I got the call on Thursday as I was coming home from work. In the midst of the bustle which is getting four kids into the house, dinner on the table and directions to the sitter the phone rang and I saw it was my Mom. My first thought was “really right now?” but I picked it up anyway because, well its my Mom and we are not super close so she must have a reason. Her sentence hit me way to hard:
“Honey I am calling because E is in the hospital, on life support and for all intent and purpose dying”
It was weird how quiet the house got suddenly, how the room started to spin and nothing logical seemed to come out of my mouth. E is my brothers Godmother and been more then a second Mom to me for my entire life. My Mom relayed I was to come at once go to the hospital without delay and pay my last respects. Did I mention I am three hours away from my parents, its Easter weekend and I have kids in care who I cannot just take with me because it is a different state. I should also say it is 6pm so no I cannot get there immediately.
The next morning is a flurry of phone calls and co ordinations. My boss is excellent and lets me cut loose after I finish the project due Monday. M&M Little Man’s favorite people agree to respite so off they go and I drive home with my two. I have to explain death, the concept of heaven and the concept of a soul enroute to the hospital. I feel overwhelmed and insignificant right now as I yet again prep myself for what might be seen at the hospital. I hate that I know what this will be like but it is not my first trip down this road. My mind races to my brother who will meet me at the hospital. He has not done this before, my grandmothers died when he was young and he was not required to go to the hospital as I was when they got ill. I play a hundred scenarios in my mind not knowing how he is going to act/feel. I know he loved E too maybe more then me so none of this would be easy.
We meet and my bro looks scared out of his mind. I hug him tight and take his hand. He stands about 8 inches taller then me but he seemed so small right then I felt bad. I tell him some basics based on what I know, I take a deep breath and walk ahead of him into the room. My Dad will stay with the girls in the waiting room. My kids don’t know E and my Dad is not considered family in their eyes so they won’t let him in. Its complicated to explain but only my brother, my mother and I are considered family by E’s family of origin.
E was in the bed and looked so tiny. It was hard to see her like this and as I looked around the room I knew it was all bad. I can read equipment enough to know what is bad and all the numbers I saw were bad my poor brother looked dazed and confused. E jerked periodically in the bed and my brother asked if she was awake. I explained that it was muscle spasms and no she was not alert BUT that she might be able to hear so DON’T say anything you would not want her to hear. He just cried and said “But it seems like she is here” I held his hand and squeezed it, I was not sure if she was here or not but I did not hold out hope she was, it looked to grim. We talked to her for awhile but nothing changed. We told her we loved her, kissed her and went back to the waiting room. My kids pegged me with a half a million questions and I fought tears, it was morbid curiosity and my friend is not a show!! But no they needed to know this was their first death experience and hospital trip so someone had to explain it all. Time for big girl panties to be pulled on.
Saturday E took a turn for the worst and while we were there the doctor said what I had suspected all along “persistent vegetative state” The family cried and my brother did too. I did not as my mother made it CLEAR that my role was to support the family and my brother. Did I mention I hate family roles? We talked a bit and then I excused myself and my brother, the family had to make choices that we should not partake in as the stand in family. I held onto my baby brother as we walked out together.
The kids were good I assume my Mom prepped them. They gave me space and did not pester me this time when I came home. The day went on and I went through the motions. It didn’t matter much too me, I mean E is really gone. The kids tried to help but I felt numb and didn’t want to do or say much. M2 kept hugging my arm and telling me it would be all right, I suppose it would be it just hurts right now.
We came home and my friend had made dinner. She knew I was stressed out and that I was struggling because she knows my role in my family. She gave me some space and said call if I need to and I suppose at some point I might talk to her about it. We ate dinner and the kids played with no one mentioning that Mom is crying on and off.
It is going to be a long week I suppose but at least I have the week to experience so I shall not complain but rather try to find the positives. E always tried to find the positives so to keep her memory alive I will endeavor to do the same.