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Posts tagged ‘peace’

Little Girl Lost, Part 2

It’s unbelievable that time has gone by in what seems so fast.   March 23rd, 2004 was the most heart wrenching moment I would have to ever face, so I thought.  That was the day my mom died.  There are moments in life when it seems like it was just a few days ago and at times it seems like a lifetime ago.  I miss her incredibly and at times I’m not even sure what that means.   But, today…..today really sucked.  For the past seven years on this day, I would go sit next to my dad and he would give me a hug.  He didn’t care if I cried.  So, today it’s really him that I am missing.

I get a little confused in my head sometimes when I remember the moment of my grandmother’s death and how my mom told me, as I watched her cry, that one day I would understand when she was gone how much harder it was to lose your mom.  I think maybe she wasn’t as lucky to have such an awesome dad like I did. I don’t know since he died the week before I turned one.  Then of course there are the family stories and if any of that is true, I definitely got the better parent!

It’s also hard because I’ve fought back and forth between the sadness and the peace.  I miss my dad so incredibly much that my heart breaks just like it did when she died.  I sometimes would feel guilty after he died with all of the “what-ifs.”

December 9th, 2016……I stood in the hallway as they rolled my dad back for surgery.  I couldn’t even look at him.  After sitting in the same waiting room as I had the day before, I recall being quite irritated with the priest from his church but let him say the prayer for my dad anyway.  I didn’t understand why he couldn’t stay and was not in a place to argue that he should stay and my dad would be out of surgery soon.  Didn’t he get what I had just been through?  Thank goodness Jen was there to help deal with him or I might have punched that priest.

After the surgery, we followed him back down the long hallway to the next building.  It was there that I couldn’t go to him, as they wheeled him into that room.  Finally, I stood there long enough for the doctor to say something.  I then went in and all I could say was “I’m sorry.”  I cried.  I cried because how could I do this to him? How could I cause him pain? This isn’t what we discussed.  This wasn’t what was written on the DNR paperwork.  This wasn’t how it was suppose to happen.  But then yet it was…….

There was no way I could go with losing another parent and not having them tell me they love me.  I understand my mom was in so much pain.  I knew dad was in pain.  I was so sorry they pounded on his chest and shocked him back to life.  And now, now he had a tube down his throat to breathe for him.  I looked in his eyes and asked if he knew how much I loved him.  He nodded yes.  He held my hand and squeezed it.  I looked at him with such sadness looking back at me.  I was so sorry.  I didn’t know what to say or what to do.  I worked really hard to keep coming to see him over the next two days as much as I could.

Monday, I got word that he had been extubated.  I didn’t know he was going to be on the full face mask but he was.  He tried to talk to me a little.  I still hadn’t heard what I needed to hear.  He encouraged me to go to work and to go home the last two days so I could be with Alice.  I stayed with him a while and held his hand.  After I left, it was only a couple of hours later, I got a call…… Med City said the caller ID.  My heart sank.

The doctor told me not to drive myself.  I ran through the house getting dressed and out the door to the neighbors to have them watch Alice.  I couldn’t yell any more than I did at Cary to drive faster.  Once there, I jumped from the car and ran, ran like dad couldn’t run, yelling “Oh my God” the whole way to the 4th floor and through the waiting room, past a blur of other families standing there……  For the next 15 hours I sat next to his bed.

When I first ran into his room, he looked at me with such intensity in his eyes and told me, “My time is short.”  Over the next couple of hours I sat watching him.  I would try to lie down in the waiting room for a little bit off and on but just got back up and went next to his bed.  At one point, he was swirling his finger around and said, “light.”  I asked him over and over during this time if my mom was there.  He would shake his head no.  He did the same when I asked if grandma or grandpa was there.  It was when I asked him if Jesus was there that he shook his head yes.  I felt such relief and peace with knowing this.  It wasn’t until later that I realized in talking with someone I trust with all my heart that yes my mom was there….. she was part of the light.

It was early morning and another wonderful soul who is like a mother to me showed up to be with me.  She stayed right by my side until his last breath.  I don’t know how she knew I needed her but I did and she was there.

In all of what seemed to be the chaos of those last moments, I would say have no regrets.  But I did for a moment.  I left him lying in that room when it was over with his mouth open and for whatever reason that bothered me.  Maybe because it was a reminder that he had lost a tooth and we had not taken the time nor spent the money to have his other teeth pulled.  But, he had been so stubborn and I wasn’t really sure knowing with his medical history he would have made it through the surgery.  Hadn’t I been taking care of the other doctor appointments?  I had tried.  Maybe I felt guilty that we didn’t go the cardiologist sooner than we had.  Maybe the shame of feeling like I didn’t do enough to take care of him after I had promised my mom I would.  I don’t know.  It was all so overwhelming at times.  But, I know that I could only stand there and hold his hand….this man who held me as a baby, carried me when I was little, taught me about life, took care of me, and loved me unconditionally……. was gone.  Just like that…..no more heartbeat no more breathing no more moments no more……..

It took many hours that morning, days later and even weeks later to realize that I did everything I was suppose to do.  I let him have his dignity.  I let him make the choice to stop the medicine pumping his heart and let him choose to stop the oxygen mask.  And that, as his daughter, was all I could do.  I’m still sorry for any pain I caused…..that will take some time to heal.

But, after his mask came off, I heard it.  I heard him say, “I love you too.”  And that was what I needed.  As selfish as it may have been, I needed that.

I miss him…… a lot.

Damn it’s been awhile

Where does one even start after over a year?  Well, I can say that 2016 was a good year when it started.  In fact it wasn’t until Halloween that it really began to suck…..and I had no idea what was in store.

That night when ghosts and ghouls come out to play, I received a phone call on my way home from work.  My best friend from high school was on the phone in a panic. She had left her mother earlier that day sitting on the couch after taking her to a doctor’s appointment.  She was not able to get up.  She called Jen for help.  I told her to call the doctor that she had the cell phone number to and see what he said.  She called back saying she was calling 911 and going to the ER.  I told her after I fed the people showing to my house and spent a few minutes with Alice, I would be right there.  It was then that I would learn so much in the next few days.  I realized in that moment in the ER that Rosemary was not coming home.  It felt like a slap….that nurse so easily giving her the IV with the morphine had just given up.  Who the hell was she that she was giving up on Jen’s mom.  This lady was more than that…..she put up with me as a teenager on those long Saturday nights.  She gave me the name Spaz.  She would make us the best snickerdoodle cookies ever!  She treated me like another daughter.  So, who the hell was this nurse to give up on her?  My head was spinning.  I took care of Jen the rest of the evening and into the early morning.  I went back the next day and the next.  It was that Wednesday when we were telling Rosemary goodbye, I heard her tell Jen, “I love you.”  That made my heart feel better and I hoped Jen heard it.  In the midst of all of this my dad had just come home from being gone for a month or more to see his family. I told him I was sorry I wasn’t around but by Thursday we got the news that Jen’s mom wasn’t going to make it through the weekend, as her organs were shutting down.  It was Friday night.  I told Jen I had to go to dinner with my family.  I cried all the way home.  I knew it wouldn’t be long.  I knew the posture of that nurse as she stood over her.  I was watching Rosemary’s sats and knew what was coming……..  I tried not to cry at dinner.  We went to Red Lobster and I ordered the crab legs, a place I celebrated Easter with Jen and her mom in 1988 and where they taught me about crab legs and hot butter (still one of my favorites!).   Afterwards, I went back to the hospital to be with Jen.  I finally told her it was time to go and take care of mom’s dog, Petey.  She did and of course as soon as Jen left, Rosemary’s sats started to drop quickly.   I called Jen to hurry back.  I had helped make the decision to increase the oxygen to include a face mask.  I tried to warn Jen of how her mom looked and it was too much for her.  She asked me to make phone calls and I did.  I stood with her and her mom’s friend of 67 years, dear sweet Iris while she took her last breath. That nasty word, Cancer, took her.   I don’t know what I expected in that moment.  But, there was a strange sense of peace……there was no sound, no pain, no screaming,…..nothing.  I knew what God’s plan was exactly in that moment.  God was preparing me for losing my dad.  I knew that if I could handle this and she was like a mom, I could handle my dad’s passing someday.  I just would never have imagined that day……would be so soon.

Sounds, sounds, sounds……

It’s funny how a sound can induce all kinds of emotions. It seems these “sounds” have been a lot louder lately. I’ve been on a little journey lately that has taken me to some interesting spaces. I first encountered this a few weeks ago when dad’s friend past away. I swear for about a week afterwards I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that some of his presence was all around…not even him as a whole person. I don’t know if this had to do with the suicide or where he was on his spiritual journey when he died. I do know that I am beyond thankful for the prayer circle I had with Dr. Rachael to help send him on his way. And, yes he has not been back to bother me lately. But, I did open some door. Not sure to where. I know during our prayer, I left for a bit into a tunnel that felt like a tunnel of light running parallel to this world. This door opened a path for others. Here come the sounds. Something I am not used to at all. I can handle seeing. I don’t want to be touched. Sounds are new for me and I have to say I was startled. The only person that has spoken to me is my mom but not since the night she died. It was not threatening or seemed harmful with it’s deep “hello.” But, I pulled out the prayer and said it again (a few times just to make sure) and have been sound free ever since.

Then there’s a time you wish you could hear certain sounds……

Yesterday was 10 years that my mom has been gone. I miss hearing her voice and her laugh. I know every once in a while I hear it whispered in my ear, as if the wind is blowing her spirit by me quickly just to have that moment of peace. I know for certain that she was around yesterday. It seems the “spirit voices” have been making themselves known in new ways. However, yesterday there was something very familiar with the sound that gently sang out from the speakers in the large room. All of a sudden sitting at lunch, I hear the quiet deep voice of Judy Garland singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I knew it was my mom’s little way of saying, “Hey, I’m still here with you, especially today.” I knew instantly she was around. It was funny that I thought to myself how she didn’t have a TV to turn on for me like she’s done before. The room grew colder and there was a sense of peace. I know this is her way. She loves Judy Garland and I hope that she has had many opportunity to sing and dance with her. I am so blessed that she has graced me with her presence more than a few times these past 10 years. I hope that I will always continue to feel her when I need her.