This story actually starts a few days before that.
(Background info - My mom had been sick with cancer and then had open heart surgery so my grandmother had been staying with her to help take care of her. My uncle, Darrell, had moved back home with my grandmother for a bit as well but since she was usually at Mom's house, he was home by himself a lot).
I was working at the daycare when my boss came in and told me that there was a police officer at the front desk that needed to talk to me. (Luckily, I was working with family and they knew I wasn't a criminal.) I went out front and saw that she wasn't kidding, there was a lady that said she was a friend of my uncle & cousin who both work for the state police. I believe my grandmother or uncle had been trying to get ahold of Darrell with no luck. So, my uncle Ronnie went over to my grandmothers to see if he was there and found my uncle unresponsive. I will spare you the details, as I never really asked myself, but I know it was messy and he was in bad shape. He ended up in the hopsital and like I said, it wasn't good. He was on life support (I believe, sorry but this time is just sort of fuzzy to me.).
It was in February a couple days before my mom's birthday when they found him and she had had a round of chemo that morning so they were worried about her being at home by herself. The police officer told me that someone said Mom was watching somebody's kid and they didn't want her to be there alone so would I go over to her house to help her. I knew that didn't sound right. Mom's cancer had returned to her lung and she had a horrible time catching her breath at this point and couldn't get down and play with her favorite people in the world, her grandsons, so I knew she wouldn't be offering up to babysit anyone else's kids. I decided to call her just to make sure and she told me she wasn't keeping anyone and that she was fine, I didn't need to come over. My uncle is quite the worrier and he sent the officer over to drive me to Mom's which was literally across the highway from where I was working because it had snowed. Hahaha, that is so him! I told the police lady I would go over after work and it was fine I could drive myself. She went on her way and I went back to work. After a couple minutes, Mary Jean (my boss and cousin??) came in the room and told me that I should go over to Mom's. I was never so glad that I listened to her that day.
I left Aiden at school and went over to Mom's and her and I got to spend the rest of the afternoon together, chatting when she could or letting her rest. I made her a grilled cheese for lunch and she actually ate the whole thing, which wasn't usual at this point. I was about 7 months pregnant at this time and she knew that I really wanted to stay home with the kids once this little one was born. While I was making her lunch I remember her telling me that she didn't want to have to leave us, but at least she knew once she was gone we would be getting some money that would help us to make that happen and that made her feel really happy. While I was there I kept asking if she wanted me to take her up to the hospital to see Darrell and she kept telling me no, that she was okay. (It was like she knew she was going to see him again soon anyway.)
On Mom's birthday, February 16th, my Uncle Darrell passed away.
Fast forward two days to February 18, 2010. I was back at work again feeding the babies in the infant room when Mary Jean and the secretary, Roe, both came into the room. Mary Jean quietly told me that she wanted me to get my jacket and purse and get ready to leave. I made some joke I'm sure and I remember Roe grabbing my hand and telling me that she loved me. Okay, now my stomach dropped and I was freaking out.
I got my stuff and headed out to the lobby and who do I see? The same police officer again. I think I said something along the lines of, "You again? You've got to be kidding me?" I don't remember exactly but I'm sure it wasn't the most polite thing to say. I couldn't figure out why she was there because Darrell had passed away 2 days ago. She began to tell me that Mom had just gotten home from chemo and had collapsed. That my grandmother and Uncle Wayne were there and Wayne had to do CPR and they called for an ambulance. She said that Mom was on her way to the hospital and they had to incubate her, which meant she wasn't breathing on her own. She said she was driving me to the hospital because she could get me there way faster than I could on my own.
My husband was working up in Maryland that day and I called him and told him what was going on and to get to the hospital asap. I then called my sister. When I was talking to her I think it hit me just how serious this situation was and I started to freak out. I told her to leave work immediately and come down.
With lights and siren blaring the officer and I got to the hospital just after Mom and the doctors took us to a private waiting room. Private waiting rooms are never good. If things are gonna be okay, they'll stick you out front with everyone else. When things are serious, you get secluded in the back. I tried to convince myself that we were in the back because there were so many of us there. All my aunts and uncles, cousins and spouses, and my in-laws were there. We all tried to distract each other with small talk but we all knew what we were thinking. Eventually the doctors came in and told us some things that honestly, are all kinds of fuzzy in my head...I think she had heart failure or a heart attack or something like that and then she was bleeding from her lung, I think. When you're in the situation, you don't really hear a whole lot that they're saying. I informed the guy that she was on blood thinners because she had had blood clots before and from his reaction to that, I knew it was bad.
They let us go in and see Mom and I feel like she was already gone. The machines were there doing everything for her.
And she had no wig on. Oh my goodness. She would have been so angry to know they were letting everyone come in and see her and they didn't cover up her head! I remember thinking that that day too and it made me smile.
After awhile of sitting with her, the doctor came in to tell us that she was pretty unstable and could have another "heart attack" or whatever it was and they needed to know if we wanted them to act or not. I knew 100% that she did not want to be on life support ever. When she ended up in the hospital earlier she had a bracelet on that said DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) and she had told my husband and I this several times as well. When the doctor informed us that it was less than a 5% chance that she would come back, we had to make the decision. I knew the decision was already made, even though I wanted with all my heart for them to bring her back, she had told me what she wanted and I had to respect that. We informed the doctors we were going to stop everything and let her go.
It's silly but the whole time one thing that really upset me is that I never got to tell her that we were naming our baby girl, who I was pregnant with at the time, Emma Cheryl (Cheryl after my mom). I did tell her when we were there with her, but like I said we I got there, I just felt she was already gone.
We left the room and the doctors unhooked everything and after a couple minutes we were let back inside to sit with her for as long as we wanted/needed to. It's really strange, on tv shows you see the doctors in with them watching the clock and announcing the time of death. None of that went on. There was one nurse that stayed in toward the back, but the machines were all quiet and I kept watching one, that I think had her pulse or something and it never really went to 0 that I saw, so I don't really know when she officially crossed over.
I will say that even though she had to go, I brought me great comfort knowing that she wasn't in pain anymore and I know she was in a lot though she would never have admitted that. And I knew that she was finally reunited with my stepdad and love of her life, Kevin. Knowing that helped me get through. I knew she was so ready to be with him again and I know that everyday her and Kevin are both watching down on us.
So yes, 2 years ago, February 18th, was a day that changed my life forever. It was a day that one of my best friends, the very best mother and Nana in the world was taken from us way too soon. I miss her more than words can say and there is not a day that goes by that she doesn't cross my mind. I look forward to the day when I get to see her again, hopefully it's not anytime soon, but I can't wait!
|Darrell, Wayne, Mom, Ronnie|
|Mom & Kevin|
|Mom, Me, & Christy|
|Jace, Mom, & Aiden|