You’ll learn that you did everything you could to protect your child
It’s brutal for you right now but you’re working through it, you are so much stronger than you think. You’ve got to trust in the words told to you and know, really know, that after this spike things will improve. It’s not going to be easy, you’ll think it’s the most unbalanced time of your life so far. Allow yourself to go through every emotion, allow yourself to grieve and cry. Tell your husband to be supportive, to not try to fix it, just remind him all he need do is acknowledge that you’re struggling.
I’m weeks ahead of you right now, not too far in your near future. I wanted to write to you and tell you that, it will pass, quicker than you think. Hold on to that and you’ll get through it. You will be able to talk about it, say it out loud, without falling apart. The unwanted images will go and you will sleep a whole night again.
You’re doing really well.
As quickly as you learn to come to terms with the trauma, you’ll start to forget all you learnt in order to overcome it. Here is your reminder. Your reminder that it’s totally ok to struggle some days, it’s totally ok to not want to adult and it’s completely understandable that the thought of your daughter going on a school trip will have you in knots. Don’t try to fight this, just accept it, don’t pretend you’re okay, don’t work hard to cover the cracks. Putting a plaster on the wound will only work for a little while, let it be open, let yourself breathe.
Remember, to be kind to yourself. Speak softly to yourself, nurture your inner monologue. It really does reduce that pressure you put on yourself.
It’s unlikely you’ll feel comfort from my words right now. You’ve just re-lived that harrowing moment, step by step, minute by minute. You’re exhausted, and over the next few days, you’ll see it every day. You’ll experience all those emotions you were holding deep inside when you watched your little girl scream out in pain, when you saw her struggle through the night on morphine, when you had to sign on the dotted line before her surgery. Signing for her life. Such a hard thing to do when you’d been part of her near death experience. Handing your child over to strangers to care for her, putting your trust in Doctors and Nurses you’d never met. Allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself to fall apart.
Next week you’ll come to realise you weren’t responsible, deep down you know it was a terrible accident, but you’re struggling with how, when it happened so quickly. You’ll learn that you did everything you could to protect your child, you saved her, and you’ll learn that it wasn’t your fault. And you’ll hear that from your eldest child. The one who stood at the side of the road and watched it happen. You’ll walk home from school with her, hand in hand and you’ll cross the road where it happened and she’ll ask about that day. She’s ok to talk about it even though you're not. She’ll ask you, where the car was that hit her sister, this side of the white line or the other? You’ll tell her this side but that you don’t really remember much of what happened. You’ll say this because it hurts so much to remember. She’ll tell you, bold and bright, that she remembers. You’ll hold back the tears, feel your heart pound in your throat, you only relieved this last week to your therapist. And in her childlike care-free way she’ll go over it, and you’ll hear those words, you’ll realise it wasn’t your fault. You’ll really realise! Heard from a voice that wasn’t trying to say the right thing, a voice that wasn’t trying to make you feel better. Heard from a voice who didn’t even realise that it was so painful for you to discuss. And you’ll be rescued. Your special little girl, that crazy haired little baby who looked into your eyes the day she was born, rescues you. And your nightmares stop. That weight you’ve been carrying for a year...goes. You’ll begin to work through the memory and in a few weeks, you’ll be ready to let go and move on from the pain.
She doesn’t know what she did for you that day. We plan to tell her when she’s much much older.
It will be ok mama, you will feel strong again and this experience will deepen those bonds you have with your wonderful, beautiful children. Just take it slow in the future, be kind to yourself and use your support network. Stressful times might spike feelings of being unable to cope, they might spike feelings of threat and danger. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Speak up when you need to, and say “no” to things that place too much pressure. Say “no” to people who aren’t helpful to your wellbeing.
You matter too!
You can find Karis on Instagram - @saltedmoon.