic things, then I just want to sit and cry.

    I try not to think about what the future may or may not hold. We have no way to know anyway. So for now, like you, I will delight in her smile and her personality and the blessing that she is and we will deal with the future...later.

  12. KATE. I am so sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. Evidently, the answer to the question I raised, "What makes you cry?" is "This blog."

    Last time I write something when I'm PMS-ing.

    Jo, I know EXACTLY what you mean about appreciating the grass stains.

    Mia, I am sorry for the whirlwind of diagnoses you are dealing with.

    Candace, birthday parties used to get to me, too. They don't anymore. With age (Max's, mine) comes acceptance.

    Felicia, you are one strong chick. And, yes, that is such a coincidence about "copers." I just loved that.

    I neglected to tell everyone that the adorable hat Max is wearing was made by Melanie! Check out her amazing handiwork here:

  13. I don't cry much anymore about anything, although when we landed ourselves back in hospital on Thursday, while all the other kids were sick too, having just spent several hours in the ER and then discovering I had lost my pendant with William engraved on it somewhere in the hospital, I have to admit that after Ivy was settled and the nurses had stopped bustling about that I cried long and hard.

    The last funeral I cried at was my son's.

    The year he died, I cried so hard for so long, I sometimes think I don't have much left for anything else.

    Hugs, Ellen.
    I love your blog and the questions you ask.

  14. Ellen, I really appreciate hearing about your early days with Max and how you've adapted over the years. I look forward to standing where you are, but we are only 23 months into it. So thanks for sharing bits and pieces of what it was like when he was younger, and where you are now. It's inspiring! Have you thought of writing a book?

  15. Thanks, Tiff and Hannah. Hannah, I am just loving writing the blog right now. If you ever have any questions to ask about the early years, please, email me!


Thanks for sharing!

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