Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Don’t you think you’ve had enough now?

Sometimes it can be hard to say, let alone write, what you really feel. Especially in a situation where you have lost someone close. Imagine then how it must feel when you have to make a decision that brings about that loss. In 1990, my husband and I had to make the hardest decision of our lives. Our beautiful daughter was born by Cesarean section, five weeks premature, and with a heart condition. Due to complications just before and after her birth, her brain suffered massive oxygen starvation and when she was just seventeen days old we were told by the doctors that she was, in their words, "incompatible with life". We had to make the heart-breaking decision to let her go peacefully. My one consolation was that she passed away in my arms after only half an hour, which made me realise just how bad things were. It's taken me a long time, but a couple of years ago I wrote this short story, which describes my feelings at the time.

Don't you think you've had enough now?

Kirsty Anne Johnstone
'I watch you laying there, your eyes closed but not in a peaceful slumber. I smile fondly loving the sight of you. Your curly, dark hair, your rosebud mouth, the soft roundness of your cheeks. We’ve been on an adventure, you and me. But how do you feel? It’s been a long journey, sometimes good, other times, well, not so good. The one amazing thing being that we’ve travelled it together, for the most part. These past few months have been wonderful, full of joy and hope. I’ve laughed and loved and planned so many exciting adventures for us both, little knowing it would come to this.
You came too soon. Not ready for life, not strong enough to make it. You’ve fought hard and I’m so proud of you. But, haven’t you had enough now?
I listen to the shushing sound of the machines helping you to breathe. The steady in and out, up and down continuous sound that only serves to remind me that it’s not really you, only the machines are keeping you here with me. The tubes protruding from your tiny body another reminder that all is not well. A tear runs down your cheek. It tears a hole in my heart. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take?
The doctor comes. I can tell by his face that it’s not good news. I shut my eyes, like a child playing hide and seek. If I can’t see him, then he can’t see me. Then he won’t be able to give me the news that I’ve been dreading. But he places his hand on my shoulder and I know that I have to open my eyes and listen. As he speaks, I look at your face and I can tell that, yes, you have had enough.
My heart breaks, but I know what I have to do.  
We’ve both had enough now.'
Sometimes if we love someone, we have to let them go, no matter what it costs us.

I miss and think of her every single day. Time has helped, but there will always be a 'Kirsty shaped' hole in my heart.

In memory of Kirsty Anne Johnstone and all the other angels who were born too soon

Isabel Johnstone 2015 ©

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