A Coma in the Family: When the Bear Eats You

A coma in the family

Some days you eat the Bear and some days the Bear eats you.”

One day your world is bright and full of possibilities.  It is not perfect, but everything is manageable and there is a future where great things can happen.

This world can crash at any given time.  That is the nature of the beast.  But when it happens to you, you never really expect it.

Writing is therapy and if these words can help others I am grateful for this gift. The words every mother of a child with a Heart Arrhythmia dreads to hear after a cardiac arrest: “We can’t wake her up.”  The potential is always there, but one never wants to take ownership of negative thoughts.

When I started this blog I wrote about my beautiful daughter leaving for university. So here I am, four years later in the intensive care unit, waiting to know.  All that can be done is being done.  The spiritual side is being well taken care of as family and friends extend their prayers and kindness, for which I am truly grateful.  The doctors and nurses, who are always professional and gracious, know that their bad news is never wanted, and are delicate and caring when delivering it. Their stealth like qualities are remarkable as they keep calm and provide compassionate care.

During this traumatic time as this life changing drama plays out, what else is there for someone who finds comfort in the written word to do, but write.  Write until the words bleed from the depths of the soul as they pour out to the Great Mystery called God.  The experience of anguish and pain that moves time and space as a young woman lies on a hospital bed. We are all connected like the images in woodland paintings of which my daughter is so fond.

By a twist of fate.  I have been reading Joan Didion’s book, The year of Magical Thinking,  to do a review for the blog.  I wanted to know how this brilliant writer coped with her own loss and trauma that involved her husband and daughter. It is described as ” an attempt to make sense of the ..weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness…”  Now I too will learn first hand.

Someone you love, doing the most ordinary of things is propelled into a life changing existence. An alternate reality that bears little resemblance to the one that existed before the event.

I read a story once about a young woman who had a terrible skiing accident.  Bones were broken and crushed. As she lay in pain recovering, she noticed her favorite songbirds tapping on the window.  In the past this had always been a lucky sign for her, throughout her life songbirds tapping on the window had always foreshadowed a positive event.  In anger she looked at the birds and thought, “You were supposed to protect me.”   At that moment, the answer came back to her.  “You are still here, aren’t you?”

Because my daughter is here all things are possible.  The future is bright because my daughter’s Hope Chest is still full.


J. L. James
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J. L. James

Writer at EmptyBesters
Social Commentator, Original EmptyBester.
J. L. James
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7 thoughts on “A Coma in the Family: When the Bear Eats You

  1. Thank goodness your daughter is fighting her corner. I can’t imagine a more challenging time for parents – our children never cease to be our children. Will keep you all in my thoughts as I am sure that prayers from everyone, even those on the very outer fringes of your life, do help. I look forward to the day when the worst is all behind you and you are able to write about what you learned, from the comfort of a safer, more certain place. Much love to you and your family, Gilly. xxx

  2. Oh my goodness Judith – how did I miss this? I came looking to see if you were still writing as I hadn’t had any emails about posts for ages. Are you ok? I hope all is well with your daughter and I hope you are ok. I just looked to see when the Jamaica post was written and as it was after this, I am praying everything is fine. So sorry I somehow missed this one. Love to you. Gilly.

    1. Thank you so much Gilly, it has been a challenging few months. My daughter is improving everyday and still has a long way to go. I am grateful that she is still here and I will write about the interesting things I have learned from this experience in the future. National Health Care is challenged here, and from what I hear in the U.K too. The Jamaican post had been written before but posted after the event. Thought I was ready to return to writing. I was wrong.
      Thank you for your prayers and keep them coming, I know they are being heard. Much appreciated. Judith

  3. Your daughter is fortunate to have such a loving mother who has helped her live a full life and will give her the will to battle on. Never give up. She would expect no less…

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