It’s about 10:00 in the evening and Tim, Lauren, Leah and I are sitting around watching TV. The hum of Lauren’s oxygen machine can be heard in the laundry room. We stick it in there because the noise makes it hard to hear the TV. I look over at Lauren sitting in a rocker crocheting a blanket for a friend. I wonder what it feels like to have an oxygen tube stuck up your nose 24 hours a day. Does she hate it? I think I would, and yet she sits there as if it is the most normal thing in the world. I know better. It’s not normal for a 30 year old to be stuck to an oxygen machine. But then, Lauren has never been normal.
A few years ago, Lauren had the idea to write her memoirs. I encouraged her to do it. Since she’s disabled and is basically stuck sitting around all day, what could it hurt? I thought it might even help her to express feelings that she has that no one knows about. Then, she had the bright idea to include me, because after all, there were many things that Lauren could not write about, things that happened to her that only I know and remember. And so, I agreed reluctantly to try to fill in the gaps of her early years.
Two years later, I am finally getting around to my part of the bargain. It is highly likely that the things that I am going to write will be very hard for Lauren. She may not want to know the details after all. Sometimes when I look at her or hear her voice on the telephone telling me for the umpteenth time that she is not feeling well, it is more than I can bear. I secretly cry on the inside. I cannot let her hear my weakness. I can’t always be strong though, and there are times when the tears spill out and run in silent rivers down my face. How will she feel when she finds out all the times I cried? How will she feel when she knows all the times she almost died?
So, for any of you who are out there reading this first post from me, I can’t promise anything. I can’t promise that what I say will be good because I’m not a writer. I’m a mother who happens to have a child that was born with heart defects. I’ve lived with a lot of heartache, but I’ve also lived with a lot of joy and my goal is to tell it like it is, or was, or may be someday. Lauren’s story.