I had this idea a few weeks ago to write to you. I’ve never been good at writing in journals or diaries, but I like writing. It’s like a release of what I keep locked up in my thoughts.
I was driving and something big was happening in our lives. We were getting ready to take Aidan up to college for his freshman year and I needed to talk to you, like so many times before. I needed to talk to you and like a punch in the crotch, I remembered I couldn’t. It’s amazing how after almost ten years I still have that instinct ‘to tell mom’. It’s startling when I have this thought because it comes so naturally, like you’re still here and have been this whole time. Of course, it makes me sad but this idea, the idea to write you letters, seems comforting. I feel that you will receive them. And I know, like always, you will help me. Then I thought what if I had been writing to you this whole time? I would probably have had some much-needed emotional release, huh??
There are so many things I’ve wanted or needed to share with you; to get your advice on. Big life changes, sad depressing times, uncertainties. I’ve decided to go back in time and start my letters from when I can remember first needing to talk to you. Which, to be perfectly honest, was right away. I’ve decided to do this because so many things have happened and changed and for me sorting those things out chronologically seems to be the most logical and might help with some deep healing from when I really needed it the most, when you left us.
I hope you’re out there somewhere dancing your beautiful heart away and enjoying looking out for all of us.
I love you,
October 18th, 2010
It was a normal Monday morning. The kids and I got up and ready for school and work like any other day. I was thankful because you and dad stopped by yesterday afternoon with a few groceries for us. It saved me a trip to the store and helped me out financially. You had recently had a hip replacement and recovery was hard for you due to your autoimmune diseases, but you were finally up and moving and seemed to be enjoying yourself again. You had started doing things for yourself and going out with dad again. It was great to see, and I remember feeling a sense of relief in thinking that you would have your life back. In fact, we took our girls trips the weekend before to Galena with our long-time friends and celebrated your birthday. I will never forget it. You spoiled me that weekend and we just had the best time together. So many laughs and memories. The next day we did our annual apple picking with our family and again, it was the best time.
When you and dad stopped by that Sunday afternoon you asked to use my bathroom and mentioned you hadn’t been feeling well. Your stomach had been very upset the weekend before as well but this time you looked really pale. You guys only stayed a couple of minutes then went home and the kids and I carried on as normal.
As I was on my way to work Monday morning dad called me to tell me he had taken you to the emergency room. This wasn’t a first. In fact, there was a point in time where this was a regular occurrance due to your pain and anxiety, and frequently thinking you were having a heart attack. I didn’t think much of it at first, but I certainly didn’t just write it off this time. There was a different tone in dad’s voice that kept me on alert all day. Throughout the day dad had called me a couple of times to let me know how you were doing and he definitely sounded worried. It was during one of these calls he let me know that you went in because you were passing blood in your stools and had vomited blood as well and that he would like me to come to the hospital. I only had a little bit of time left in my workday and I told him that I would come but needed to get the kids off the school bus first. He called again, minutes before I was to leave work and this call sent me in a panic. He told me to hurry up. In all of the years of you being taken to the hospital dad has never asked me to come to the hospital, let alone told me to hurry up. As I was rushing out of the office a co-worker was coming in and he said “Jeez, what’s the hurry. Someone dying?”. As I brushed past him all I could mutter was “my mom is in the hospital”.
I got home just minutes before the kids did and was able to make plans with my friend to come get them so I can get to the hospital. As soon as she got there I took off and dad called again, “Where are you??? I need you to hurry up.” I started crying hysterically and the feeling that you wouldn’t be leaving the hospital came upon me. I frantically called both of my brothers and told the youngest he needed to leave work and meet us there. I called one of my closest friends and she offered to meet me at the hospital. I finally arrived and made the long walk to the front entrance with tears streaming down my face. There are no words to describe the feelings I had, I just knew you were gone.
I was met by my Uncle and Aunt who had been there with dad for a little while, I think. My memory is foggy and the timeline is lost on me from the time I entered the hospital until I left. It could have been minutes or hours between me arriving and the rest of the events unfolding. I do know that within minutes of me being there my youngest brother arrived and we were being asked to join dad and someone from the hospital in a small room. It was there that we were officially told you had passed away. I honestly can’t recall if I said anything or what my reaction was, or my brothers for that matter. But I will never forget dad and what he said. “No. No. No. Who am I going to have? What am I going to do now?” He wasn’t actually saying these words, he was crying so painfully it was unbearable. You guys had a crazy loud relationship but one thing that I never doubted was that you really did love each-other and you really did need each other.
We were taken back to see you before we left the hospital and I actually wish we hadn’t done that. One of the last images I have of you consists of you laying on a hospital bed with a big tube coming out of your mouth and dried blood on your face and clothes. Dad was furious and started yelling “Come on! Why is she like this? Clean her up! Awe man, come on clean her up!”.
You had Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Fibromyalgia. You were in pain. Most of your life you were in pain and on a lot of medication to help control that pain and inflammation. The medication took its toll on your stomach and you developed an ulcer. Eventually that ulcer started bleeding and by the time you made it to the hospital you had so much internal bleeding that it was too late.