Thursday, July 16, 2009

Entry #322

I have wanted to write this entry for some time but I could not find the words, strength, and just debated the appropriateness.
However, I need to get this out of my head.
I am hoping by writing it down, it will lie still.
The constant replay will die down.
So be warned this may be hard to read.

In my relatively short lifespan, I have seen two people die.
First, the boy-I-moved-to-Florida-with's mom and second, Roger.
Both were similar in nature as in they were both taken off life support.

Both experiences are burned into my memory forever.
And ever.
How could I forget.
How could anyone forget.
It is one reason I did not want certain people like my friend Holly to see Roger die.
I did not want that to be the last memory of him.
I was afraid of how peacefully or not he would go.

As for the first time I witnessed death face to face, it was horrifying.
My ex-boyfriend tried to convince might not to be there.
To just wait outside.
But I could not.
Damn stubbornness.
And for years, I regretted that decision but at the same time, now I am grateful for the experience. (What? Man, that sounds weird/crazy.)
She gasped.
She gurgled.
The sound of the heart monitor beeping.
Those images and sounds haunt me still.

With Roger, Grace and I decided to donate any and all of his organs they would take.
Not really realizing what that meant at the time.
It meant Roger would need to be close to the operating room.
It meant that instead of dying in a private room where he had been for the previous six days, he would die in a semi-private area in the pre-op area.
Where other people would be.
Where only a wall would separate us from the non-dying.
It meant we would only have a few moments after his official passing to be with him.

First, they took him away to prep him.
Then they took him off the machines and we joined him.
As I walked down the forever long hallway, I turned around to see who was with me.
I actually do not remember exactly who came besides a few faces but I know it was a long line of people following me.
Roger's aunt, Noelia. His coworker, Patrick. My friend, Cecilia. Grace. Tania. His cousin, Alex.
Those are the only people I specifically remember.
But I know there were a ton of people in a very small confined space.
But the hospital staff were awesome.

The nurse started pumping him with morphine.
For the pain they told me.
But, I know the respiratory depression side effect of overdosing on morphine.
Plus they had already told me how his pain sensory was gone.

I was screaming.
I was crying.
I was holding his hand.
I was running my hands through his hair.
I wanted to climb up into the bed with him.
I wanted for him to die holding me.

Roger's skin was turning ashy and grey.
His hair was starting to come out in clumps.
Alex was pushing the heart monitor to silence it.
His eyes kept trying to open as his involuntary reflexes started to go.
But after probably twenty of the longest minutes of my life, he peacefully went.
He did not gasp much.
He did not gurgle.
He did not struggle.
He was gone.

Why did I put myself through this?
I had to.
There was no way I would let him die without me.
I had to know it was real.
It was not some sick dream.
Some sick trick.
He was really gone.

The hardest part was leaving him.
I just wanted to go with him.
But I had agreed to let him be a hero.
Let me save as many lives as he could.

This whole scene replays over and over again.
It happens a lot while I am driving.
Not because of the crash but just because I do a lot of thinking while driving.

The crazy thing is how long ago this all happened.
Sometimes it feels like last month.
Sometimes it feels like years and years ago.
But it was a little less than eleven months ago.
Less than eleven months ago, I left my husband on the fourth floor at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Less than eleven months ago, I had to witness him leaving me.
Just less than eleven months ago...


Sean said...

truly chilling

Rick said...

I am so sorry!!

I too witnessed death with my wife at hospice. It is terrifying and it sucks!!

Many hugs!!!

Roads said...

Endless replays. They last a long time.

In its way, I think it's a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder.

'If something troubles you to think about, then try not to think about it.' Was that the grief counsellor, or was it Lucy in Charlie Brown?

I don't know, but it doesn't really work. You learn to cope with it, and to accept the unacceptable. I guess it's learning, and wisdom of a kind.

Anonymous said...

While there is nothing that can truly help in a situation like yours, I hope that posting this provided you with at least a little ease from your mind.

I recall the seemingly endless tears as I wrote about my Elias' passing, not to mention having witnessed it and then replaying it endlessly as Roads mentioned.

I too am sorry. Thinking of you,

Crash Course Widow said...

You know, because I wasn't with Charley when he died--COULDN"T be with him, since I wasn't notified about it til 2 hours later and he was already "on ice" (errr....refrigeration) at the morgue when the police told me, and because I couldn't see his body for 2 days (curse that tissue donation...I had no idea it'd mean such a long delay in getting to see him when I authorized it, even KNOWING that it was what he--and I--wanted)--I *had* to be there to witness a natural death when Charley's grandfather was dying last month. I needed to know what it was like, having only known the aftermath of "dead"...but not "dying."

And I get the flashbacks/endless replays too. I'm sure I had them with Charley too (although I mercifully can't really remember them anymore from the foggy amnesia I have about that first year of widowhood now)...but I've noticed I'm REALLY having them this week with what happened with my dog. And obviously a dog is totally different than a person, a husband, a life partner...but it's been a good/odd reminder this week of the havoc that unexpected death can wreak in your life.

I hope it helped sharing this post, just writing it and getting it off your chest, so to speak. always. ~Candice