Bryce may be non-verbal, but through his gorgeous brown eyes, he speaks volumes!
I've been thinking about writing this post for a little over a week. I knew I wanted to share this experience with all of you, and yet it has been hard to get it down in writing. Even tonight as I sit at the computer, the words aren't coming easily.
I love my boy more than words can express. A few years ago, my then 3 year old son Spencer, was throwing a fit over something and I said to him," Use your words. What do you need?" He looked up at me and through his tears he said, "words!"
Words are powerful! Words...something that Bryce has not had for over 3 years now. Because he does not have words, he has been labeled "mentally retarded" by the system and yet anyone who spends time with him soon learns that his mind is alive and active. I have never heard him say "I love you" and yet through his eyes and his soul, he has spoken to me many times.
Saturday, January 7th was one of those times. It was the day that John was in the hospital and Bryce woke with croup. Throughout the day he had many "non-breathing episodes" as we call them. He has these when he is well also, but when he is sick, they come more often, last longer, and are way more scary! They are intensified by his inability/lack of strength to cough and get rid of any mucus or phlegm that comes with common respiratory illnesses. They are also harder for him to overcome when he is upset or afraid.
So, back to Saturday afternoon. As Bryce began to cough and make a quiet sound, that I know all too well and can hear from across the room yet cannot even explain, I ran to him, picked him up in my arms, and got him into the best position to help him through what I knew was coming. The cough assist machine, breathing equipment, and suction machine were all close by and soon would be used to help him clear his airway with hopes of keeping anything from being aspirated into his lungs and causing more problems. Like so many times before, he began to gag, choke, and then struggle for breath as I held him and worked with him. His heart was racing, as was mine as he looked up at me with those eyes that spoke so loudly to me. His eyes were calling out for help, for peace, for breath. There was fear in those eyes that looked up at me, begging for relief and trusting that I would help it come. It is a look that I am sure will never, as long as I live, leave my memory.
Although the color of his lips and face began to change as I looked into those pleading eyes, I was reminded that I must remain calm so that he could become calm and take that breath that would allow him to stay with us. His eyes have spoken to me like this before, but for some reason, it really affected me this day.
As he spoke to me with his eyes, I silently prayed and spoke quietly to him with my words reminding him to breathe, telling him that he could do it, and that everything would be okay. Finally he took that breath and soon he was once again okay.
A few minutes later I sat holding him in our rocking chair. As I held him in my arms, he looked up at me and again spoke to me with his eyes. He thanked me! He told me that he loved me and thanked me for helping him! I snuggled him a little closer and told him with my words that I loved him too and how thankful I am that our Heavenly Father has allowed me to be his mom. How lucky I am to be the one to care for him while he is on this earth and to experience his amazing spirit in a way that only a mother can.