A Halibun – What is Happening to Me?

I am trying another first tonight. I am responding to Lillian at d’Verse’s prompt for Halibun Monday:   ‘Walk with me down Memory Lane’

Lillian gives instructions on how to do a memory exercise BEFORE writing the haibun. 

Get a few pieces of blank paper, have pen in hand, close your eyes for a minute and go back as far as you can in time… to your first memories not triggered by a photograph or by family lore. Maybe it’s what your very first house looked like. Maybe you suddenly remember your dad teaching you to ride your first bike. Or what your yard looked like – or the inside of your very best childhood friend’s house. Now for your haibun, pick one memory you’ve written down and relay it to us.

My story begins with an incident that was often relayed in my family. The problem with a family recounting, is that it is only from the adult’s perspective. The story goes, that one day, my mom returned from work and came into my room to check on me.  I shared a tiny bedroom with my little brother. I was three and he was one and a half. He was still in a crib. Mom went to the dresser to get me some baby aspirin because both my brother and I had a cold. The bottle was empty, so she asked the babysitter where the new bottle was. The sitter replied that it was on the dresser. My mother asked me if I had taken any of the medicine. I replied that I had eaten the entire bottle. According to my mother I explained that I wanted to get better faster so I took all of them. I was asked if I gave any to the baby. My answer was that no, I didn’t want to share.

From my point of view, I remember a lot of screaming and yelling between the sitter and my mom. (No 911 then)  I didn’t understand what was happening, so I cried. A neighbor came running in the house and my mom tossed me onto the car along with the sitter. I was on her lap and both were telling me not to go to sleep. I cried because I was scared and tired. The sitter started singing very loudly and I covered my ears. I was being jostled while sitting in her lap. (No car seats back then.)

We drove up to a big building and people in all white clothes grabbed me from the sitter. Words were exchanged and I was petrified. I thought I was being punished for eating all the baby aspirin. No one bothered to say anything to me. They just talked amongst themselves. I wanted my mom and cried for her. I kicked, screamed, and scratched to try and get out of their hands.  They were pinning me down. There were people all around me. They held down my legs, my arms, my chest, and my head. The next thing I knew they were shoving something down my throat. It hurt. I felt scared, especially when I was throwing up through a tube. (That’s what I thought was happening.)

I don’t know how much later it was, but I remember being in a huge bed. Once my mom came in I cried again. This time it hurt very bad when I cried. I had no idea what had happened or why. My mom comforted me and told me it was OK, but that I should never take any pills. Someone said I almost died. I was unable to swallow pills until I was in my thirties. 

Why am I hurting
What is happening to me
Just leave me alone



40 thoughts on “A Halibun – What is Happening to Me?

  1. WOW, Lauren. That is intense. This is a fantastic haibun of a horrible memory ~ that must have been so traumatizing.

    If you’re interested, you can share your haibun with the d’Verse community by clicking on this link: https://www.blenza.com/linkies/links.php?owner=dversepoets&postid=28Feb2021&meme=12489

    Also, you can follow the d’Verse page here: https://dversepoets.com/ … and every post there contains a prompt with a link similar to the one I shared with you above – that’s how you share your poetry with the other poets.


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  2. What an absolutely terrifying memory, for both you and your mother, no doubt! I was always terrified of my kids doing this, or eating a battery. I think they’re old enough to know not to now though. I do understand that parental feeling of total panic, sometimes it’s difficult to hide. When my son cut his head and needed stitches, I nearly fainted! The doctors were laughing at me…

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  3. How traumatic! That would be frightening as an adult so as a child afraid and feeling so alone it is so hard to fathom. I am so sorry you had to experience something like that.

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  4. WOW indeed! I liked that you first told the memory as it’s told in family lore…by adults. Yep. That’s usually the case. The aunts, the uncles, the parents, they share the memories of what happened with you as a child.
    But then to shift the perspective within your haibun to your memories of the same event….very powerful indeed. And traumatic. I can truly understand your fear of separation from your mother at this age….the noises and loud voices around you when you just wanted to sleep (but the adults fearing this would be your death if you slept). No wonderful you had a hard time taking pills until your thirties.
    I also had to smile, in the horror of all of this, the innocence of a young child who answers a parent’s question truthfully….No I didn’t give the baby any. I didn’t want to share.
    Quite as memory….so glad you posted! And I hope you’ll come back to dVerse often! We post prompts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays….they are always different.

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    1. Thank you. This was the first time I shared my true experience. It was not something anyone would like to go through. I would like to see more prompts. I don’t consider myself a poet, but I like to try new things.


  5. This is a horrifying story… I do remember something similar when I came home with blood on my clothes, and somehow my mother had the impression that I had eaten broken glass… I think I might have been going to the emergency room, but I think they figured out I never ate any glass…

    Welcome to dVerse, hope to see you around.

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  6. So glad you survived the aspirin but sorry the trauma of those memories are still with you. I remember those baby aspirin were orange and tasted like candy. It’s no surprise you thought they were.

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  7. What an awful experience, Lauren!

    When I was about five, my toddler sister swallowed half a large bottle of aspirin. It was Thanksgiving day and my father was out hunting while Mom took care of us three children and prepared Thanksgiving dinner. My mother couldn’t reach the Dr. or my father and my father had the car. My sister was unconscious. I remember rocking her in a little rocking chair and wiping her forehead with a wet cloth. Thankfully, she did recover, apparently without any ill effects. She is now 67.

    All the best! ❤

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