You Told Me Your Chest Hurt, I Screwed Up

12096153_10153644253077278_1045429769266450965_nYou had asthma from the time you were a baby.  Of course, as a baby, they didn’t diagnose it as asthma.  But we were giving you breathing treatments off and on from the time you were 4 months old.

You seemed healthy though.  You were always so active.  You loved the outdoors where you climbed trees like a  monkey.  You played soccer and kept up with everyone.

Your asthma just seemed to act up when you caught a bug or were affected by allergies, not by running around thankfully.

So when you told me your chest hurt once, about a month or two before your death, I asked, “Does it feel like asthma?”  you said, “I don’t know.”  And we left it at that.  I figured if it was something more, you’d mention it again.

You didn’t until the night before your death.  i don’t know if it was the same “hurt.”  But that evening, around 6pm, I told you to do the dishes.  you said, “my chest hurts.”  And I chalked it up to a) asthma and b) being not in the mood for dishes.  I didn’t even ask you if you thought it was asthma.  I simply said, “Well, it’s a good thing you don’t have many dishes to do then.”

At the age of 13, I figured if it was something different or if it continued to bother you, you would mention it again.

You didn’t.

You died in your sleep from an unknown heart condition called Viral Myocarditis.  A virus attacked your heart.

Why didn’t I immediately assume something was wrong when you told me your chest hurt?

Mostly because you (and your siblings) have always been a bit hypochondriac-ish.  And I didn’t want to make you worse by showing that I too am a hypochondriac (of sorts).

Your younger brother sometimes used to say his chest hurt (before you died) and we took him to the dr and it was heartburn/indigestion.

Who thinks that their 13 year old son is going to die in their sleep?

Why did I screw up?  I could have saved you if I had made a big deal about your chest hurting.  Why?  I will have this guilt forever.

 

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jill, we would have thought it was the asthma. Even the doctor said she probably would have missed it. Don’t feel guilty. You were a wonderful mother to him and you are to your other kids. I know how often you took your kids to the doctor. No one would have thought that there was anything that bad going to happen. We all miss him so much but don’t feel you did anything wrong. Love you.
    Mom

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  2. If ‘ ifs & buts’ were whiskey & nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas.

    I’m sorry if this sounds trivial Jill for I know what it’s like to feel guilt when our little ones die. But I heard this on tv one day during the last year and it stuck with me. We all wonder if we did this or if we did that , but this but that. The reality is that it was going to happen you couldn’t have done anything more. Xxx

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    1. I know that, yet I don’t. I can’t help but feel that it’s my fault.

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  3. Karen Wisdom says:

    Hi Jill,
    My son Brooks passed away right before his senior year, he was 18 yrs old. He was a good friend of Abraham Khadivi’s. Yes, we knew from day 1 that he had a severe heart defect and it was a very difficult cross for him to bare. Most of his last 10 years he didn’t feel good and would be in pain. Many times I heard him say his chest hurt. A number of times we would check it out but doctors couldn’t explain the pain, or just couldn’t come up with a reason why it was bothering him. Many times, I wouldn’t do anything about it but maybe offer advil. Because, usually the pain would eventually get better. I know what you’re talking about as far as feeling like a hypochondriac- he was my son, my 1st born, my sonshine!! I eventually had to get on an anti anxiety medicine to help me get some sleep at night. Even knowing he had a severe condition, I still had to let things go because there was not always an explanation for what he was feeling or going through. The heart is complicated. But, you can’t beat yourself up over this and feel this guilt. He was a normal child in so many ways! He even played soccer!!! And not to put his doctor down, but if he didn’t notice any symptoms or signs or anything, what is a mom suppose to do? God was calling him home just as he called my son home early. Sometimes there just are no good explanations!
    Brooks has been gone for 7 1/2 yrs now. I definitely have no problem telling people when I’m asked how many kids that I have- that” I have 3 (even though only 2 left here physically). Unfortunately my oldest passed away at 18 and is now an angel in heaven.” I’m so sorry for your pain because I do know how bad it hurts. But, you did everything right and you were a good mom, it was just his time to go.
    Please feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like an ear to listen. Hang in there,
    Karen ktdecden@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I will always have such regrets, such guilt. I miss him so much. Sometimes, even after 3 years, it doesn’t feel real. He should be walking down the hallway with a smile on his face.

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