No. This couldn't be happening. Not to my baby boy. As I walk down the cold white halls of the Boston Hospital, I remember the terrified phone call I had received from my son Cody just an hour before.
"Hello?" I could hear someone sobbing on the other end "Hello? Who is this?"
"Mom" Cody stopped to take a deep breath in an attempt to steady his voice "Mom, Something's wrong with Zack"
"What?! What happened? Where are you?"
"I'm at the Boston General Hospital. Mom, the doctor said that Zack" Then Cody completely lost it "The doctor says that Zack overdosed! They don't know if he's goanna make it" Overdosed? Zack? I am a horrible mother! I dropped the phone and ran out the door.
End of Flashback
When I walked into my son's hospital room, I saw Cody clinging to his brother as if he thought that if he let go, Zack would die. For the past 2 years, Zack and Cody haven't been on speaking terms because Zack got arrested again and Cody had to bail him out again. Cody told Zack that he was done with him and that he would never speak to him again. Cody looked like he hadn't slept in days so I silently and gently walked over to him and shook him
"Cody? Cody sweetie? It's mom, wake up" Cody moaned and stirred and looked up at me blearily "Mom?" I smiled sadly at him "Yeah honey it's mom, come on sweetie come lay on this empty hospital bed and you can get some rest" Cody moaned and slowly stood up with my help
"But…Zack…" Cody yawned and laid down on the bed "He needs me"
"I know honey, but Zack will be fine. You just rest now" I said as I stoked his forehead gently
Zack looked so small, hooked up to at least 20 tubes and wires. As I held his hand in mine, it reminded me of the day he was born. I had to have an emergency C-section because the doctor's told me that Baby A (Zack) was in distress and was smaller than he should be. It took them an hour to prep me for surgery and in all that time I hadn't felt Zack move once and his favorite hobby was kicking Cody! It felt like forever before the doctor announced that Zack had been born, but he didn't cry. Then, 2 minutes later Cody came out and he screamed. The moment the doctor told me I was well enough; I went down to NICU to check on my boys. They both looked so tiny, but Zack….Zack looked like he could fit in my palm and Oh how I longed to have him there.
A few days later, I was in the NICU, as usual and the doctor came in with a clip board that made me nervous.
"Mrs. Martin?" I stood up hurriedly and waited anxiously for him to tell me if my babies were goanna be alright or not
"Yes? How are my boys?" I could feel my heart hammering in my chest as I waited for his response
"Yes, well Cody is actually healthy enough that you could take him home. He has gained 1 and a half pounds and is breathing on his own " I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders but then I remembered Zack and the panic was back "However, Zachary isn't making any progress it looks like he has gained only half an ounce and his lungs are still severely under developed. I'm sorry Mrs. Martin, but we don't expect him to live out the week" My chest tightened and I felt like I couldn't breathe.
"My baby….Is going to die?" I said as I slowly sat back down in the seat next to Zack's incubator
"I'm sorry Mrs. Martin. We've done everything we could" I almost didn't hear him from the sounds of the sobs racking my body
"Can I…..Can I touch him?" I heard the doctor sigh sadly
"Of course" I back away and let the nurse open the incubator so I could put my hands inside. Once it was open, The doctors and nurses left me alone with my sons
"Hello baby" I said stroking his soft little cheek "I love you so much Zachary, you've got to pull through this ok? I love you so much my precious boy. Don't worry sweetheart, momma's here. Oh lord I can't lose you baby I just can't" I broke down and laid my head on my arm when all of a sudden I felt a little squeeze on my pinky finger. I shot my head up and noticed that Zack was holding on to my finger! "Oh Zack! Sweetie! My precious boy!" then he made the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. He was crying! My tears were automatically turned to tears of joy and in that moment I knew that my baby boy would be alright.
My mind flashed back to the present, and I found that I was squeezing Zack's hand too hard. I immediately let go and composed myself as I said in a soft, sad voice "I love you so much Zachary" Then I started crying all over again until I heard a moan from Cody
"Zack…." Cody was sleep talking again. He always did that when Zack was hurt. I remembered the 1st time he did this.
The boys were 6 years old and were playing in the park and I was watching them as best I could. About 15 minutes later, Bob and his parents came over to play with the boys. Well, I got distracted talking to Bob's mother and didn't notice Zack climbing a tall tree until Cody came over crying.
"Mommy, Mommy!" I ran over to him and knelt down to hear what he needed.
"What's wrong Cody? Where's Zack?" The frantic little boy spoke so fast I almost didn't understand him but I heard enough to be worried out of my mind.
"Zack has an owie! He's crying and his leg is all busted!" My eyes shot wide open and I took off toward my hurt older boy.
"Oh no, Zack! Zack are you ok sweetie?" when I came over, Zack was on the ground clutching his leg and crying very loudly which, unlike when he was born, was not a good thing. "Oh honey what happened huh?" I picked him up and walked over to the nearest bench "Where does it hurt Zackie?" He pointed to his leg and continued to sob "Oh no. Ok Zack, we are goanna get in the car and go see Dr. Zimmerman alright?" His leg was broken! And I was no doctor but from what I could tell it was pretty severe. "Cody! Come one sweetie we gotta go now!"
"Is Zack alright Mommy?" said my sensitive, sweet little boy
"Yeah baby he's fine, we just gotta see the doctor now ok? Come on" I hurried to the car and got the boys in their car seats. Zack cried the whole time which made me nervous. On the way, there was a red light and I looked over my shoulder at the twins and what I saw almost made me want to cry. Cody was holding Zack's hand, crying and saying "It's ok Zack, It's ok brother. I love you". When we got to the hospital and Zack was having his leg put in a cast, Cody fell asleep and started mumbling
"Zack….no…" and Cody continued to sleep talk, every time Zack was hurt. I held him for about another hour until the doctor came in with Zack in a wheel chair.
"Hi Mommy!" Zack said excitedly and I smiled down and my tough boy
"Zack did very good and can go home now." I sighed in relief kneeled down by the wheel chair but I still had to make sure he knew not to climb trees that high again.
"Zachary Martin, do you know how much more hurt you could have been? You could have even gotten your brother hurt! What do u say to mommy?" Zack all of a sudden wrapped his arms around my neck and said
"I'm sorry mommy, I didn't mean to!" I pulled away slightly so I could look at him and continued
"Do you promise not to do that again?" He smiled at me and his blue eyes shone as he said
"I promise mommy! I won't do that anymore" I smiled slightly and kissed his cheeks and forehead
"Good. Because I would like both my boys in one piece please"
My mind came back to the present when I felt slight pressure on my hand, my head shot up and looked into the deep blue eyes of my older twin. To my surprise, he had tears in his eyes.
"Oh Zack! Ssshhh sh sweetheart, I'm here. I love you so much baby" I said as I stood up and pulled his head to my chest and cradled it. Zack continued to cry for quite a while and I held him, when he got himself together, I called in a doctor who said he would need rehab but that he should be fine. In that moment I didn't see my great big 20 year old son, I saw my weak, tiny 4 day old baby boy who just needed to be held by his mommy. Zack came home a week later and the beginning symptoms of withdrawals were showing up. I didn't know how we would deal with those. That type of pain wasn't the kind that a mother can just kiss away. One night I woke up to the sound of Zack screaming, but not because of a nightmare. I wasn't ready to deal with this; I wasn't ready to see him like that. I stopped behind at his door and took a deep breath. I was about to walk in when I heard Cody talking to Zack.
"Sssshhh Zack. Come on buddy, you can do this, wait it out Zack, it'll pass" I opened the door a crack to see Cody, with Zack's head resting on his shoulder. Cody's head was leaned up against the headboard with tears streaming down his face, holding his brother tightly and wiping the sweat from his forehead. I swear I only blinked when, my 20 year old twin boys were suddenly just 6 year olds and then, when Cody spoke again I heard that sweet, tiny voice he had when he was 6 and not the deep voice he has now when he said softly and tiredly "I'm here Zack. It's ok brother. I love you" And I felt my chest tighten and I headed back to bed and that night I fell asleep to the sweet sounds of my little boys comforting each other just like they did when they were 6.
It's been a month. Zack has been clean for a month, he has stopped screaming in the middle of the night and has actually been sleeping. One day, I was making breakfast and I heard the boy's door open. It was Zack. He made his way slowly to the kitchen table and sat down quietly with his head down. I heard him sigh, get up and walk over to me. I turned around to see once again, my 6 year old little boy with tears in his eyes.
"I'm sorry Mom" He said, clutching to me for dear life "I'm sorry mom, I will never do that again, I promise mom, never again. I will never put you through that again" I clutched him back and kissed is sweet head.
A lot of my friends have told me that I should put Zack away or that he should be sent to jail and stay there. A lot have said that I would be better off if he ran away. But no matter what they say, no matter what they think, No matter what he does, he will always be my baby boy. No, In that moment, I didn't see my grown up, recovering drug addict son, I saw my scared, hurt, 6 year old little boy who just needed his Mommy to hold him and I did.
"It's ok Zack. It's ok, baby" I ushered him to sit on the couch. We sat down and his head was on my shoulder. Suddenly, I thought of an old song that I used to sing to the boys when they were little and I sang to him, to let him know all was forgiven.
"I'll love you forever
I'll Like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be"