Hands Through Hair

My fingers are still damp with tears as I write this. I woke up from a vicious nightmare moments ago. A series of images and sounds that slashed through my slumber sending my rest into oblivion. I jettisoned into consciousness while holding my pillow atop of my hand as though it was an infant baby boy; the one from my dream… I was remembering a call that I had responded to as a medic in the worst possible way – my mind was replaying each horrid detail with flawless accuracy, and my body was reliving each and every moment as played to me by the reticular in my brain. And now, now I am awake, confronted by a darkened room and the loneliness of solitude and bachelordom. The baby boy returns to the hidden recesses of my wounded mind as I confront the present, and the pillow. I indignantly toss the pillow to the foot end of the bed and sob a couple of times, not knowing weather it was in anger or grief; I think perhaps both…


I can’t go back to sleep after a dream like that, no way. Not for a good while. As I allow for time to pass, I wait patiently for the feelings of sadness to pass with it, but they do not. A lingering pain sits within my chest, smothering my heart beneath its heft. I am not only sad due to the dream, or the reality of which it is based, but rather for my reaction to it – not tossing the pillow, my other reaction – not the anger or the tears, my other, and more importantly, initial reaction to it; I grabbed my phone to call Mum…


It was a short lived fleeting emotion, but it was there. My free hand even twitched towards my phone. I believe this impulsivity is also steeped with reticular activated memory. I say that because on that day, the day that, that little man died in my arms, the first thing I did when I got home was call, Mum. I called her to tell her about how awful that entire call was. I called to hear a friendly voice, a voice that I had hoped could drown out the echoes of those painful, pleas for help and rhetorical lashings of, why? I had been hearing them ever since the call had ended. They wailed off the walls on the inside of my head, bruising my mind with each shrill scream! On that day I pressed the phone so tightly against my ear that I almost muted my mother’s voice beneath the pressure of my hand against my face. I was trying to get the screams out, I wanted them to stop. And as all good mom’s can, she spoke softly and warmly words drenched in empathy, words that beat back the screams and the pain, even if for just a moment, she said. “Oh, Matty… my boy! I hate that you’re hurting – you did the best you could, there was nowt you could do! Eh? Mum loves you”.


I cried for a while that day, my mum just listened. She was some three-thousand kilometers away in a completely different province, but I swear I could feel her hand brushing through my hair as if to comfort me. A feeling I yearn for right now…


I hate these nights! These nights I get so angry at myself; I yell introspectively with venom and bile at myself for being weak, for being broken, for being inadequate and dysfunctional! I visualize my brain as if to be an opponent standing across from me, and I lust to pulverize it! I try to fight all of that by reassuring myself that, it’s okay, and that, I have been through a lot, seen a lot, done a lot… but more often than not, it falls on deaf ears and aching thoughts. For example; I won’t be able to sleep with that pillow tonight, I just won’t. Once you have seen your pillow in the effigy of a dead infant, it loses all intended designs at comfort. That pillow is diseased to me for tonight.


When I am done writing this, I will likely go and shower – wash the tears and remnants of hell off of me. After that I will lay back down on my bed and try again…

sad man in shower

I hate that you are not here, Mum. I hate that you are in the same place as that baby boy. Though, if you are, maybe he is seeking comfort in you, the same as I have done on many occasion before. That’s a nice thought; thinking of him with you… even if it is fictitious, it’s still a nice thought, one that is juxtaposed from what I just lived through in dream. It was bad enough living through it in real time all those years ago.


I miss you, Mum, God I wish you were here, because right now I am 35 going on 6, and I could really use your hands through my hair…


Goodnight, Mum, where ever you are. Take care of the kid for me, yeah? Maybe run your hand through his soft baby hair, and tell him it will be okay…

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