Sunday I went to the hospital again on my way to work. The news wasn't good. They had run more test on my aunt and as I suspected all along there was no part of her brain that had cognitive thinking going on. The stem was the only part functioning. Brain swelling was beginning to set in and a decision was to be made on what to do. The staff told my uncle if he didn't want to have to make the decision that if he simply waited she would die from brain swelling in a few days. I walked back to my aunts room. Two of her children sat at her bedside, heads laid over on her crying. My uncle was staring out the window, but turned and walked towards me and gave me a hug as I entered the room. I walked over to my aunt. I took hold of her hand and rubbed her arm. Still warm. So warm to the touch, yet I still felt that same chill of death in the room I had felt on Friday. I knew Friday she wasn't there. They need to hold on to and belief she was though so who am I to say anything to them. I told my cousins she would always be with them in their hearts and I knew that was of little comfort or none at all, but she would always be here with them. I told my uncle I wished there was something I could say or do, but I knew there wasn't. A tear escaped out of my right eye. I wiped it away and choked back the others. I was still resolved to keep to my promise. One made to myself. I sent a text to my brother letting him know Ellis, my uncle had decided to pull the plug. Ellis was waiting for a family meeting once all his children were there. My cousin Jessica's little boy was released from the hospital so at least something good had happened. We all sat almost silent as we knew my uncle was talking to his children in their mothers room. It seemed like an eternity, but was only in reality about twenty minutes until they all came out. Crying and everyone out there was well aware of the decision their dad had made. The one to let his wife go. To let her find peace. My uncle had said yesterday he was almost sorry he had gotten her heart started back, but that out of selfishness he would probably do it all over again. I think what he did was give her children time to say good bye. Time to adjust. Sudden death is so shocking and although I believe she was never really back, she died there in her home, just her heart had started back, I believe it gave them time to emotionally prepare. I know I am lucky and I have had my parents far longer than some people, but I don't think at any age we are ever really prepared or ready to say good bye to our mom's and dad's. I dread the day. I understood my cousin when she said she'd rather have been the one that died. I've thought that myself on occasion, but I've also thought of it as a selfish thought. I know the torment a parent would suffer at the loss of a child, so would I really wish that on my parents? Neither way is good. One of life's cruel little realities.
I went back over to the hospital around 5:15 P.M. but my uncle Robert was running behind schedule. My cousin Jessica said she knew he would be. They were waiting for him to get here from Tennessee. I sat over there and talked with relatives on my lunch break. I was kind of happy that things were not progressing. I really wanted to be there for them, but a big part of me didn't really want to be there when they pulled the plug. That sounds so cold doesn't it? Pulled the plug? I guess that is actually what they do, but you think they would soften it with something like "when they allow her to rest". The people and staff at Lutheran really are outstanding. They have taken every opportunity to take really good care of my aunt and show respect. Me knowing that they knew she's not there. They were doing it for her family. They have every since she was in there on Friday allowed as many and whomever wanted to go in to go in. If you know anything about hospitals and especially the ICU you know that isn't a good sign. They usually only allow a couple at a time. To me that was just another of a long list of red flags that screamed out to me that it was over. Everything was done but the fat lady singing as they say. My one cousin is past crying at this point. She just sits and stares at her mother. I think she's probably numb. Another of my aunts... My uncle Rogers wife, is saddened on many levels but finds it hard to be there. Hard to be where her beloved Roger was a few years back. She spoke of the same smells. My aunt is only one room over from where he was. It's a walk I'm familiar with. It's a walk I'm sure my aunt Arlene is way too familiar with. I didn't go into my aunts room this time when I was there though. I had said my good bye earlier when I was there. I couldn't stand the thought of going back there knowing it was the last time, so I opted not to go and to return to work. So when I returned to work my aunt Sandy was still breathing. Far from alive. As I've stated that battle in my mind was over on Friday. So I sat at work in a sort of malaise. Just waiting for someone to call and tell me it was over. Knowing it may be minutes, hours or even days for her blood pressure to drop and them to declare her dead. My one aunt that was sitting in the waiting room and I were talking. My uncle is a man of modest means. No burial insurance. No idea how he's going to pay for this funeral that he's not even wanting to think of. One step at a time is all he can do. He told me this afternoon when I went over there that he had gone home to feed and take care of my aunts babies as she called them. Her dogs. She loved her dogs. So strange a feeling to be waiting for them to tell you someone is dead that is all ready deceased in your mind. I suppose it adds a touch of finality; however, anyone having lived through this scenario knows it doesn't really seem real anyway. Not really. You know it is, but it's almost as if you're dreaming it and could wake up at any time. The bodies own defense mechanism perhaps? In the late hours of the evening my cousin Matt let me know that my uncle couldn't bring himself to have her removed from the life support system today. So tomorrow he will attempt again. I can't even imagine how hard this is for him. I can't imagine how hard it would be to say good bye to your partner of thirty years. To be the one who says yes I understand there is no brain activity, but the body is warm and the chest is rising and falling. I know I know. It's machines, but once that equipment is turned off there is no going back. There is no redoing it. There is only self doubt and speculation to what might have been even if the mind knows there is no logical way she's coming back. So hard to say that one last good bye. That one last time of touching her hand and having it warm. I can't imagine.