Memories of a Son Gone Home

I originally posted January 2, 2017, on my expired Weebly website.

I am reposting this post because my writing has improved, and I have clarified some details better. Had my son lived, he would be fifty-six today.

It rained today. We need rain, so I wasn’t concerned about it. However, it is also the birthday of my firstborn son. At 5:45 p.m., on a Sunday, my son was born on January 2, 1966.

I remember that day very well. Since New Year’s Day, I had been in labor, but I didn’t know I was in labor. I thought I was having strong cramps and thought no more about it. Accept, I wanted the pain to stop because they were uncomfortable.

The following day, the cramps were more robust, and I even went to the restroom, thinking I needed to push things out. The doctors later told me I was lucky it wasn’t time for the baby to come out because my son was attempting to make his interest into the world. He was trying to push his way into the world, and I thought I needed to use the restroom. He could have been born in the toilet. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

My son was born about a half-hour after I got to the hospital. The doctor didn’t check me because this was my first pregnancy; they thought I had hours to go. I was parked and left to my own devices on a gurney in the hall.

Then it happened again. I needed to go to the restroom, and no one was around, so I tried to sit up to get off the gurney so I could find the facilities. A nurse passing by saw me attempting to get off the gurney and came rushing over.

“Miss Rhodes, you need to stay on the gurney,” she said.

“If I don’t go to the restroom now, somebody is going to have a mess to clean up,” I said.

She helped me lay back down and moved me into a room to check on me.

“Oh! My God! The baby is coming! Whatever you do, don’t get off this gurney! I’ll be right back.”

She returned with a doctor and an intern. They checked me and told the nurse to get me to the delivery room. Now!

They barely had time to prepare me for the delivery before my son pushed his way into the world.

I was so proud when they told me I had a son. I knew it would be a boy. We had not had a boy born in the family for several years. I had eight sisters and two brothers between my mother and my dad in my immediate family. So, everyone was excited to have another boy in the family.

I almost died less than a week later because the intern left some afterbirth in me. I had started a fever but ignored it. I was so happy taking care of my son. I had decided I would breastfeed him, and I loved the bond it created between us. I thought the fever would go away.

My mother knew something was wrong, and by Friday, I was burning up with a fever and felt worse. My brother-in-law brought my sister over to spend the day with us. Momma insisted my brother-in-law take us both to the hospital. We arrived about eight in the morning. I was directed to a waiting room and laid down on the bed. I either fell asleep or passed out because the next time I opened my eyes, my mother was sleeping in a chair beside my bed, and I could see it was dark outside.

My mother awakened, and I asked her what time was it, and she looked at the clock on the wall, and I did too, and the clock said 3:30, and because it was dark outside, I knew it was 3:30 a.m.

I asked what had happened and what was wrong with me. That was when I found out about the afterbirth. The next day, the doctor informed me that I was lucky my mother had insisted I return to the hospital. He said another day, and my family would have arranged for my funeral.

Over the next few days, to break my still high fever, they sat me in tubs of ice. I went through that ritual a couple of times a day for two or three days before my fever started to come down.

The doctors and nurses reminded me several times how lucky I was that my mom got me to the hospital when she did. I was that close to not being here today. They had to perform a D and C to get out all the afterbirth tissue left behind. It had set up an infection in my uterus. Thank God for mothers!

Twenty-three years and twenty-three days later, my son died in a car accident. He was part of my life for twenty-three years, and he was a blessing to me and everyone whose life he touched. He served five years in the military and planned to make it a career. I am so proud to have been his mother.

I think of him often, especially when I see someone who resembles him or someone doing something that he did or like today, his birthday; he’s been on my mind all day. Therefore, I am writing about him. I was hoping it would ease the pain of his loss. It helps a little, and I must remember, even though he is no longer present with me, he lives in my heart and the heart of all those who loved him.

Rest in peace, my son. We will be reunited again someday.

Time for me to stop. I could go on forever talking about my son. What helped me get through his loss was the belief I would see him again someday, and I had three other sons who needed me to be strong for them. Maybe I will write about them one day. I am a blessed woman. I had four sons, and I am proud of them. They gave me fifteen grandchildren and so far seven great-grandchildren. God has blessed me as my son told me he would.

Until next time, stay safe, and keep the faith. lw