Friday, March 12, 2010

The Past Few Days

The past few days have been strenuous.  I wish I could say that they were strenuous because they involved a lot of training, but alas not the case.

I mentioned in my last post (and thank you everyone for your supportive comments!) that my Mom had called about my Aunt being in the hospital.  Well, Monday we had no more news really.  It was swim practice night and I'd had a really bad feeling that afternoon and a visit from my Aunt's spirit.  For those of you who don't believe in that sort of thing, you'll never experience it but since almost everyone in the family had an experience where they literally knew my Aunt was with them at a certain point I'm telling you it's real.
I was sitting in my office and I literally started looking around and I fully expected to see my Aunt standing right there with me in the room.  I said out loud that I knew she was there and the next thing I knew my forearms were ice cold, and just like she used to grab my forearms when she saw me to look me in the face and say "let me see you" and then give me a hug.  Forearms like ice and then on my back just like someone was hugging me.  I told her I loved her and that I just wanted her to be happy and to be at peace.  And then both the cold and the feeling that she was in the room disappeared.  So I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to work and trying to get my parents on the phone.  I finally got to my Mom when I arrived at the pool for practice and she told me that there still was no news, that they had done an EKG and EEG that came back as inconclusive and so they'd wean her off the medicine and try to warm her body to see if she'd come out of a coma and they'd test again.  They were still telling me that I needed to go to Boston on Wednesday for my business trip.

I was in a foul mood.  I was pretty angry at this point with my Aunt.  The fact that she never stopped smoking and that this was the result.  I broke a pair of goggles, had to borrow another, and finally got in the pool.  My body was pretty heavy in the water and I was pretty slow, but I figured it must be because of the 1/2 marathon the day before.  After practice I headed home and my stomach wasn't feeling overly great.

Angelfish had been missing me, to the point that she had been crying for 15 minutes according to Mr. Darcy.  She snuggled up and just really wanted me from the second she saw me.  Looking back, I wonder if she's gotten the Polish Spidey sense that my Dad's whole side of the family has.  She wanted me with her to the point I had to lay in her bed until she fell asleep.  By the time I left the room, my stomach felt rotten.

I made it into our bedroom, put on my pjs, ate some chocolate (big mistake), and laid down.  In 5 minutes, I was in the bathroom puking my guts out.  I would say luckily I hadn't eaten all that much that day because I wasn't overly hungry, except that meant that at one point I would be drinking water just to have something to throw up because my stomach bile was the only thing left and that was plain awful.  3 1/2 hours later (and sparing you some majorly disgusting and painful imagery), I finally stopped and got some sleep.

Around 3:30 am, I woke up thinking someone had poured sand in my mouth because I was so thirsty.  I drank 8 oz of Gatorade that tasted like the best thing I had ever had in my life, and drank a 2nd cup and then a cup of water.  And prayed to keep it down.  It stayed down, thank goodness.

I got up in time to take the girls to daycare and then emailed my Boss.  I told her about my Aunt and about my terrible stomach virus and said I'd still go to Boston if she wanted, but I wanted to leave the option of having someone else go up to her.  She suggested I check with my back up who told me she could go.  As soon as I found out she could go, my Mom called and told me that the doctors had declared my Aunt brain dead.  Turns out the 1st tests had showed no brain waves, and the 2nd set confirmed it. I cancelled my flight, took care of details regarding the seminar I was to have taught, and slept the entire rest of the day.

That evening, I talked to my parents again.  My cousins were going to meet with the doctors about organ donation that evening and they were going with them. 

By Wednesday morning I was finally feeling somewhat better, but as soon as Mr. Darcy and the kids left, I felt like I had to go to see my parents and my cousins.  So I packed up, called Mr. Darcy with the plan, got in the car and drove.  I had an idea of trying to make it to see my Aunt before they took her body to harvest the organs.  The policeman that pulled me over while I was doing 75 in a 50 (which I honestly did not see any signs that said the speed limit was 50 on that ramp and 2nd I really didn't know how fast I was going because I was thinking I just wanted to get there while my stomach was rolling a little bit from the breakfast I ate) prevented me from making it in time.  That and my having to stop for gas.  But at least I got a warning and a nice talking to and a sympathetic police officer when I told him my Aunt had died, I was trying to get to my parents house and I honestly had no clue how fast I was going.  He made me promise him that I would watch the speed and be careful.  So I'm guessing I was visably upset, aside from the obvious when I started crying.  I didn't miss it when he said my ticket would have been $281.  Thanked him and was an angel the entire rest of the drive.

I got to my parents' house essentially 15 minutes too late.  But at this point, I think that maybe I wasn't supposed to see the shell of her body laying there.  Even my cousins said that it was kind of strange seeing her for the last time knowing she wasn't in there and that she somehow didn't quite look exactly like her anymore.  It was good to be there for my parents and my cousins, and to be able to answer legal questions (before my corporate foray, I was an estate planning and estate and gift tax attorney too) to help them understand what they had to do legally with things.

I spent the night and most of yesterday there too.  I went to see my Grammy too.  We had to decide as a family that we weren't going to tell Grammy that my Aunt, her daughter, my Dad's sister, had died.  She has really bad Alzheimer's and the doctor told us that the point she is at is where she may absorb one piece of information in a day, but that if she absorbs something it can get caught in a loop and replay itself in her head.  So he said that if we told her, either she wouldnt' get it at all or if she absorbed it her brain could play it in a loop making her suffer for the rest of her days.  So, we all agreed.  She is not to know.  Grammy doesn't talk anymore, and she pretty much sits or lays with her eyes closed and opens them every so often for just a moment to look around and then closed again.  It was horrible to see her that way.  The only bright moment was when she opened her eyes when I first got there and she had this amazingly excited and happy look for about a minute - as though she at least recognized that I was someone she loved and she was happy to see me.  She repeated that again when she saw my Dad, but she couldn't say a thing to us.  To say the least, I cried after we left.  I wish she wasn't suffering like that, and I wish that my Dad and Mom didn't have to suffer from seeing her like that.  Dad goes 3-4 times a week minimum to see her and drop things off at the facility.  Then we did a few errands that my parents needed to do and met up with my cousins for a bit before they had to head to the funeral home to finalize payment on my Aunt's cremation and then head to the lawyer's office about what to do for the estate proceedings (they both live a good bit aways from there).  Then I drove home, picked the girls up from school early, and played with them and watched a movie.

Mr. Darcy had a deadline for work that he had to work late for, so he didn't get home until 11:30 (and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep around 9:20 last night).

This morning I woke up with some anxiety.  Worrying about my Grammy and my parents and cousins and having a worry or a feeling that something else might happen.  Mr. Darcy and I decided we'd go visit my parents this weekend and we'd leave after he gets home from work.  I called my Mom who said as far as she was concerned we were welcome to come.  I told her good, we'd be there this evening.  And I felt a little better about things.  We told the girls that we were going to see Nanna and Poppop and they hooped and hollered and literally did happy dances.  It made me smile like nothing else.

The girls and Mr. Darcy headed out the door and I got that anxiety feeling back again, but my friend N. called and then Little Sister called to check on me afterwards and it seemed to ease away again.  I'm working today so that's helped distract me too.

It will be good to be with my parents for the weekend.  And then next weekend looks like it will be the memorial service.  I'll miss my sprint triathlon this Saturday, but I'm okay with it.  I feel like I'm going where I'm supposed to be right now and this time I'll have the people I was missing when I was there the past two days - Mr. Darcy and the Little Ladies.  Now let's just hope this anxiety shoos away.  I'm bringing running gear, in case I need a run. And Mr. Darcy mentioned the beach.  That might be a good thing for the Little Ladies, Mom and Dad, the Cousins, and me.  I'll have to see what I can manage.

Highs and lows and back again.  But unlike Sunday's 1/2 marathon, my hip flexors aren't cursing at me.  Thank goodness.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure this is a tough time but it might help to try to sneak away, even if only for a short time, to try to recharge mentally. The beach sounds like a great idea.

  2. So sorry to hear about the tough time you and your family are going through. Losing a family member is never easy and reminds us how fleeting life is. Hug the girls and Mr. Darcy a bit tighter this weekend and try to relax and enjoy family. Take care of yourself too.

  3. so sorry to read about your aunt. sounds like you have very fond memories of her and that you have a strong family around you. hope you are also feeling better GI wise. take care.