A Mother’s Strength

Magical Benson by Tasheana Tenorio of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Magical Benson by Tasheana Tenorio of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

The world seems still and quiet, almost like everything is in slow motion except for me. People are walking by, always giving a sad nod, like they know why you are there. His dad is on the other side of the room. I can tell he is quietly crying with his face covered. My phone is blowing up with so many questions, so many worried people. I send everyone a comfort reply. Then the most important text comes through, the notification that the procedure has begun. My heart stops, for just a second, then I look down at Forky and say, “Everything will be just fine, I know it.”

The second text comes through, notifying us that he is now on a bypass heart/lung machine. His dad walks over and asks me how I am doing. I say I’m fine and ask him the same question. He has a shake in his voice as he answers me, I can hear the pain and fear in him. I look up at him and say, “Everything will be just fine, I know it.” He slowly looks at me confused, yet comforted. I smile and ask him if he wants his turn to hold Forky. He laughs and goes back to the other side of the room.

I look at him with his face covered, I look at the messages on my phone from worried friends and family, and I see the other sad people as they walk by. I pause for a moment before I look back down at Forky and quietly say to him, “Everything will be just fine…I know it.” I look up with a half-smile on my face, wondering why that is all I’ve said today. It’s puzzling me at first, wondering if something is wrong with me. Why haven’t I cried? Why aren’t I scared? Why am I emotionless, talking to a toy spork?

Then it hits me. I smile to myself and realize the answer to all of my questions. It’s not just because I am trying to be a strong mother for my son. It’s because I have been exactly where he is, not much older than he is now. I look back to when I went through open heart surgery and remember that everyone around me was crying, but I was too young to even know what was going on as the doctors took me away. I remember that their tears put a slight fear in me that I didn’t even know was there. I remember waking up and everyone was crying tears of joy, again, making me fear what had just happened to me. Then I realize the most important part—that I woke up, I am now healthy, and I have a beautiful son that will do the same.

We receive the third text notification that he is off the heart/lung bypass support. My heart fills with joy, the room starts to move at the right speed again and I smile at his dad. He looks up at me and asks me what I am thinking. I walk over and tell him, “I say everything will be just fine and I know it, because I do… but I also know that when we do see him, we have to be strong.” I proceed to tell him how I felt in our son’s shoes, explaining how I think we should do it differently, especially since we are the only family allowed in the hospital with our son at this time. He doesn’t say much, but he does hold my hand and say okay, with a slight smile on his face. I smile too and go back to my seat on the other side of the room.

Finally, five-and-a-half hours later, we receive the last notification. our son is on his way to the ICU and we can see him! I jump up out of my seat with joy, hug his dad, and pull him as fast as I can to the ICu entrance. We are waiting for a while before the nurse walks out of the doors. She smiles at us and says, everything went just as planned. Then she points down the hall and says, “He is in the room straight back, at the end.” for a second, my smile goes away, because deep down inside I am so scared to see my baby like this. But I take a deep breath, put a smile on my face, grab his dad’s hand, and start walking down the hall, thinking in my head, do not cry, be strong, be thankful, be happy for him and everything will be just fine, I know it.

Shikiya Chase is a student at Turtle Mountain Community College.

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