About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Releasing Guilt

I spent yesterday toiling around the house trying to keep busy. I felt an ominous sense of stress all day, as if I were forgetting something important. I chalked the emotions up to nerves about the impending surgery and tried to keep my mind occupied. It wasn't until I was holding Timmy in the late afternoon that the memories came flooding back to me. 

Twenty-one years ago yesterday I was on my college break, working as a nanny when I was changed forever. A neighborhood child, a 3 year old little girl who had chubby cheeks and a devilish grin, was playing with my little charges in the pool. Her Mom was chatting with me poolside when we noticed something awry. The child had laid down on the side of the pool and wasn't moving. Although I didn't know it at the time, she had a congenital heart defect and had already undergone two cardiac surgeries. 

I'll spare the details and just state that the mom was of no help during the crisis. I tried to block out her screams and called 911 before starting CPR. In the midst of my breaths into her cold little mouth I remember yelling at the other children I was watching to leave the room. In the middle of all of the chaos, and over the frantic screams of the mom, I didn't want them to witness their little friend dying. I can still feel the flickering of her little pulse on my fingertips when I handed over care to the paramedics.

Later that evening I received the news that she didn't make it. In an afternoon my entire world had been turned upside down.  It was the first time I felt a devastating. earth shattering grief. It was on this date that I learned sometimes life isn't fair, and that bad things happen to good people. I was changed forever.

Unlike other years, yesterday I did not second guess my every move on that horrific afternoon. Looking into little Timmy's eyes as I began to relive the memories, I felt a sense of peace wafting over me. I finally accepted that her death wasn't my fault.

I was able to look at that afternoon with an objectivity which has been eluding me. Instead of feeling guilty and ashamed about her death, I felt a sense of pride over the composure I was able to muster during the crisis. Where the other adults were frozen with fear and worry, I was able to act. I was 19 years old and terrified, but I performed CPR correctly and managed to spare the other children the haunting images of their friend lying on their kitchen table.

Time and maturity are a marvelous and powerful combination. I will always mourn her death, but I will no longer blame myself. Releasing the guilt and shame I have been feeling for 21 years is liberating. I've always known that I did everything right, and that she didn't die because of me. Yesterday was the first time I actually believed it. 

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