Flash fiction · Photo Friday

On My Knees

This is my attempt to convey the emotions of the scariest time in my life as my son fought for his life.

The cold air fills my lungs as I step out into the night,  I have not left your side for hours but now as they stand around you inserting needles and drawing more blood I can stay strong no longer.  I now you are in safe hands for these few precious moments I am stealing not for myself but to allow the overflow of emotion to be discharged before I resume my vigil by your side.

The tears come now a deluge sweeping over my face the pain I feel is not mere emotion, the pain is physical ripping my guts and chest far deeper than any knife could ever penetrate. I am a failure in every sense of the word I can imagine, for you my baby boy I could not protect from this threat, I cannot kiss it better nor sooth your pain. I long to hear you scream to let me know you hurt but that time passed now you whimper and it lay limp and lifeless the image of nightmares from which I cannot now awake.  I fall to my knees I do not care who sees me and I the non believer beg any and every god I can think of to put right what I cannot.  I want to tear at my hair, to scream into the night but the strength to do so has gone with the fading of the light in your eyes. I will bargain my soul, my life, my body whatever it takes for you to pull through, I would rip out my heart with my bare hands if it would make yours strong enough to fight. I am angry at those who I listened to and delayed what I knew in my heart, I hate myself for not acting sooner.  I cannot stop the tears yet know I must I cannot return to you showing my fear.  Terrified that in sensing my weakness it will weaken you in turn.

I light a cigarette after several attempts as my hands shake so badly I cannot hold the flame steady and each time the flame blows out the tears come more thinking of the flame flickering now deep within you struggling to stay alight. As I exhale I look to the stars and call upon every ancestor from the family tree whose name I can recall to look over you and hold you on this side of the veil.  I beg them not to gather you into their arms and take you away from me for if they do I must follow.

A few moments more and I am back by your side the child crawling round yesterday lies motionless with tubes and monitors protruding and I cannot comprehend how quickly this has come to pass how over a few hours you went from normal to fighting for your very existence.  I try to process the information I have been given but it is all jumbled.  To be strong I must stay numb block my feelings I must not show weakness nor acknowledge the pitying looks from the staff as they leave the room.  I will not sleep I will sit by your side and hold your tiny hand and you will draw strength from me, it is all I can give as the medicine courses through your veins fighting the invisible monster whose attack I could not save you from.

And as you lie there my finger resting on your tiny hand I watch the clock tick down listening to the reassuring sounds of the monitor knowing every second that passes makes my chances of keeping you just a tiny bit better but terrified that clock will stop along with both our hearts.

Am not sure I really managed to get across what I wanted to but for now it is as close as I can come and despite thinking I was strong enough to face these feelings I found the tears welling in my eyes as I tried to allow my mind to drift back to that first night.  Monster had Meningitis and during the day I had made numerous calls to the NHS Direct service who kept telling me it was just a viral infection because the rash went away with the glass test, it was only around half an hour after him being admitted that the rash stopped disappearing.  We were told if we had left it an hour later, as would have happened had I listened to the advice given me, it would have been too late, we had forty-eight hours before they knew whether he would pull through.

17 thoughts on “On My Knees

  1. I’m so sorry for your experience. I had chills and tears rolling down my cheeks. My own memories came back to me, I wish I hadn’t read this post.
    My youngest didn’t have Meningitis, though I experienced almost every thing you described.


  2. I can’t even imagine. I’m sorry you went through this but especially sorry for your son. He’s too young to go through such a horrible sickness. Hope you are healing well from your surgery. Thanks for the post, it makes you want to hug your child and be thankful.


  3. Wonderfully written, brought a tear to my eye. I cannot even imagine the experience that you must have been put through, it sends a chill to attack my spine even thinking about it.

    I commend you, not only for your strength in dealing with the matter but dealing it in such a beautiful way. Putting your heartache into your words produces the most stunning pieces of work.

    I have ‘liked’ your post though the term ‘liked’ doesn’t quite seem fitting for a post about such a traumatic event.

    Again, this is tremendously written and I wish for your son (and the rest of your close ones) to remain with strong strength so that you will never have to experience such a thing again.


  4. My God, Paula. What a horrific experience. I’m so glad the story has a happy ending. I can’t begin to imagine how you were able to keep it together. I’m so pleased the Monster was okay. 🙂


  5. Omg my eyes welled up reading this- every parents nightmare bug hugs hun you have written this to such a hard emotion and feeling yet it felt i was going through it with you and can feel it all. Well done for writing it and it helps others to go with their instinct xxx


    1. it took me a long time to let the barriers down enough to be able to really right it but I recently gave the link to Hayley one of my inspirational angels series and she said it summed up her feelings perfectly aswell


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