Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pardon my tears (Part Six)

I go to wake him. I believe this is a nightmare's continuance.

I wish I would wake up. I keep shaking my head. Is this a really bad dream?

He can't believe this is happening, But either. Has happened.

I begin making the phone calls... To his brother. No answer. To his brother's wife. She hands the phone to him, as I ask... Deep. Anguish. NOOOOOOO!!! "My mom?" "NOOOOOOO!!!!"

I then call another brother... This kills me deeply. I speak to him and tell him.

Quickly, we all get ready. I arrange to drop our 9-year-old at my mom's while we handle things at his mom's house. My other daughter and sister are going to continue on to the fundraiser... And again, we have to tell our youngest something crippling.

Remarkably, she handles it well. And I remember another ditty she said to us when we told her about her brother... She said to my husband, "You know what Mommy told me about Xanny, when Xanny died? She said it Xanny dying would prepare me for something much bigger. She was right."

Last December (less than a year ago!), our beloved family dog got really sick. We had been at our own house; it was raining outside; I had kept our pet in during a Girl Scout party. Several people brought younger children, in spite of the "rules" (Girl Scout and registered parent/adult). No worries, right? Wrong. I caught two very small children feeding my sweetheart chocolate (from the chocolate fountain... DARK chocolate from the chocolate fountain. Several. Times.) She (our dog) got really sick. Chocolate (especially DARK chocolate) is toxic to dogs. Since I didn't know exactly how much she had consumed, the vet said we'd just try to see if it passed. I hadn't taken her in right away, so the damage was already lurking... there was nothing we could do. And a little bit over a week later, she left us, howling her last breath at 3am.

I was devastated. We were all devastated. I still tear up, thinking about it...

But never in my mind, when I had to talk to our youngest did I believe I was preparing my child for the tragic death of her BROTHER! and then her GRANDMOTHER!

Bringing us back to the events here... As I leave the house, I get a text from a cousin of my husband... "Why is XXXX posting 'RIP mama' on Facebook?" [Ugh with the Facebook thing again... Granted, I just "posted" services for our son, utilizing the mass powers of Facebook and Instagram. Posting the final services for him and asking those who were tagged to pass it on to others that I may have forgotten or are not on my friends list, reaching out to as many people as possible, giving whoever would like to attend the opportunity to say their final good-byes... pay their respects... cry... have closure... whatever you'd like to call it. I consider myself a pretty fair and equal opportunity person...]

A response via text for this situation is not appropriate, in my mind. And so I make another phone call. During the conversation, it occurs to me most people ask how they can help. Holy Family! That's it. I've already been doing the whole phone call thing... I don't have that much in me now. "Please pass it along to your brothers and sisters, as well..." I ask when asked if she can help. Done.

Wonderful. Helpful family members are just that. Wonderful. I called other cousins and asked if they could do the same. We are almost to my mom's now... dropping off the youngest. My phone calls will probably continue the full ride, between conversations with my husband and bouts of tears. And they do.

We arrive at his mom's house (after dropping off the youngest). There are tons of people there. His mom is still there, lying there. Waiting for her ride away from home. After a couple of hours, the mortuary FINALLY comes. It is insane. People rush the house before she is even down the driveway.

My heart breaks. I cannot believe people are like this. I hustle people out. We will handle this later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pardon my tears (Part Five)

July 31 - He is gone. He is still on breathing machines. But... he is no longer with us. We've already said our good-byes and know there is nothing more than to bring deep sorrow on more. We all need to strengthen ourselves, as we know it's not the end. It never will be.

On Saturday, the harvest is over. It is done. The machines are no longer supporting him and he is released to the coroner. (So cold...)

There is a whole boatload full of emotional and verbal drama that happens when someone dies. Between the cremation versus burial and other final decisions, it really sucks. I sure couldn't imagine it all. But it happened to us/me. There is so much more when it is a blended family, it's impossible to fathom. And even without a blended family, when parents are divorced, if the other parent takes over... One gets left out. In the dark.

Sometimes, people cry for attention. They seem to make a death about them, and not the person who died. Of course... more drama ensues, and we all try to handle it. Emotions are raging. They are not pretty. And with all of our tear-stained faces, neither are we.

Skipping some of it... It seems like I am being biased or underspoken, I'm sure. Don't worry. I'm not. I just need (for me) to understand and know that some people may be reading this that are participants. No... they will never see themselves as monstrous or verbally abusive, or hateful, so I'll just go with this. I just don't want to stir up more drama NOW. So... we'll jump to a bit later, as I also don't want to re-stir up the anger and frustration within me again...

There have been fundraisers to support the final services... and I am preparing baked goods for a food fundraiser on Saturday, August 9th...

A little bit before 9am, my cell rings. It is the mom. I think, "I am rushing the best I can. Dang it. It doesn't even start until 2pm!!!" Only... She tells me I need to wake my husband; his mother has died.

Unbelievable. Only 9 days after his son. And now his mom? No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We haven't even had time to heal. And my heart breaks more.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pardon my tears (Part Four)

The girls aren't long either. We all quietly cry as we go back to the car... There just are no words.

There are questions. Questions that will never be answered. And for that... I have regrets. Now, we just wait.

We still have my youngest with us and my two nephews...

We are at the circus... It's supposed to be a happy time. A happy place. Before noon, texts start exploding on our phones. It is done. He has been pronounced. For the sake of the little kids with us... we clap. We try to smile. I can't wait to get outside again, so I can wear sunglasses... The tools that allow me to cry and not be seen.

[Why is it when someone dies, people run to Facebook? Let the families have privacy... Since July 26th, I am rarely on any type of social media. I don't want people to ask me questions. I am tired of repeating the same thing. Telling the same thing. It hurts. It's one thing to see/have the people directly involved (i.e. the parents or siblings) say something, but for everyone (including those who didn't/don't know the whole story) to just start bombing the social media world with private things... wow. Everyone grieves in a different way. I get it. But... for those that just post. to get attention. Or to  be the first to spread say something. Just. Wow. I don't get it.]

Now that he's really gone, it rips through me. It's hard to contain my grief. But I keep trying.

We decide it's best for everyone in our little group to not do anything else after the circus and just return to Mom's.

It's a really sad time. Only sad... just doesn't begin to describe the intensity of the feelings I have. I am at a loss. Not only at a loss for words. A loss of mind. A loss of heart. A loss of space. A loss of time. A loss of everything I feel like I've ever known. I don't know how I should feel. What's "acceptable".

It was pushed upon him that "I" was not his mother. For years. No. I did not give birth to him. This is true. I loved him just the same. I love each of my children unconditionally. Equally.

So... to hell with it. It is ok for me to feel this huge emotional void within me. It swells with anger sometimes. It swells with pain. It beats with a rhythmic emptiness that pumps itself up to devour me. I cry in anguish. I cry alone.

And I know it couldn't be worse. But I am wrong.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pardon my tears (Part Three)

My husband hasn't seen the doctor yet. But... he did ask a nurse why there were no longer restraints on our son. The nurse said simply, "He is comatose."

Wow. Thanks for letting us know (at the other hospital). Thanks for basically LYING to us. Thanks for... being chickenshit.

It's still July 30. I'm still waiting. We are back at my mom's now. I've already talked to some health professionals in my family who have prepared me for the worst.

The worst being... Drano is what it is. It's a corrosive acid. It destroys. Going down... it dissolved a lot... If you look at a bottle of Drano, it will tell you, "DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. CONTACT POISON CONTROL IF CONSUMED." Words to live by. Vomiting it up, probably destroyed what was left.

My husband comes. I have no words. It is the worst feeling ever.

When my dad had cancer and was terminal (1990's), we knew. We were as prepared as we could be. And it hurt. a lot.

When my husband's dad had cancer and was terminal (2004-2005), we knew. We were as prepared as we could be. And it hurt. a lot.

When this happens to our CHILD. My children's oldest BROTHER. A kid I've known since he was 9. A child I've loved since I've known him. A child who used to tell me "secrets" about his life (and I'd relay those to protect him). OUR CHILD, who is a part of our family. Part of our heart. Part of our lives.

My husband tells me it's decided. There is no brain activity. He has been comatose and will not come out of it. The machines will be turned off. And we will let him drift off... to... forever...

He did put that donor dot on his driver's license. (Thank you, Jr...) He will be a donor and will help someone else to live on.

My heart breaks. I am in immense pain. I have already told the adult children. We need to tell our 9-year-old.

She knows he is hurt and is fighting. She knows he drank something he shouldn't have. What do I tell a 9-year-old? There is no one to help us. The nurses at Kaiser have no answers. I race to the internet to help... I have so many questions of my own. "Did you MEAN to do this?" "WHY????" "Were you in pain?" "Were we not parents enough?" I realize I am turning it back to me... instead of what to tell her... our 9-year-old. I find information on not using words like "sleeping". Just be straight-forward and matter of fact in the gentlest way possible.

We tell her... it nearly kills us. And she shocks us by telling us she will help take care of us. She is hurt. But she knows her brother wouldn't want her to dwell. Her only request is to see him to say goodbye.

I am so lucky and thankful my brother and his wife have come (after their visit to our son) to tell their children, so I am not burdened with this, as well. Small favors are REALLY huge.

The next morning, there is no circus at Kaiser. Maybe because everyone already knows. Or maybe because we are here at 5:30 in the morning.

I speak to one of the nurses. I explain that his little sister would like to come and say goodbye. they refuse and tell me the rules are 12 and older ONLY. No exceptions. My baby doesn't get to say goodbye... My heart breaks for her.

The older girls, my sister and I have come without her. We go to say our goodbyes.  It is worse than last night. I can only stay a couple of minutes, as I begin to crack. I look at that face.

How horrible that everything within the past 16-1/2 years runs through me. I remember him hugging me. Asking me to stay. Wanting to know when he can see us again. I remember him fighting with me. Telling me he hated me. I remember him telling me he loved me. He told me thank you for his baby sister. He said thank you for everything I'd done. I remember the last two times we'd seen him.

Father's Day. Family Reunion. No. He did not seem happy. He seemed controlled by another. A puppet on a string. He was trying to please someone who couldn't be pleased. He was with us, but not with us. And that was the last we saw of him. A week after the Family Reunion, that fateful shot was taken. It wasn't alcohol. It was Drano.

I listen to the machines as they wheeze, breathe, and whine... He still looks the same. I reach out to hold his hand. It's so warm. How can this be happening?

The nurse walks up to my sister and I (Kaiser only allows two in at a time... hmmm...) and asks if we know the situation. We say, "Yes." She says, "Good. I just wanted to make sure." Nothing else was offered.

I listen again. I reach out to stroke his cheek. The stubble has grown in... I can take no more. I lower my head and kiss him on the cheek. I tell him, "I love you, Jr" and give him a hug. With tears pouring down my face, I walk out... and hear the steady humming, the rise and fall of the breathing machine, and the blips of the heart monitor... It is painful.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pardon my tears (Part Two)

If you just read my last post... you may think that I'm leading you on. Really, I'm not. You can ask anybody who really truly knows me. I don't do that.

I'm not trying to be cryptic. I'm just trying to be able to get it out. And my story makes me cry. I cry every time I think about it.

Getting back to the end of my (our) summer...

July 26th... It is a beautiful early morning. I've gotten up early to go to Summer Junior Olympics (me = swim ref/official). I get a call from one of my daughters (my husband's daughter, to be exact). She cries and tells me to wake up her dad, that she can't get ahold of him. His son (age 25) has consumed Drano, "a drunken accident" and is in the hospital. She and her mom are on their way.

OMG. A flurry of thoughts running through my mind. This shit destroys things. It eats unclogs drains. It devours takes care of clumps of hair, grease... anything blocking a drain.

And all the time, I'm calmly waking my sleeping husband. Bringing him his ultimate nightmare. Something tragic has happened. We are helpless.

I talk to him... tell him... We decide it is best for me NOT to go. The ex is always full of drama... has been for years, and never understands MY way of thinking. To me... it's not where they (children) come from. I love them all equally. And with this current situation, the less drama, the better the recovery.

I go on to the swim meet... keeping my phone open for updates. My senior meet official has been notified and is very understanding. I can leave whenever I need to. (The  people I work with on a pool deck are all family to me. We encourage and support each other in every way, shape, and form. I feel very loved on a pool deck.)

Update at noon... He is subdued. They have given him medication to help him heal. (We have also found out that he (son) decided, "This shit tastes nasty!" and induced his own vomiting. [OMG! Don't tell me this!!! It just makes my vision and thoughts worse!] He is now in ICU, and they will check on him frequently.

A whole boatload of people is there. They are constantly going in and out of his room. No... not just immediate family. Like EVERYONE. This makes my decision NOT to go even more substantiated.

My feeling on ICU... I've been there. Really truly. Even though I was "unconscious", I could hear EVERYTHING. It was hard to get sleep. Hearing everybody talk. The whispers were just as loud. So were the footsteps. I used to think, "Just go away, so I can sleep!!!!" So... to me, ICU means LEAVE THE PATIENT ALONE SO HE OR SHE CAN RECUPERATE. Yep. That about says it, leaving out the expletives which if you know me... are really in there at least a couple of times. I don't believe ICU should be a circus.

The patient has been through enough drama and doesn't need more. Look at it this way... If you are sick, maybe you have a cold. It gets a little worse. You start taking medicine for it. It gets a little better... slowly. But... you take a nice long-and-restful sleep. And voila! You're almost back to new! You needed the rest. Your body, mind and soul needed it all. And that's what helped make you better. Right?

And so... If EVERYONE is there and keeps going in and out... they are NOT contributing to the patient's healing. And can, in fact, be making it much worse.

I want him to heal. To get better. To open his eyes and see us all.

Every day... we hear different things. I finally tell my husband NOT to listen to anyone else, but the doctor. I am tired of all the non-professional conclusions. People giving false information. It is aggravating and makes me feel anxious. It comes with ups and downs. So... I will no longer listen to what other people are telling him. Only the doctors. I'm going crazy with all of the speculation and pretense. Ugh!!!!

My husband continues to go everyday. My mother-in-law asks my husband when I'm coming. He tells her my opinions of visitors in the ICU (see above). [Don't get me wrong. I really do care about our son. I refuse to be part of the dramatic circus. If there were less people there, and they only allowed immediate family to go in... I'd go.] The hospital in Huntington Park allows the circus to continue. So I won't be part of it. My MIL tells my husband she is afraid what others might say.

Me? I don't give a crap what everybody else thinks and says. I already know what people do... they make it about THEM. Not about the patient. If they did make it about the patient, um... they wouldn't bug the patient. Duh.

And there is hope. "They" haven't told us anything different. We are waiting for an open bed at a Kaiser facility. "They" tell us he is sedated to help him heal and so his pain is bearable.

We've learned some other things. Alcohol and an argument were involved. Most everyone blames the girlfriend. I'd say more, but... I only know one side of things. I do know that ANY time he was with us (i.e., Father's Day, Family Reunion, etc.), the girlfriend chose not to come. And then... she would call and text him all. the. time. She did not let him be with his family. And the phone calls. She would yell (yes. I heard her voice!) and threaten to end "it" if he didn't do what she asked. Two specific days of time he was supposed to be with his family (to which she could have come, mind you...). Two days of nagging. The only two days we see him in the past month...

July 30... in the wee hours of the morning... He is transferred to a Kaiser facility in Downey. Yay!!!!

I'm now at my mom's. We are trying to go about as much as "normal" for the younger kids. And we had a staycation planned for all of my mom's grandchildren. The oldest two (one in the hospital now, and one staying vigil) had declined many of the things we are going to do. It is Wednesday... and we are laying on the grass at Soak City... I am constantly checking my phone. The doctor is wants to talk to my husband and his ex. I feel ill. But I am faking it.

I wait... and wait...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pardon my tears...

This summer (at least towards the end), was the worst summer of my life. So much... and it seems so long ago. People often ask me questions. And it's really hard for me to answer them.

Sometimes, I do... and sometimes I morph into this cold person. Emotionless. Spewing out facts and things that actually happened. It's the only way I can seem to not do the other thing I do.

Sometimes I do... and sometimes I shed waterfalls of tears and can't get through a complete sentence without heaving. I know nobody can understand me when I do this.

So I try really hard to do the first one. I don't care what anybody thinks (about this)... what anybody says... or how anybody might see me. I know who I am. I know I am a loving, caring person. I know that I still love. and I still care.

Everyday, life changes. We often don't see it. It's subtle... like a soft erosion of the water to the earth. It laps and laps... and we think it's soft and cute. And then we notice a itty bitty difference. Where did that patch of grass go? Wasn't it greener last year? No matter how much we want it to stop, it just keeps going. Before we know it, there are more changes.

And that is life. And I cry...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

MamaKat's Losin' It - Writing Prompt: 4.) Share your top favorite photo you took in June. Give us the back story.

I took so many photos in June, both on the phone and the camera. It was really hard to determine my favorite. Wonderful moments are forever imprinted in the digital realm and bring me emotion... joy... wonder... fun... I cannot believe half my summer is gone already. Seems like yesterday we were out of school...

And since I've mentioned "school"... Marissa continues to thrive at school. Having just finished 3rd grade, she works extremely hard for her end-of-the-year reward. Her favorite place in the world (and where she'd like to spend the rest of her life working...) is Sea World San Diego. For Perfect Attendance and Straight A's... she gets the privilege of swimming with the dolphins.

This year, after getting a little bit smarter... We reserved a weekday. Yes. The weekday is much less "busy" than the Saturday we normally reserve. The pools aren't so crowded, and the groupings (people assigned to a trainer and dolphin) are much smaller. Definitely more bang for the buck.

Frequenting Sea World as we do, relationships are formed and bonds are made with the dolphins and trainers. If only she could do this every time. Unfortunately, my wallet can't afford it.

Without further ado (and because my mind can't seem to focus and it's bouncing all over the place)...

Following the writing prompt at MamaKat's Losin' It, my "favorite" photo is (can I get a drum roll please...)
 
It may not be the best photo... it was a quickie shot that I saw my daughter totally delighted and partnered up with this dancing dolphin. (I'm sure my husband got a pretty good shot from the other side...) I love the blue (happens to be my fave color!). And the vastness of the water itself (representative of our massive ocean!). My daughter has her hair up (which is a rarity in itself, as she a "hair-down" kind of girl. She didn't want it up... but after a brief little battle, explaining her hair would be all over her face, and she would miss out on a lot of her treasured time (it is only an hour...) moving it from her face, she finally acquiesced. To say that she had the time of her life (even better than last year!) is the least that could be said. This brief glimpse into the face and play of a child makes me feel happy, just looking at it.
 
So far... her dream for next year's reward is the same. Swimming with the dolphins again. It's sure to be even better than these past two years!
 
Since I'm coming from MamaKat's, please leave some comment love... and visit her site to see the many many writer's! And thanks!
 
*** just a note... the links aren't open yet, so once they are, I will change the links!