You know that song, You are my Sunshine? All my children, from the day they were born, heard me sing that song to them every night for at least 2500 nights straight.
Only I changed the words.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine….I sang to their baby eyes and wrinkly bitty feet.
You make me happy when skies are gray….it was true, they did. Nothing like a mother and child love.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you…true as well. Noone understands a parents love until they are a parent themselves.
Please don’t take my sunshine away. Ahhh, here’s where I changed it. I know now it was my greatest fear. So much so, that I didn’t want it mentioned, so I changed an age old song.
I sang, “I’m so glad you’re here to stay” instead of, ” Please don’t take my sunshine away.” I went on to change the other lyrics to match the sentiment…
“The other day, dear, as you lay sleeping…I dreamt I held you in my arms. When I awoke dear, I hugged and squeezed you…I’m so glad you’re here to stay!” Isn’t that sweet?
How I wished as I stood next to his bed holding his hand on this particular day, that I could speak those words into LIFE in that moment….
Three doctors stood at the foot of the hospital bed. In the middle was Chris. The One doctor and friend who had been with Cory since the day he was admitted to the bone marrow transplant unit. I couldn’t tell you who the other doctors or residents were at his side.
The head of the BMT unit was standing behind the head of Corys bed. Cory didn’t know she was there. The consummate professional, always put together, gorgeous, usually wearing heels with no effort, graceful, firm but caring….was a mess. Silently sobbing and heaving behind Cory’s headboard. Grieving before he was gone.
I looked away quickly….no. no. keep it together, Sheyna.
“Hey Cor.” It was Chris.
“Hey.”…. Cory had that partial smirk he got when he was sad….or knew something was coming.
“You heard the results from the scope?” Chris was holding the foot of the bed with both hands so tightly.
“The lesions are everywhere inside your body.”
Cory nodded knowingly.
“I’m so sorry…
but we’ve done everything we can do.”
He moved his hand to hold Cory’s foot through the blanket.
I was squeezing Cory’s hand tightly and looking at him to read him, to grasp what he must be thinking and feeling. I can see his disappointment deep in his eyes. I can see it. I can feel it radiating through his fingers as his hand that was holding mine, suddenly resigned. He had the smallest squeeze of hope just an instant before the words, “…..we’ve done everything we can do.” Then he let go.
There was a silence you could see.
“Thank you for your efforts.” was all Cory said. And he said it from his soul.
His eyes were welled with tears, but he didn’t cry. He looked at me as tears free flowed down my face. I didn’t say it’ll be ok. I just searched his eyes for something. Eyes looking so deeply like you do an infant. You know, infants don’t look away when we lock into their gaze. They look back. and they always, always smile. Our souls are IN THERE. And sometimes our souls need our Moms, and I wanted his soul to know I. Was. There.
He didn’t look away…but he didn’t smile. I saw him. He didn’t want to go. And it broke my heart for him. “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I whispered too many times. “I’m so sorry”. He shrugged as his lip quivered.
It reminded me of the day I left him in his college dorm for the first time. He’d “packed” his clothes by shoving them all in a laundry basket…”It’s fine, Mom.” was what he said when I asked him to fold them, to put them in a suitcase…..to pack “correctly”. But it wasn’t fine when they were laying in a heap on his dormroom bed and he hadn’t met his new roommate and it was time for me to leave. And he, who had 1.5 feet into adulthood, but .5 foot left in childhood at that moment had a look of panic, eyes welled up with tears, but didn’t cry…or like he was 6 and I was watching him look back to me as he got on the bus for the first time with the “I’m leaving, but don’t leave” look.
“Do you want me to help you fold and put away your clothes before I go?”
“Well, I have to be at the dorm floor meeting in 10 min.”
“I’ll do it for you. Go to your meeting. Give me a hug, I love you.”
Same look, different place.
I couldn’t fold and put his clothes away for this trip. It ripped me apart to see that look and know there is NO THING I could do…no task, no nursing duty, no cooking, no folding, no bathing, no store running, no flying across the country, no feeding a milkshake with a straw, no kisses, no bandaid would make. this. better…..nothing. nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing not even a little mom thing- nothing. NOTHING I could do.
The Doctor behind the Headboard had composed herself, came around the the hospital bed thru the heaviness in the room. She leaned over Cory and turned her phone to him.
Her eyes were puffy, her face was red from love and wishing things were different. “I want you to think of this place right now. I want you to think of these rocks, the formations, and the sand, the beauty.”, she prescribed with her Lithuanian accent. It was Utah…a place to hike called Angels Landing. It looked glorious. The doctor and Cory had made plans to meet and hike together in Utah when he got out of this place. One of the many places he dreamed of wandering. He nodded his head yes as the welled tear finally fell. “You think about THIS. Ok? Ok.”, she said as she tapped the front of her phone screen with her manicured fingernail.
She had sons Cory’s age. She had wanted to save him for Utah, and for his girlfriend, Anna, and for the babies he might father, and for his crazy family that regularly filled his hospital room, and for the places he might go, and for the work he might do.
She left, the doctors filed out. Cory closed his eyes to sleep.
And for the next couple weeks, we never spoke of it again.
Please don’t take my Sunshine away. The other day, dear, while I lay sleeping, I dreamt I held you in my arms….when I awoke dear, I was mistaken… Please don’t take my Sunshine away.
It was never my Song to change.