15 years ago I graduated high school fresh and ready for adulthood. I had such great plans for my life. Who knew that all those plans would never truly be. I was ready to go to college for fashion design. I was leaving home and running away from my adolescence. Running away from the addiction that others suffered from in my life. I was free. The door to freedom was open and I was running towards it at full force. Little did I know that it would slam before I could even reach it. Life had other plans for me, and freedom wasn’t it.
The Night To Change All Nights
This is a night that I wish I could forget, but thankful at the same time that I can’t. This was the last night I got to spend with the most beautiful soul I will have ever known. I am thankful I was able to have this night. My mom was sick all the time. It had weighed me down so much that I just wanted to run away. She was sick from her illness, from her addiction, and from her life. On this night I got to laugh with her and talk to her like an adult. We were equals, on even ground. There was lots of laughing involved.
The night had a heavy air about it….
After her trip to the hospital earlier that day, we both knew something wasn’t quite right…. We held the false hopes that tomorrow would be a new day. Tomorrow all things would be better and we would march on in life like there was nothing ever wrong the day before. Deep down I knew it and she knew it that tomorrow would never be the same. Tomorrow would never be the day we hoped it would be.
She just has her earplugs in….
I finally went to bed at 3 am. By the time I woke up at 1030am, I could hear my grandmother screaming my mom’s name. I remember thinking about why my grandma would be doing that and why
she sounded so distressed. My mom was tired from a late night and was sleeping. She couldn’t hear because she had earplugs. Her earplugs were causing her to not hear my grandmas frantic voice. I can remember a handful of times that I had to shake my mom awake. Why wasn’t my grandmother just shaking her?? So I rolled out of bed ready to wake my mom up and make my grandmother stop with her “freak out” session she did from time to time.
I was shuffling in….
So I have found myself rolled out of bed and shuffling to my mother’s room, where my grandma is screaming “Jenny” like a broken record. I shook her. Her body had little give. So I shook her again. Still, very little give to my pushes. Before I let myself fully let go and reach the level of my grandmother I pull out her earplug. She had them in at night so she could sleep all night. They were in still you know. I pulled it out trying to calmly call out mom. Instead of a calm sounding voice that I was sure I could produce I remember screaming it like my grandma was screaming. I can’t say how many times I screamed it, I am pretty sure it was a lot.
I was trained for this….
After screaming for who knows how long, my next thought was to flip her over. She loved to read to sleep, and last night wasn’t any different. After I flipped her over I didn’t pay attention to anything other than performing CPR. Thinking back the compressions weren’t pushing her chest in like they should have, and it is something that I can just now reflect on. I did the exact number of compressions I was trained to do. Now it was time to administer air. I looked up at what was once my mom and knew that breathing into her was never going to be an option for me. Rigamortis had set in and her arms were stuck to her forehead. She had mucous plugs in her nose due to her laying on her stomach and ultimately face.
It would have reached me to the depths of my soul…..
Once my eyes reached her lips I truly say how black they were, they matched her eyelids. It was from the blood pooling there, Once I saw her lips I knew that if I attempted to touch them with my own, I would breath in her death, The death that was surrounding her would enter me and reach the deepest parts of my soul. I couldn’t let that happen. At this point, I knew she was gone and there was nothing I could do to help her anymore. Why didn’t I just bring her back to the hospital the night before….??
Call for help!!
I remember hearing my grandma on the phone. She was failing miserably at talking to the operator. I had to take over and talk to them, I had to tell them where we lived. What was her name? They needed her age? Can’t forget her health record…. I am not sure how long the call was. My voice kept telling them over and over that she was gone. I told them what I did and how she looked before I could administer breaths. Finally, I was able to get off the phone. I could breathe……
Who was going to make the calls??
Wait, who was going to make the calls to let others know. I held my pieces together so that I could call her friend. She needed to know that, “my mommy died”. I got off the phone only to have her call back to make me repeat what I had just told her. After that call I climbed into my moms reclining chair screaming my mommy is dead, my mommy is dead. I was trying to consume her chair into me. It was one of her favorite places to be and I wanted to blend in with it like the chair and I were one. It didn’t work….. Why couldn’t I be a chair that day!?!? Why did I have to be me? I had to be the bringer of bad news. I had to let everyone know that a beautiful soul left us.
Who else would be the structure if not me….
I made a handful of calls, the important ones to the important people. I could make the rest later. Up until this point, no one has told her… I didn’t want it to be me. I remember wishing I could be anyone but me. As I made my way down the stairs in the back yard I was thinking of all the things I could say. I was inching towards that tent trying to muster all the strength I had. Strong was exactly what I needed to be. I had to be the structure that held everyone together.
I am so sorry….
While unzipping the tent flap I remember saying how sorry I was over and over. How could I say anything else other than sorry? There was no way I was ready to tell her the words that I knew would threaten to crush her like they were me. This was the day I told my little sister, her hero was dead. The woman that everyone said she looked like, was no more. I tried to be so strong. Being strong didn’t work. Before I knew it, the words came out in a flood with I’m sorry stuffed in between each word. I’m sure I sounded like a broken record. This was by far one of the worst things I have ever had to do in my life.
Before I knew it
I called every number in her phonebook. Someone had to tell them all and I knew it wasn’t going to be me later on. People flooded my living room. I did my job, I was strong. My job as being the glue and structure was over. I was able to crawl into bed and fall apart. So that is exactly what I did. It was someone else turn to hold it all together. My blanket became my cave and it was one that I had no intention of leaving for as long as I could.
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