Life after death

The days after his death, his official death were at the very least hard. No one in their twenties should have to go through picking out what their significant other is going to wear, to decide what would best represent him, what would look best in his casket.Then there was trying to figure out what next. I couldn’t afford our house on my own. I was in such a haze, I just did what I had to do to survive. I gave away all of our belongings and moved into with my mom and dad. I would be living in a small bedroom with no storage so I packed a small bag of personal stuff from us both and left. Not where I wanted to live. My parents wouldn’t allow me to bring my pets that I had owned for years, my last source of comfort, so I had to find homes for our cats and dogs. Another loss. I lost more than just the love of my life that day, I lost my home, my belongings, my safety net, my pets, everything was gone. The day before the funeral was Christmas, my family saw a happy grandson opening his presents, a yummy dinner to share with everyone. All I saw was an empty chair, where he had set last year when we came over for the holiday.

The next few months were hell for me. And maybe I shouldn’t be the one complaining but regardless I was miserable. Waking up and going to bed was the hardest parts of my day, he had always been there to hold me at night and would be snuggled up to me in the mornings.  The nightmares were horrendous. I couldn’t nap without having them. Sleep had always been my shelter to run to when I was have a bad day mentally, now it was an abyss that I dared not to go into until I was exhausted. Every time someone acted out of character, acted sick or said they had a headache my whole body would tense up, the butterflies in my stomach made me sick. I would break down in tears, I just knew they were gonna die too. It wasn’t true but that was my thought every single time. Then there was the numerous people asking what happened  causing me to relive day over and over, as if I didn’t do that enough. I live in an area where gossip is whats for breakfast. People don’t usually ask how you are doing because they care but rather to have the next best topic of conversation. Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of support in the beginning but the leeches were definitely there. And indeed the news spread like wildfire, I couldn’t go to the doctor or shop without someone stopping me to ask about it, giving a look of pity as if I were some stray begging for scraps. I didn’t get out much other than the biweekly OBGYN visits. My days were filled with fighting back tears and praying to God that I didn’t go crazy. That my child wouldn’t have to have an unstable mother. Crying is honestly the best healer, it’s as if you are allowing toxins to flow out of your body.

At about the 2 months after his death I went to the OBGYN and found out that my daughter hadn’t gained any weight from my last visit. They decided to make my appointments weekly from then on. Jesus, I’m already a bad mother, starving my child before she even gets here. I started eating a little better but not much. I laid in bed for days at a time, my tears falling like and overfilled dam. My face was raw from it. That day my father came in to see me. My father is the kind of man that shows no emotion and was a very blunt individual. I guess growing up during the depression will do that to you.Anyway he came into my room, he looked at me and he said “I know you are sad,but it’s not your daughters fault, she shouldn’t have to grow up without either parent-take care of yourself” Honestly it opened my eyes and I tried harder to swallow down the bolus food in my mouth, to stop my gag reflex. Nothing tasted good any more, what was the point I thought. But I did eat, for the sake of my child I knew I had to get better and quick because she would be making her appearance soon.

It’s funny, once the new wore off, once my news was no longer new, the calls to check on me stopped, the random visits by friends sparse at the least. I was no longer the topic of conversation, I was old news and now I needed to get over it. I decided going back to work the month of his death. I had to do something to get him off my mind. It didn’t work, I still thought about him, about that day but it did help. My coworkers were pretty nice to me and my boss was extremely supportive. I felt like I had somewhat of a purpose. I still had frequent outbursts of breaking down crying, but my work family understood and worked around it. They knew I needed to be there.

I tried to get better. I researched coping skills-something I’ve never had an abundance of. I tried coloring, journaling, drawing, soul searching, nothing seemed to take away the sting of living. By this time my OBGYN was concerned and because I was in my last trimester put me back on my antidepressants, a lower dose than normal so I couldn’t even tell they helped. He was happy to see that I was eating again and that the baby had went back to growing as normal but he knew I needed help. He suggested a local community center where I lived. I tried it two or three times but the place was a joke. The first time I set down with my counselor and told her my story she started crying too, she told me that she felt sorry for me and that it was an awful thing to happen. I just wanted help coping. She told me I was doing everything that I was supposed to, that I could come talk anytime but there wasn’t much else she could do. Great, just great. My community is lacking on the mental health services which is sad because we have large percentage of mental illnesses in my state.

I fought to get better. I made myself reply to texts and calls, I made myself get out of the house, tried to be social. One particular evening I met a girl friend of mine around 9pm to go eat dinner and catch up. When I got back the door was locked to my mom and dads house. No answer. I slept in the car that night and when I finally got in the house my dad  drunkenly told me he locked the door because I had stayed out late. When I got upset, he kicked me out of the house. Another set back. I stayed with my sister for a few days until my father decided to forgive me and allow me back in the house. We didn’t speak for the remainder of my pregnancy.

 

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Helpless

*continued from first blog

We walked into his room, he was alone. “How could they leave him alone?!” I angrily thought. There were wires and tubes everywhere. There he was, laying in that bed, staring at the ceiling, while all the machines worked urgently to produce his state of being. I just stood there and stared at him in shock. “You can talk to him, you can touch him, it’s okay. Let him know you are here” my sister encouraged. “Baby, I’m here, you have had a stroke and you are in the hospital, I am here with you…..I love you so much” I petted his silky hair.  A doctor walked in “your boyfriend has had aneurysm and it’s pretty bad” his accent made it difficult for me to understand. “Can I look at CT the scans?”my sister asked. “yes, come with me”he sighed, he was annoyed. When my sister returned she looked at me, she looked into my eyes-into my soul paralyzed with fear. “It’s bad sis, really bad, he has an 80% bleed on his brain”. I stood there for a moment trying to process what she had just said. “Can he come back from this, he has a chance right?” “Well this is really bad, I may be wrong, I hope I am, but it looks like he doesn’t have much of a chance” She said hesitantly. “He can’t die, no she’s wrong, he’s gonna be okay, he’s going to a good hospital, they can fix this”my mind told me. It wasn’t ready to accept his fate, I still needed that hope to cling securely to. Before I could even shake myself out of shock to respond a nurse came in and told us he was going to flown to a better equipped hospital.

 

One last goodbye, one more I love you before he was sent off to the bigger hospital. “Can he even hear me I thought, God I hope so”. My sister drove. I don’t remember much other than staring out the window as my tears burned my cheeks. “Sis, I just want to be realistic, this may not end well, that’s a big bleed, I’ve never seen anyone survive one like that” “But if he does, he can do rehab, I can take care of him, he will be okay” I replied, I knew she was wrong. “Miracles happen all the time and I have been wrong before” she reassured hesitantly. Silence. We couldn’t get there fast enough. “why are these fucking cars not moving out of the way with the blinkers on” I wanted to scream out but the silence continued. What else was there to say?

We arrived at the hospital, his family there in the waiting room. They asked me to tell the story of what happened. “He will be okay” his mother said. “I hope” I whimpered as I turned my gaze to the floor. Hours went by as the medical team worked to get him stable. Finally we could go see him. His mother went first and then myself and my sister-she never left my side. We enter the room, even more tubing and cables. He looked the same but that was a lot of equipment and drugs. I took my time holding his hand and telling him how much me and the baby loved him, that he would need to fight hard to get through this for us. Back to the waiting room, family rotated in and out every 15 minutes. A nurse walked in asking for his family. We all stood up. “If you would come with me, we will use a room to give you a little privacy” Hmmm I had never had this happen in the past during my experience with sick family. We all walked in and sat down in this cramped room about the size of walk in closet. “Okay, I am really sorry to say this but, there is nothing we can do for him, he’s been declared brain dead” I fell in the floor screaming No and sobbing to the point to where I was beginning to hyperventilate.I didn’t need to hear the rest, I was losing my best friend, my soul mate, the father of my child” I had never reacted to bad news like,in fact I always thought it was silly when I would see people react that way, that they were faking it. I literally had no control over my body, mind or emotions at that moment.My sister picked me up out of the floor, the rest of the family was asking question to the nurse. “This isn’t fair, why would this happen to us, we had our whole future planned out” My sister held me in her arms sobbing with me “I don’t know sweetie, it’s not fair at all”.I had gotten down on my knees in one of the bathrooms there and begged God to save his life, why hasn’t He fixed this? I questioned my beliefs, my existence, my future.

The next few days I lived in the hospital, if you can call it living, I survived in the hospital. I did not eat or drink or shower. I just sat there and cried, occasionally getting up to walk the hospital halls in between visits. But I never left his side, not once. I would sit there numb to anything else and silently pray for a miracle even though I was sure by now that this was it.Im not sure I carried on an actual conversation with anyone those days. I cried to the point that my eyes were no longer producing tears. My baby would kick and stretch my belly very often this time, probably due to the lack of food she was receiving and stress hormones going in the womb. But every time I felt her, I was reminded of how this little girl was going to be born into the world without a daddy. Visiting him was more so me holding hand or pet his hair. You could barely get to him with all the machinery. His lips had began to dry and chap,  his nose was filled with mucus,  this wasn’t the man I was in love with, he was already gone, this was a shell of him. A nurse came in and checked on me, reset some IV’s and hung some new ones. The defining moment for was when she used her pen light to see if you could get a reaction out of his pupils when it was shined in eyes. They did nothing, never constricted. She just looked at me sadly. In fact every time I made the  trip to see him the staff would watch me as I waddled to his room, their eyebrows furrowed, smiles wiped away and replaced with a quick frown.

By the third day, everyone had given up hope I feel like. There were less visits, no hopeful smiles, just silence. Because his brain had been injured so badly it could no longer control his internal body temperature, he temperature rose by the hour.His body was shutting down on it’s own, it wasn’t going to wait for us to “be ready”, his body rejected the life support from doing it’s job. I knew then that today was the day. The last time I would ever be able to see him “alive” or touch his arm and feel the warmth of his body like there was someone there. By the end of the day even ice wasn’t able to keep his fever down. They asked if they could unhook him from the machine. The family finally agreed. He died, there was no miraculous recovery, he didn’t just wake up once they took him off life support, no this was it this time, this was real.

 

 

 

Surprise?

*Just a little side note before I begin, this blog is mainly for me to get thoughts out, however if it helps someone or entertains someone by reading then that’s even better. My grammar and word structure will most likely drive you crazy, I know the proper setup by I will be typing this as if my mind was telling the story and it thinks in odd patterns. Also I am southern, so my blog will likely be long and drawn out.

*Trigger warning-intense blog.

I’ve never liked surprises, even as a small child they just didn’t excite me. I usually would guess what the surprise was way before I received it or it happened-that and it throws me off schedule which makes my anxiety level shoot up to insane levels. That’s another day. another blog.

At this time I was in my early 20s and was miserably pregnant. Anxiously my boyfriend and I awaited the arrival of our first child.He was anxious to be a dad for the first time in a couple of decades, I was anxious to be able to pee a full stream again and not throw up every 20 minutes. We were both working feverishly at our jobs, trying to make as much money as we could before the baby came. We both came from poor areas and our new residence was no different.

On this particular day, I was extremely emotional-pissed, livid, crying mad. You see our schedules often conflicted and I needed time with my love. This was the day we were suppose to both be off work and just enjoy each other. I had an early morning shift that day and then by lunch the day would be ours for the taking. As soon as I got home, my boyfriend told me he had been called in for the evening/night shift at work and he would have leave in a couple of hours. Broken hearted I sulked around for a little bit and then set down with him to just talk before he left. He told me was feeling tired and asked if I would like to snuggle with him on the couch before work. Of course, there is nothing better than snuggling with the one you love-we laid down and napped.In the midst of drooling and entering deep sleep, I was shocked when my boyfriend set up touch his head and said “Oh God baby,my head hurts so bad” I will never forget those words,that day or the days to come. As soon as he said that his eyes rolled back in his head and he literally fell over on top of me passed out. Quickly I pulled myself out from under his limp body and laid him back on the couch so I could grab my phone and call 911. He set up instantly-all most as if he had been awoken from a bad dream, his eyes had fear in them. I knew what was wrong immediately from one of my favorite past time-reading medical books. Oh shit, he’s having a fucking stroke. I knew it. The right side of his face was drooping, weakness on the same side of his body and when he clumsily reached for his coffee it just flowed out of his mouth and he had no idea. By this time I was on the phone with a dispatcher for 911, I told her what had happened that my boyfriend was suffering from stroke-Did those words really just come out of my mouth-it seem so surreal like one the old 80’s music videos with all the fog, it was just so blurry.

It seemed like forever, why the fuck had they not got here? I hung up with 911 and immediately called my sister who has a medical background. “Please help me, what can i do?  I need you”. If I was this scared, I could only imagine what he was feeling. The ambulance came and I begged to ride with them to the hospital and they obliged.” I love you baby, you’re gonna be okay” I blubbered as they were strapping him to the gurney, he was thrashing and fighting it, confusion.  I made the necessary calls to family members to inform his and my family of what was going on-they didn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation, at least not well enough for me. In route I was a sobbing trembling mess, the paramedic radioed to the front cab where I was and told the driver to turn on the siren that the situation had gotten worse. This all occurred within like 20 minutes, the drive to the hospital was maybe 10 miles away from us at most and of course the ambulance that picked us up passed the hospital right up. The box u-turned quickly as the driver muttered shit up his breath. When they took him out of the ambulance and he wasn’t moving, he wasn’t fighting anymore… “I love you baby” I shouted one more time.

I entered the ER and they refused to let me back with him because we were not legally married. We didn’t have that piece of paper but we were partners all the same. I sat down in the waiting room and just sobbed quietly to myself. Within a matter of minutes my mother and sister had made it to the hospital. I told them what was going on, how they wouldn’t let me see him. My sister has never been one to take no for answer, but after numerous no’s and her threats-they finally agreed to let my sister and I to see him. “Thank you God. He can pull out of this, he has to, for us, for our baby. He’s strong, maybe just some rehab and everything will be back to normal, plenty of people have survived stroke. Oh God please let him be okay” my thoughts raced as we walked down the dimly lit corridor. “Have you ever seen someone intubated?”my sister questioned. “Yeah, back when mom was sick”.”Okay, I just want you to be prepared when we walk in”.