Resemblance

The process of working through the fear, anxiety and lingering pain has been a long, winding road… with a lot of stop signs. There is just so much I don’t understand about what happened to me that at times, it’s easier to ignore it than to address it. But it eventually rears it’s head in the ugliest way.

I’ve written before about the horrible childhood my mom had, but I didn’t go into much detail. She was adopted when she was a baby. Her birth father served in the Vietnam War and had PTSD. One night, while her birth mother was holding my mom’s younger brother in her lap, her father had a flashback and shot her in the head. She survived, but was left with serious mental deficiencies. My mom and her sister were adopted together, while her brother was in and out of different foster homes most of his life.

The home my mom and aunt were adopted into should have been a peaceful, loving place where they could heal from the trauma. But it was anything but. My mom was sexually abused from a very young age until she moved out at 17. My mom took the brunt of the abuse to protect her sister. Her adopted mother and brother both knew what was going on, and would even set these situations up for her adopted father, telling her: “It’s time to go give Dad a massage.” But they knew what it really meant and did nothing about it. The abuse did not end when she moved out. He burnt down the tiny shack-like house she was living in. She eventually got married to my father and moved out of state to escape.

This past July, her birth mother, Judy,  passed away. My mom did not have any contact with her birth family, except when we drove to St. Louis when I was in fourth grade to meet her birth brother and his wife and children. I made the 8 hour drive to Kentucky by myself to meet her birth family for the first time. I wasn’t sure if it would bring closure, bring more questions, deepen wounds, answer questions, etc. All I knew was that I had to go. Most of my family back home was not very supportive. And I understand, this was a huge deal. I was going out of state to meet strangers. I was uneasy, nervous and full of doubt about my decision to go. I tried not to have any expectations on how they might receive me or what they may be like. My mom’s sister decided not to go, so I was totally alone.

I stopped at my grandmother’s (on my dad’s side) for a couple nights on my way to Lexington. She told me stories of my mom from when I was a baby. I wish I could say they were happy stories. She spoke of my mom’s deep depression, which wasn’t news to me. But she told me of when she had to come to our state to help my mom with me because my mom was locked in her bedroom refusing to hold me. How she eventually went and placed me in her arms and walked away, forcing my mom to hold me as she cried for my grandma to come pick me up. She wanted me to understand that having a baby brought up a lot of pain for my mom. She wanted me to understand that these people may not be great people, that I need to proceed with caution, that I was stepping into a dark story and I was stepping in all by myself and how sad and scary that could be. I know she was trying to give me insight, but how I wish I could unhear the story of my mom refusing to hold her first born baby.

When I arrived in Lexington, I met with her brother and his family for ice cream. I felt like I fit right in. They are funny, sassy and humble. I went back to the hotel feeling more at ease and was ready for whatever the next day would hold.

We arrived at the funeral home the next morning and I was shaking as I walked through the double doors into the sanctuary. No one had told me that it would be an open casket. I walked in and saw the spitting image of my mother laying dead in a coffin. I immediately ran to the bathroom and fell to the floor, sobbing. It felt like a scene from a movie. Between sobs, I was choking out the words, “God, I can’t do this. You need to help me. This is too much for me to handle.”

When I had composed myself as best as I could, I returned to the sanctuary. Shortly after, Judy’s sister, Brenda, walked in, whom my mother was named after. Again, another person that could have passed for my mom, only she had died her hair pitch black. She looked back at me with disbelief, too. The resemblance runs so strong on that side of the family. We hugged and I broke down again as I apologized for my tears.

More and more family members showed up. Some knew I was coming and said, “You must be Brenda Ann’s daughter.” My mom went by Brenda her whole life. It felt weird that they were calling her Brenda Ann. Some family members who hadn’t heard that I would be there just stared at me for an uncomfortable amount of time, almost like they were seeing a ghost, until I awkwardly uttered, “I’m Brenda Ann’s daughter.” Each time I was met with a tight embrace.

It wasn’t until I got to the funeral home that I realized this was a big deal for them too. Judy’s children and her grandchildren are missing links in their family, who were taken because of a tragic situation, and here I was, on my own 800 miles from home to attend my grandmother’s funeral whom I’d never even met. I’ll never forget when my second cousin’s wife looked me in the eyes and said, “You are so brave for coming here. This means so much to us. I know this must be so hard.”

The second most meaningful conversation I had was when Judy’s two nurses from the nursing home came, where she lived the rest of her life after the incident. They made their way through the rows of family slowly, as I eavesdropped on their conversations. Even while talking to other people, their eyes kept meeting mine like they recognized me. I listened to them recount stories of Judy’s orneriness, her obsession with Mountain Dew and her love of coloring, which are really the only facts I learned about her during the trip. When they got to my row, one was too broken down to speak and just held on to the arm of the other nurse. Without waiting for her to speak, I said, “I’m Judy’s granddaughter. I’m Brenda Ann’s daughter.” They each let out audible sobs, followed by my own. I remember her following sentences word for word: “I remember when we got the call that your mom passed away. We were all trying to decide if we should tell Judy or not. We decided she needed to know. You could hear her crying down the hallway for days, saying ‘Oh, my baby. My baby is gone. My Brenda Ann.” This was both heart warming and heartbreaking. I previously had no idea of Judy’s mental or emotional state, nor her attachment to her children, and it didn’t feel right to ask under the circumstances of the trip. But here are these two nurses giving me the deepest insight into my mom’s mother who indeed did love her and lost her 3 children under tragic circumstances. That was her baby, her Brenda Ann.

I think it’s been hard for me to keep her birth family and her adopted family separate in my head. Both are tragic situations. Both caused so much heartbreak. But with this nurse’s words, it was cleared up in an instant. This family lost three children to this situation. And although her brother eventually got back in touch with Judy, the girls never did. Again, it hit me how big of a deal this was for this side of the family, not just for me.

The rest of the visitation, there were several questions about my mom. It was apparent that no one knew of the horrible abuse she went through. No one knew of her mental illness and resulting emotional and mental abuse to her children. No one knew she was adopted into pure hell. I kept my answers pretty vague, which felt inauthentic, but felt like the right thing to do. I wanted to protect my own story and my mom’s story.

After the funeral and burial, we went to Brenda’s house for food. Again, I saw that these people are so much like me and my brother. They’re sassy, sarcastic (in a good way), funny and seemingly genuine people. Several people offered to let me stay at their house instead of leaving to drive home right after the reception, but I just needed to be alone and process. I cried a good portion of the way to St. Louis where I stayed the night before returning home the next day. The tears changed back and forth from originating from pain, semi-closure, questions, aching, wondering if I’d ever see them again, and a lot of other emotions I probably will never find words for.

It was hands down the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, but I would never take it back.

 

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Harshly Loving.

Recently I was at a bar with my friends discussing some personal problems I am going through. Without going in to detail, I was feeling like things were over for me. Like my life was not going where it was meant to go and that it was hopeless that it ever would again. I am distancing myself from everyone because I have so much baggage. So much emotional damage to work through, so much harm done by my mother’s abusive words and actions that I have been wondering if my life would ever be uncomplicated again. So much fear after finding out about how scary my stepfather really is and not knowing his whereabouts after finding out this information. Will I ever be able to answer a question about my life and have the answer not be dark? Would I ever be able to say, “I’m good,” and mean it? Will I ever stop having to leave details about my day, about my life, out of my answers so as to not overwhelm or scare my friends? Will the platitudes ever stop?

One of my friends looked me in the eyes and said, rather firmly, “Cait, you don’t get to decide what other people can handle.”

Tears. Relief. I can’t put in to words the feeling I got when he said that. But the impact of that statement has not left my mind since.

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Motherless on Mother’s Day

{ I’m just now getting back to writing publicly after dealing with some pretty dark feelings and writing privately. I wrote this one on Mother’s Day and never posted it. }

Mother’s Day has been hard in recent years. The last two years, after my mom’s heart attacks, were when her mental illness hit it’s extreme (it had been at that extreme before, but this was the first time I was grown up enough to realize what was going on, and that it wasn’t normal.)

My mom died on Valentine’s Day, 6 days after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. The day she was diagnosed she was talkative and alert. Over the next few days, I watched her physically deteriorate and mentally deteriorate even more. My daughter was 7 months old when my mom died. Throughout my entire pregnancy, the relationship with my mom was almost unbearable. I had to distance myself for my health and the health of my unborn baby. Having to nurture this new life while watching the life of someone you love spiral out of control was a difficult situation to be in.

This will be my first Mother’s Day as a mom, and also the first without my own. I know that my mom had a mental illness. All the terrible, terrible things she said and did to me were coming from her mental illness, not her heart. I know that. I know it with all that I am. I know that my mom loved me. And I know that she endured unspeakable pain growing up in a sexually abusive household, which left her unable to show me love at times. I wish that knowing this would take away all the pain that’s left from the things she said to me, but the truth is, it just doesn’t. There is still hurt. I am mourning the loss of my mother, along with the loss of any chance we had to reconcile our relationship, any chance she had to get help, to have hope. I have carried her pain my whole life knowing what she went through and knowing that I couldn’t help her.

Although there are feelings of hurt, the most overwhelming feeling is one of helplessness. I feel so devastated by all the hardships my mom went through. I feel like she never found hope. I know she was terrified during her final days, and the last conversation I had with her is forever etched in my mind, along with the look on her face. (Read about it in Part 2). It’s utterly heartbreaking knowing how terrified she was. It happened so fast after being told she had months.

There’s a quote that says, “No one told me that grief felt so much like fear.” Fear of dying myself and leaving my daughter wondering if I loved her. Fear of being so terrified in my final moments the way my mom was. Fear causing me to ask my husband to make sure my daughter knows I loved her best. Fear is crippling.

Suck It Up, Buttercup.

It’s almost been a year without my Mom. They say grieving has no timeline. But man, people sure know how to make you feel like it’s time to suck it up when it hits 6 months, a year.
This last year has been full of grieving and empty of resolve. Full of grieving for the physical loss of our mom. Full of grieving for the mental loss of our mom long ago, even when we didn’t realize that’s what was happening at the time. Full of grieving and longing for the love she didn’t show and now never will.. grieving for what never was and what never will be. Grieving over the fact that my Mom never had peace, that she suffered physically her entire childhood then mentally the rest of her life.
Most of what I’ve come to understand about my mom and her mental illness, has been only been discovered in the last year and a half… the understanding that how she acted was not who she was in her heart. She had a mental illness and did not see things as they were. I wish that just simply knowing she did not mean the hurtful things she said and did was enough to make the hurt go away. But there seems to be something permanently damaging about hearing  your Mom say that she hates you… that she hopes she dies and that it will be your fault when she does… that you betrayed her by letting the medical team save her after her heart attack… that you deserved the miscarriage you had when you were 19. Logically, I’m able to separate those hurtful things from her heart but it’s not enough to let the emotional pain go. I’ve been so terrified to ride the emotional pain to try to get through it, because having these types of feelings and hurts regarding your own mom makes you feel guilty. But, I can’t keep ignoring it. I want so badly to remember a good memory… to be able to choose what I share with my daughter and have plenty of good to share with her. I don’t want to ever run out of stories that are appropriate to share with her. But, I know there will be a time when I’ve shared all I can share with her… there will be a time I run out of positives.
It will be a year on Valentines Day. And although I will inwardly roll my eyes at anyone who says “It’s been a year. It’s time to move on”, I have to dive in to this. It has to get ugly before it’s going to get better.

 

Half a Year Without You

6 months have gone by since you’ve been gone. It seems like such a monumental benchmark, half a year. But grieving has no timeline. There are days that I call the ‘good days’, days where I’m still aware of the absent space in my heart where you should be, but I’m still able to go about my day and I don’t have to be afraid that I’m going to break down in the quiet moments, and I know that although I miss you, I am okay. But there are still moments where the heavy weight of you being gone hits me all over again. Sometimes these moments can be predicted. Your birthday, family events, my brother’s graduation. But sometimes these moments come from nowhere. When I see the car you drove, a piece of me wonders if it could be you. When I see someone that resembles you from behind at the grocery store, I have to catch my breath. There’s a quote I came across that says, “Grief is like an ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

 

 

The Grief That Isn’t Talked About, Part 2

If you’ve come across this post, I encourage you to look back at The Grief No One Talks About before picking back up on this post, Part 2.



 

When the nurse came in, we were still recovering from the scene of my mom’s last lucid moment. She told us that she no longer needed to take any vitals (heartbeat, temperature, oxygen saturation, etc), but if we wanted her to, she would. My brother and I decided we wanted to continue to monitor her. We knew the end was so close and there was no avoiding it, but I think we both found comfort in continuing to see how things were progressing on a physical level. The nurse checked her oxygen saturation and even with the oxygen mask flowing at the highest concentration, her levels weren’t where they needed to be. (The day before, she had taken her mask off when I went downstairs to get something to eat. I was gone 15 minutes and when I came back up she had her mask off and her oxygen saturation was at 34%.For those that don’t know, anything below 90% is considered dangerous. Low oxygen causes tissue damage, mental confusion, brain damage, loss of consciousness, and even heart attacks.) The nurse told us it was low but the oxygen was as high as it could go. She then asked us to make a decision I never thought I would have to make.

My mom had ordered a DNR (do not resuscitate) and a DNI (do not intubate.) This meant the hospital staff did not have permission to do CPR, place a breathing tube, etc. In some hospitals it is called an AND (allow natural death) order. This means the hospital can provide pain management, but can choose to withhold or discontinue artificial feedings, fluids or any other treatments that prolong the dying process without adding to quality of life.

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These orders were not new. I found out about the DNR after my mom had her first heart attack in 2013. She gave me a form, which I don’t even think was a legal form, that listed me as a medical decision maker and stated that she didn’t want to be resuscitated under any circumstances. I remember feeling so angry at her that she would choose to have the doctors just let her die. I felt abandoned. Why, at 45 years old, would she CHOOSE to not be here for my brother anymore? To ask the doctors to let her die? She asked me if I was comfortable making that decision and I was honest with her. I told her it made me really sad to know she would choose to not be here anymore. She basically told me it didn’t matter because she had the paper notarized and the hospital had a copy. A few months later, she had another heart attack. I didn’t get to see her until they had stabilized her and put her on a ventilator. The next day, she woke up still on the ventilator and was livid. She tried to sit up and grab at the life support hanging out of her. I have never seen such a furious look in someones eyes. She pushed the call button and tried to communicate to the nurse that she wanted me to leave. The nurse asked me to leave because I was making my mom agitated. A few days later when she was off the ventilator, I walked in and she tried to say something but her throat was so sore from the ventilator. She barely got the words out. “You betrayed me.” I told her I was never consulted by a doctor about whether or not they could do it. But to be honest, if the doctor would have asked me, I would have told him yes. She then put me on the “ban” list and I was left in the dark about her condition for the rest of the stay.

Anyway, back to 2016. The nurse told us that because her oxygen was low even with the oxygen mask at full blast, that it was technically a life saving measure. She said that we needed to decide if we thought my mom would want us to take the oxygen mask off. She said sometimes the family is comforted by seeing their loved one without a mask on during their final moments. My stomach dropped. I knew immediately that the answer was yes, but I told the nurse to give us a minute while we talked about it. We all agreed pretty quickly that it wasn’t adding any quality of life and it was only making the dying process longer. I walked to the nurses station and told her what we decided. I asked how long it would take and the nurse said she would fall asleep and die peacefully in 10 to 30 minutes, she “couldn’t imagine it would take much longer than that.”

The nurse came in silently and took off the mask. We all gathered around her bed, took turns giving her hugs. Her breathing got really loud as we tried to comfort her. “We love you…You can rest now… We’ll see you again soon… It’s okay to let go…This will be over soon.” She got agitated and started mumbling. She grabbed at things that weren’t there. We tried to tell her to relax. She tried to sit up a few times and we gently laid her back down. This went one for far longer than 30 minutes. Two people left the room because they couldn’t handle it anymore. The nurse finally came back in and said that for my mom’s comfort, we should put the oxygen back on.

I felt so empty. Six days earlier she was diagnosed with cancer. They went from talking about hospice in home, to hospice in a center, to saying she would never leave and taking her off food and liquids. So many intense things happened in just 6 days and I thought my mom would be done suffering after we took the oxygen off. I needed her to be done suffering. I needed it to be over. And now I felt like I had failed her by allowing her to be off oxygen with extremely dangerously low oxygen levels for so long. I feel like we caused more harm. The physical stages of dying already does so much to a body, and now we had deprived her of oxygen on top of that. I had to remind myself that we did it so that she would die peacefully, like we were told she would do, that she would fall asleep and be comfortable in her final moments. But I wasn’t the only one who felt like they had failed. The nurse told me she felt like she had failed ME. The fact that the nurse said ME, instead of my mom, just reiterated the fact that my mom was really already gone. She would never speak to me again, she would never see my face again, never hold my daughter again. This was still the end. My mom was still actively dying.

That night my brother and I stayed at the hospital in her room, just the three of us. The nurses changed shift and she had a really great nurse that night. Robin came in every 45 minutes to give her medicine to keep her comfortable. Every time she came in, she made sure my brother and I were comfortable, too. She checked her vitals each time and kept me updated on what was happening. I asked her to turn up the thermostat because my mom was ice cold to the touch, but she explained that one of the stages of dying is loss of temperature regulation and that it was best to keep the room at room temperature. I really appreciated that she spoke to me in a way that was informative, but tender. Robin said I could check the vitals any time I wanted to and show us how to use the machine. Her oxygen saturation stayed around 60% all night, but Robin said her heart beat was getting more and more irregular. I was so tired that I was physically having to force my eyes to stay open. I have never experienced that before. I was so mentally and physically spent that it was like my body would NOT let me stay awake.

At 7, we woke up because she was stirring around and making noises. My brother and I sat on either side of her and talked to her. She opened her eyes and looked up and to the left. I moved to get in to her line of sight but I could tell she could not see me. Then her eyes darted to the other side towards my brother, but not AT him. She mumbled, closed her eyes and was calm again.

My brother and I went back to the couch and started talking to each other. I can’t remember what brought it up, but my brother did an impersonation of a singer we both like, and we both started laughing. I looked over and noticed her breathing had slowed. We walked over to the side of her bed and said her name. We nudged her like we were trying to wake her up. The room was silent. My brother turned the monitor on and we got only one heartbeat. We turned it off and just stood there, completely still. After a few moments we looked at each other and hugged, sobbing. We hugged her and told her we loved her.

I went to get the nurse but she was already walking towards the door with the two new nurses for this shift. I motioned for them to come in. I said, “Is she gone?” They all three looked at her without moving. Then they all three took turns checking for a pulse. Robin looked at me and said, “She’s passed.”

The last thing my mom heard was my brother and I laughing. She used to tell me she missed hearing my brother and I’s laughter in the house. As cliche at it sounds, I find myself wondering if she was waiting for a happy moment to let go.

The Grief That Isn’t Talked About

*Disclaimer: To be honest, I don’t feel comfortable sharing all of these details. I started writing for my own healing and to work through my emotions. But I made a post on one of my Mommy’s Groups on Facebook about this and TWENTY SEVEN people private messaged me to tell me they had been through something similar. I don’t want anything in this post to sound disrespectful to my mom. I want it to be factual, though, so some things in this post are intense. I hope that by sharing such a personal and private story, someone will read this and be encouraged in knowing they are not alone. I’m not claiming to have it all figured out, because I don’t. But I know that in time I will heal and I was encouraged by speaking with people who have been in my situation and have managed to find healing and closure.





There is so much I feel like I want and need to write about after the recent death of my Mom with whom I had an extremely difficult relationship. She was emotionally/mentally abusive and had serious mental illnesses. On and off my whole life, I was manipulated by her and after her heart attack a couple years ago, things really came to a tipping point. Let me give you some background info.

She had her first heart attack two years ago and then a triple bypass, then another heart attack and many other complications along the way. They said she needed a transplant then shortly after deemed her too weak to undergo a transplant surgery. Even before those health issues, she was emotionally abusive. The abuse had significantly intensified since then and basically for the last year and a half she seemed to totally have it out for me. Some days she claimed I never visited her at the hospital (false, I basically lived there for 2 months). She constantly sent messages saying I hated her, that she hated me, that I’m worthless, that I’m the reason for her health condition, that I should have let her die, that she wants to kill herself, that she hopes I find her dead body, that I’m going to ruin my 8 month old daughter’s life, that I’m a liar because I had an eating disorder, that I deserved the miscarriage/ectopic pregnancy I had when I was 19, etc. 

For a while I did everything I could to try to get her to see things as they really are. I would reply by saying “I’m sorry that you aren’t seeing things as they are, please remember I love you.” To begging her to get therapy, to long messages recounting what actually happened in an effort to get her to remember clearly, etc. I started recognizing different personalities she seemed to have from violent, to pleading, to bitter.

When I was 8 months pregnant and having complications I told her that unless she could talk to me with respect, I was not going to reply to any more of her messages- that it wasn’t helping our relationship when I partake in those conversations, however calmly I tried to do so, and that I wasn’t going to validate her accusations by defending myself against things that were literally SO off the wall that I don’t know where they came from. I sent her a long message about how I love her but I need to take care of my health and now my daughter’s. I made it a point to tell her I have not lost hope that she will get better, and so will our relationship, and that I love her. I told her that I want her in my life and all I need from her is for her to act respectfully and lovingly towards me.

She responded by blocking my number, email, Facebook, etc. She even took down every picture of me in her house, told my brother he wasn’t allowed to talk to me or about me, etc. Right before Christmas, my brother decided to take a break from being at her house and stay at my dad’s for a while. On Christmas Eve she broke in to my dad’s house (where my husband and I are also living in the apartment). She wouldn’t leave and eventually just sat out on the front porch smoking and crying. Then on Christmas morning we were woken up by a loud knock on the door and this time it was my step dad.

I’ve known that the bottom line is that my mom had a mental illness and it was not my mom who was speaking to me that way. But it’s pretty hard to not take those things personal, even knowing that. I know that deep down, the real her was in there somewhere but it just seemed like I would never speak to that person again. I felt like I had already lost her.

Anyway, the last month or so I had let her see my daughter occasionally when it seemed like she was having a particularly lucid day. But that was not often. I was always afraid to bring my daughter over because I have found out that my mom’s mood changed so fast that I never knew if she would still be okay by the time I got to her house after a check up phone call. Most of the time, she was polite but cold towards me.

The weekend before she died, she told me she was in the hospital, but wouldn’t tell me why. She had lied to me about being in ICU before so I called the hospital and they told me there was no one there by that name. Turns out she had just requested that her info not be shared. I felt kind of shady for having to call and double check but, I did it because she has used that as a manipulation technique before.

Anyway, we found out that weekend that on top of being extremely weak physically from her heart condition, she had cancer in her stomach, liver and pancreas. They said it was inoperable. That Monday they did a biopsy. On Tuesday they hadn’t gotten the results back yet but spoke about the option of placing a tube to drain, to help with comfort and possibly give her more time. The biopsy came back on Wednesday and they asked me to think about hospice locations. Then on Thursday they told me that they wouldn’t release a patient to hospice if death was imminent. Up until Friday afternoon, my mom was walking around talking (even if it was in an agitated manner.) Throughout the week, she was having delusions and was extremely agitated. She was walking around yelling at people who weren’t there and taking off her oxygen and taking out her IV. The nurses tried all week to get her “comfortable” (aka sedated enough that she wasn’t so agitated and violent.) They weren’t really ever able to succeed in doing so. The physical process of dying often causes people to have delusions, so for someone who already has mental health issues it’s even more extreme. On Friday afternoon, I left to go get my aunt from the airport and when I got back, they said they had made her NPO, so she was no longer able to take anything by mouth. When I got back on Saturday morning, I could tell that she wasn’t going to live past the weekend.

We told the nurses they could put the catheter in, which was something my mom HATED in previous hospital stays. But the alternative was not something that would have let her keep her dignity. She hadn’t been awake all day but when they started turning her to put the catheter in, she woke up and started arguing with them. After some back and forth, the nurse finally said, “I’m going to be frank with you. You are dying.” There was a moment of silence and then my mom looked over at me as I was crying the hardest I have ever cried. When she looked at me, I could see in her eyes that it was HER talking. She asked why I was crying, if she said something wrong and that she was sorry for whatever she said. I assured her that she didn’t say anything wrong. She looked at the nurse then back at me, and with utter terror in her eyes, she said “Why is this happening so fast?” I don’t remember what I said. After another moment of silence, she asked “So I’m never getting out of this bed again?” I said “No, Mom. But we’re all here and we love you so much.” I told the nurse to go get my brother who had stepped out while they put the catheter in. If she was lucid he needed to be there too. But in the 20 seconds it took for him to get back to the room, she was already gone again. That was her last lucid moment. I can not get that image out of my mind. I see it in my dreams almost every night and it’s in my mind all day long. I have a sick feeling in my stomach when I think about how terrified she was.

In my next post, I’m going to write about our failed attempt at taking her off life support later that day and her last hours of life. If you’ve read this far, thank you.

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