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Getting through the day... a perspective of a day care provider

by Tanya

Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998

I lost Kate to SIDS on 24Aug98. I am her day care mom, I found her that day. I am sad, I am angry, I am hurt and I have died in my own way. I am dealing with the horror of it all and the powerful grip of grief. My grief is not unique, but others do not see it. They do not understand the connection that comes from 5 out of 7 days with a child for most of their waking hours, I loved that baby as my own. Her mother trusted me to let me love her and keep her safe. I could not keep her safe.

How do I get through a day? I don't know sometimes, all of a sudden it is night and everyone is asleep and I am alone to think. Days are a blur, passing by sometimes. Kate died on a Mon. I have never liked Mondays, now I hate them. I will take this Mon. as an example. (I should include my son Ethan just turned 6mo, Kate was 6mo 14 days when we lost her.)

My Mon. begins sharp at midnight, as I am still awake, sleep is hard to come by these days. So everyone is in bed and I search on the internet for a new posting or someone in a chat room pertaining to loss. After consuming any new posting I take my dose of Zoloft and head to bed. The walk down the hall seems endless, passing the room where "IT" happened. Then there is the frightening part of checking on Ethan. I check not to see if he is comfortable, but is he gone too? He is on his back and a little stuffy from the sudden change in weather, but breathing. I reluctantly climb in bed. I lay there thinking about any connection to a slight cold and SIDS. Then sleep comes, but only for a while. I wake and look at the clock, 1:00am. I lay as still as possible and hold my breath trying hard to hear Ethan. I look at the clock again, it was about2:00am. What was I waiting for? Get up and check on him. A quick glance around and I notice he is not where I laid him. He moved to his tummy, despite the foam prop I used to prevent it. Instant panic comes, I reach to touch him, it was chilly and there were no blankets on him. His leg was cold and I freak. I scoop him up and he takes a moment to move. A moment that flashes and I in my mind "Oh God, now it has happened to me too". Ethan moves and I lay him back in bed. I guess this is a panic attack, I go to the restroom to vomit, quietly though as to not wake anyone. I retrieve Ethan and stumble to the kitchen to fix him a bottle. I take him to bed with me, so he cannot roll over to his tummy. My mind then ponders the risk of rolling on him. I do not move the rest of the night. I wake and my body aches from laying in one position.

And so I wake and it is Monday...THE DAY. How long will it continue to be THE DAY? I have went back to doing daycare, and yes I am watching babies. I must prove to myself and others that I am strong and I am ok...I am not. I drink a Pepsi and eat two pieces of cheese cake. Later it is chips a diet Dr Pepper and some M&M's. I finish with a fried burrito for dinner with a vanilla Pepsi. That is what I consume for the entire day. Earlier in the day at THAT TIME I gather all the children and hang out until I feel THE TIME has passed and feel 'safe' again. That is my day, mixed with moments of terror that another child will die in my home, in my care. I cannot get rid of feeling to blame. Panic attacks are the norm for me. A child scoots down in a high chair and freezes, I fear death. A child asleep an exausaucer, I fear death. I am even afraid of a child drowning in the toilet? I must never take anything for granted ever again.

I feel isolated from others, my grief should be less right? I have my son it was not my child that died...WRONG. Let alone the horror of those events on THAT DAY. I have the subsequent child the minute after losing one to SIDS. I have had no time to trust again in life. I live in fear now and have lost in some of the joy of raising him.

I make it through the day. I live and yet sometimes I am sure I am dead inside. Sorry this is so long, but I am consumed by SIDS what it does to ones soul. What it leaves behind. I read others stories, I guess I hope it will make mine seem less painful. Thank you.

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