Medical Issues

She’s Gone, Now What Do I Do?

She's Gone, Now What Do I Do?

She’s Gone, Now What Do I Do?

She’s Gone, Now What Do I Do? Honestly, what am I supposed to do now?  Over a decade of friendship and now, aside from your son and the children, you are all gone.  This ache is deep and my tears flow freely at any given moment.  It is so strange knowing that you are gone because that is not what we talked about.

I Miss You

It has only been a few days but I miss you.  We would chat, most nights, until about midnight about all the things.  I would watch my car detailing videos, mute, and tell you about every detail.  Then, we would discuss the children and what they were doing.  We would fix the world’s problems and now I don’t have anyone to talk to.

 

Always Wondered

I have always wondered is it best for others left behind for a loved one to die quickly or to *know* that they are dying so you can say what you need to.  Honestly, I have experienced both ways and they both suck.  For me, they do.  The ones who have passed well, as a believer, once your eyes shut on Earth, they open in the presence of the Lord.

Instantly

When your loved one dies instantly, with no warning, there are SO many things unsaid.  That last I love you, the last I am sorry, the last smile…when did you hug them last?  For me, it has been 6 mths due to conflict.  I remember the last words spoken.  Furthermore, I remember the last words he spoke to me.  Also, I remember sitting in my car screaming at the top of my lungs just to get out the anger.

Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness.  My fear was knowing how my husband would react to the words said to me.  My sadness was knowing what the outcome was going to be.  It was an outcome that I never wanted but was necessary in order for my husband to heal.  Yet, the pain that came in the morning was devastating.

A Small Amount of Time

This time, however, I have known of “not feeling well” since February or March.  What started out as vertigo and back pain ended in death.  Something so treatable as those 2 things.  Doctor visits yield Meniere’s disease, possibly.  Could be allergies.  Maybe it is stress.  Go to the chiropractor, get some blood work done, blah blah blah.

Those things led to not being able to keep anything down and losing weight.  Energy waning.  Speech slurred a bit.  Upset stomach and passing out.  She was “forced” to go to the ER where they said, “your electrolytes are low and you are dehydrated.”  Well, let’s pop in an IV and get that up.  For a moment, she was better.

Until She Got Worse

That moment was fleeting and we all tried to convince her to go to the doctor again.  This time they did x-rays, co-vid testing, and blood work.  There were bacteria in her bloodstream.  I remember her saying that.  Then she said, “good news, I don’t have covid!”  A sigh of relief.

Then silence.  She said, “but they found a mass on my pancreas.”  My heart went into my throat and I asked if it was cancer.  She said she did not know and she had an appointment with an oncologist on October 7th.  This was the day after her 61st birthday.

When I Got to Her Place

I walked in and there laid a shell of the woman I was used to seeing.  She had lost so much weight and was so jaundiced, I knew that this was serious.  I walked over and laid my head across her chest.  She patted my head and said “Brandi, I’m going to fight this.  It’s going to be okay.  I’m too mean to die.”

I snuggled up with her on the couch and we talked about all the things.  Once again, we solved the world’s problems.  I came by almost daily to check on her and the children.  At night, I would call.  Then she went to the doctor on the 7th…she said they called in hospice.

The Next Day

I came over and we started talking about other things.  Things neither one of us wanted to talk about.  Funeral homes, flowers, plans for her grandchildren and son.  She kept saying that this was all pointless because she was going to get a second opinion and fight.  This woman fought to the very end.

Most days she would ask me to “take her feet apart.”  AKA rub her feet because that felt SO good.  Then she would want me to play with her hair.  Somedays, I massaged her stomach because the swelling was so much that she said it helped her feel better.  Other days, I would just curl up next to her.  Sometimes we would nap and other times, she would nap and I prayed.

The Night at the ER

She finally could not take the pressure and swelling of her belly.  So, she asked me to call an ambulance just to have her checked.  They got there and the stress of moving her caused her to pass out.  We all thought she was gone and rushed to the ER.

Her son and I got there before the ambulance.  They wheeled her out and she cut her eyes at me and waved.  I crumpled in the parking lot.  It was like all the air being let out of a balloon.  Her sisters were there and we all rushed in.

The Beginning of the End

I knew that night, that she would be gone soon.  As I sat by her bed watching her breathe, we talked again.  She talked of her salvation, her husband, and her daughter that died before her.  David died 5 years ago of cancer and her daughter died 2 years ago by a choice that was horrific for her family.

She said they were standing up there going “oh hell, here she comes!”  I told her there was no swearing in heaven.  We both laughed a bit and then the topic got more serious.  She knew there was no fight left.  It was a matter of time and that time was up to God.

Final Words

She asked what would happen to Steve, her son.  Then we talked about Lexi, her granddaughter.  Next, we talked about Austin, her grandson.  Sierra, the precious girl that lived with them and expecting Donna’s great-grandson (whom Donna named).  She talked about Kenleigh, her great-granddaughter.  We got it all squared away.

Then, she looked at me and said “who is going to keep you out of trouble?”  I just sat and cried.  She said, “wanna crawl up in this bed, there is room?”  If I could have, I would have.  I told her we would get in trouble and she said she didn’t care.  She begged to go home.

We Got Her Home

Home.  She was not Donna anymore.  There were moments when she would focus, but we all knew the time was coming.  That time came…my Donna was gone.  Once again, I walked in and laid over her chest, and cried.  I listened to the wails and sobs of her son and grandchildren.  Her sisters.

I haven’t even fully processed it all but today is her funeral.  Everything changes for everyone.  Life never stops moving, does it?  I feel lost and go to pick up the phone and realize, there is no one to call.  Oh, Donna.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  We talked about that, remember?

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Our Goodbyes

Our GoodbyesHere are Our Goodbyes that we would typically say to one another.

Me:  I love your face off, Lady.

Lady:  I love you too.

Me:  I love you more.

Lady:  I don’t see how that is possible.

Till we see each other again.  I love your face off, Lady.

Faithie Josephine Sledd Cox

July 13, 1934 – October 1, 2017

Forever my mentor.  She is forever my best friend.  Forever my person.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her and miss her.  Just the other day, I told my son-in-law that he needed to call her.  She could get stains out like magic.  Sigh.  I miss her.  My Lady was my mentor, my best friend, my confidante, and my encourager.  There will never be another person like her.

Honestly, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.  I found myself telling my kids her sayings and repeating so much of what she said to me.  She was loved by so many and treasured in our community.  What a human.  Loved her husband, Jerome, so very much.  Oh, how she loved her boys and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  An inspiration.

 

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Wordless Wednesday Lady Edition

Wordless Wednesday Lady Edition

Wordless Wednesday Lady Edition

Here is a Wordless Wednesday Lady Edition for you.  One day, soon, I will be able to not go to bed at 3:30 am.  One day.  Insomnia is hard.  So.  Very.  Hard.  It can strike out of nowhere and take you captive.  I have found myself trying to fall asleep in a chair, the floor, the closet, the living room.  Maybe a different environment can trick my body into sleep.  In this Wordless Wednesday Lady Edition, her couch was not necessarily my friend.  However, her chair was my bestie.

Nothing Has Worked

Nothing has worked and insomnia has ruled my life, at times.  I have tried Melatonin, Ambien, and Oils.  Sadly, each time, they work for a bit and then they stop.  I get one night of rest and that one night is fleeting.  However, this was the story of my life for a very long time.  I wish I could show her this Wordless Wednesday Lady Edition.  First, she knows her name is Lady.  Secondly, she finds joy in knowing my peace is found in her presence (and my green chair).

My Lady

Amazingly, my Lady would let me sleep at her house and I would sleep like a baby.  Granted, it was only a 15-20 minute power nap.  Amazingly though, I felt like I could conquer the world after those afternoons.  It was, quite possibly, the peace that I would feel when I would walk into her home.

This is a bit different.  For instance, I would meld into her green chair, not her sofa.  Finally, I would lull off to sleep with the sounds of her eating and Jag on the television.  Many moments, I would wake up with drool running down my face.  I would look at her, startled, and she would sit there smiling at me.  I miss her.

 

Large Family Happenings

My Lady Go Big or Go Home

My Lady Go Big or Go HomeMy Lady Go Big or Go Home.

My Lady Go Big or Go Home.  Flashing back to June 2, 2017, I went to check on my Lady.  When I got to her house, she was nowhere to be found.  I walked around, gathered laundry, and straightened her house.  Then, I called her son and granddaughter to see where she might be.  I knew she had not felt well.  What I didn’t know was that she had gotten significantly worse since I was there a few days earlier.

In They Walk

While I was on the phone with her youngest son, her granddaughter was walking in the door with her.  My Lady’s belly was huge, tight…her legs were so swollen.  She could hardly breathe and all she wanted to do was to lay down in her bed.  She rarely does this when I am there.  We got her in the bed and I spoke with her granddaughter.

The doctors thought that she needed her gallbladder taken out.  So, they had scheduled an appointment for the following morning to consult with a surgeon.  However, upon more discussion, it was decided that if they happened to keep her, she needed to be at a hospital that her neurologist was in.  This is because of her stroke a couple of years ago. So, her son took her to the ER.  I was going to run to a baseball game for one of my kids.  Then head to the hospital to spend the night.

Once at the hospital…we realized how severe this was.

Doctors were coming in right and left and they were throwing out terms like “cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, UTI…”  We must have looked like we were from a different planet cause we were not prepared for all of that.  UTI, sure…she has those a lot.  The rest, we had NO CLUE on.  We were constantly asked how we didn’t know and who her doctor was.  We kindly told all the professionals that she is always at the doctor and no one had even begun to mention any of these things…only that she needed her gallbladder removed.

Blood Thinner = Trouble

Little could be done because she is on a blood thinner and that had to be out of her system for 5 days before any invasion testing could be done.  Lots of tests, lots of sharing her info, lots of little sleep, and being watchful ended up with one of the doctors saying call the family in.  It was one of those moments that seems like the person talking is talking in slow motion and that all you see are their lips moving but you hear no words coming out of their mouths.  I stayed with her until that following Monday.  We took turns sitting with her and watching her.  It was a struggle for her to breathe because of the 2 gallons of fluid on her belly…she had little energy…and she was simply tired.

Calling the Family

I knew on Tuesday that her oldest son was coming to town.  Also, some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren flying in.  What a legacy this woman has and she is SO well-loved by her family.  I decided that I would not come to the hospital that day.  Simply because I wanted to be respectful of her family and their precious time together.  I played catch up around here and ran some errands.

Nothing out of the ordinary until I got a call. My Lady Go Big or Go Home.  She is never in between.

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