I still remember every word and every detail from those short 24 hours of holding on to faith and hope.
|I won't be sharing every little detail|
Mr A, Baby Bear, and I were all sitting in Subway eating lunch when I got the call from my Dad that my brother was in the hospital, he told me what happened leading up to him being taken to the hospital, which sounded like a stroke, but they found bleeding on his brain and he was being transported to the medical center downtown, in critical condition. We dropped everything at that very moment.
We made it to the hospital and there was a lot of waiting. We walked across the street to one of the only places open, which happened to be Chipotle and brought it back. I could hardly eat. The doctor finally made it in to speak with us and mentioned a blockage, where a clot had been removed from the back of his neck to re-establish blood flow to his brain. They said he was doing okay, and we were able to see him. I remember standing at the foot of his hospital bed as they were testing his reflexes, which were responsive, then they did the flashlight in his pupils and they dilated. The doctors were in good hopes, and we were told to go get some sleep. I went and picked up my brother's son, who was 2, and my daughter to take them to my house. I held those babies tight, tucked them in bed with lots of hugs and kisses. We were hopeful all was going to be okay. Until I got the call. The call to get the kids dropped off at school and come right away, and I did.
I got to the hospital, and was told his brain started swelling through the night, they put a tube in to relieve some pressure, but hours later as we were all around his bed, that is when the words nobody should ever have to hear came out of the doctors mouth. He said they have done everything they could possibly do. He then went through the motions of explaining their findings, how much in shock and disbelief they were that a 33 year old would have these symptoms. He was pronounced brain dead. I remember them doing the flashlight test again with his pupils, and there was nothing. It was a blur, but yet remember every detail, including the woman hacking and puking behind us, while we tried not to laugh. And the doctors that kept saying there had to be some underlying cause they just could not see. An underlying cause. I threw myself over my brother's warm body and sobbed. I have never been so shattered and heartbroken in my entire life. I was at the hospital all afternoon. Forced into lunch at Chipotle again. So many people showed up, and I was grateful that we all had the support. I don't remember the drive home. I pretty much cried all the way to Baby Bear's school, and in the parking lot before pulling myself together to go in and get her. I bawled in the driver seat as she sat in the backseat because I knew just as much as I was broken at the time, I was going to have to break her too. We did everything together. His son and my daughter were being raised almost like brother and sister. She still cries, and misses her Uncle to this day.
The next days and weeks were just a blur. Everything happened so fast, but it was slow motion at the same time. People came and went, and then there was the silence. The stillness. It all sank in. That is when it was real. It was almost as if his passing was not to be spoken of. Maybe it was just uncomfortable, maybe they just didn't know what to say or do. I did have my one constant that was always sending random texts asking how I was, and I appreciate that from her more than she will ever know, because when I felt my loneliest and when nobody was saying anything, she was always reaching out. It was hard for me to believe, only one person, out of so many cherished friendships.
Grief can be lonely. The world keeps on going, when all you want is for time to stand still, and that is the reality of it. I had to remain strong for my child. I had to hold it together for her, and I still do. If I lost it, so would she. That is just the kind heart and spirit that sweet girl has. I would cry in the shower, or on the way to Baby Bear's school when she couldn't see me from the back seat.
The first year was the hardest. I always wanted to pick up the phone and call him about something that just happened, or to just chat like we did daily. Then of course you realize you can't. Habits die hard, especially when you lose your person, your best friend. Someone who has been there since the day you were born. I can still hear his voice, and his laugh.
I still to this day do not eat Chipotle.
That first year brought me a new friendship that I cannot imagine life without now. Some days she is the only person I talk to. I was given 2 amazing co-workers that I will have lasting friendships with, who I also cherish and appreciate, even if most of the time we are laughing at my expense!
He has been with us everywhere since his passing. Baby Bear has certainly never been in any shortage of ladybug encounters since his passing. I still see him and feel him, and can hear his voice of reason. It took time to notice the little and subtle things. If anything, he has lead me to living in the moment, to really enjoy my daughter more, and most of all, he had brought Mr A into my life a couple years before he passed. It's funny how that works sometimes, isn't it? He was making sure all of us were taken care of before his passing. Not just me, but his wife and my younger brother too. I do believe in God, and I do believe in a higher power. There have been feelings and instances that I can only describe by true acts of God. In my darkest days and darkest moments, I know he is always there watching over me. The feeling of a brush across my forehead when I was going through some of the worst days and worst pain imaginable with my scleritis, looking up and nobody being there, repeatedly, to the way Little Miss Sunshine looks at me on occasion. I just cannot explain it any other way. It is a presence, you just feel it, and you know they are there.
I recently had the TV on for background noise about a month ago after my cousin's passing (which also hit our family pretty hard) and something told me I needed to watch what was on. It was Mystery Diagnosis on the Discovery Channel. (My brother's autopsy results weren't exactly conclusive) This brought some enlightenment for me. I have always been a "why" person, and it may or may not have been the case, but I think it is closer to anything else I have seen to what may have caused such an ending to his short life. Start it at 24:00 minutes in, and that is the story (ignore the subtitles).
I don't believe in coincidences, and today is the official release date for Heaven is for Real, and I will be going to see it tonight, which couldn't be more perfect timing.