Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Part One

The Saturday of Labor Day weekend was planned as a "day off" for Thomas and I.  With Thomas' aunt coming into town and knowing that it was going to be ungodly hot that weekend it was decided that we would enjoy that day at his parents house.  Swim in their pool all afternoon and relax before spending the next several days moving into the new house.  There was still so much work to do there, but we needed this day so badly.  The two weekends prior had been spent cleaning and painting and dealing with contractors/handy men who only seemed to be handy at taking our money in exchange for shitty workmanship.  The home buying process was exhausting enough and we had such a long road ahead of us in terms of making the home exactly what we wanted.  But that Saturday off was well deserved.  Our moving plans were set into motion and we were excited to finally get to this new chapter in our lives.

That Saturday morning we took a few boxes of belongings over to the house in anticipation for the moving to begin the next day.  We scooped up the dogs, stopped for provisions (read: beer. lots of it.) and spent the afternoon lounging poolside.  It was just like any other Saturday spent at his parents house.  Pool, beer, music, food.

It was around 6 when I heard my cell ringing.  Funny thing about that, I rarely leave my phone outside when we're at his parents house.  Usually I take it inside and that's where it stays until we leave.  I had just cracked a fresh beer and finished a slice a pizza when "Gramma" popped up on my cell phone.  I can count on one hand the amount of times that woman has called me since I've owned a phone.  I always call her.  She only calls me when it's bad.  Bad enough that she can't handle it herself.

The conversation itself wasn't filled with panic, but concern, confusion.

"The police just called me.  About your mother."
"Was she arrested?  Was it a DUI?"
"No no.  She fell.  She hit her head.  They took her by ambulance to the hospital. Your sister is picking me up and we're heading over there."
"Oh.  Is she okay?"
"They couldn't tell me anything else.  Only that I should go to the hospital as soon as possible."
"Okay.  Well get there and call me and let me know what's going on.  It doesn't seem that bad though.  I mean, if it was bad they would've told you I'm sure."
"I don't know.  I have a feeling this is pretty bad."
"Don't worry, Gramma.  It's not like she's going to die.  She's too stupid to die."
"Don't say that.  We don't know anything yet.  I'll call you when I get there.  I love you."
"I love you too."

I walked back to the table where everyone was sitting and told Thomas that mom was at some hospital because she hit her head.  I didn't know anything but Gramma was on her way and would update me.

It started to get dark out and the phone rang again.

She fell down some stairs.  She was alone.
Serious injury.
"They are still in surgery.  I'm waiting for a doctor."

An hour passes and my sister is texting me.  Telling me they're still waiting to talk to someone.

The phone rings.

Brain damage.  Severe but unsure of the extent.  She's in a coma.  A nurse is giving pieces of information.  No doctor yet.

My sister texts me, "I wish you were here.  I don't know what to do."
I look at Thomas and tell him I need to go.  To Missouri.  Now.

I call my grandmother.

"Do I need to come there?  If you tell me you need me there I'm on my way."
"I don't know yet.  Let me wait to talk to the doctor before you decide to leave.  Maybe it's not as bad as we think."

I begin saying out loud that I need to go but I can't go.  Thomas has to work, we have to move, the dogs, we only have one car right now.  Why is this happening?

Thomas' parents convince me that I need to stay put.  Wait just a little while longer.  Wait for another phone call.  I already knew it though.  I knew I would need to go.

The phone rings again.

"She's out of surgery.  She's on life support.  The doctor wasn't optimistic."
"Do I need to come there?  Say it and I'm there."
"I don't think that would be a bad idea."
"I will call you as soon as I have a flight.  I love you and I'll be there soon.  I promise."
"I love you too, honey."

I tell Thomas that she's on life support.  I have to go.  I have to get another car and get on the road.  Or get on a plane.  Anything that would set me in motion to get there, get to all of them, as soon as humanly possible.

I walk into the house to get my wallet, my credit card.  All the car rental places are closed, I have to fly.  I turn and see Thomas standing behind me.  He put his arms around me and I lost it.  After holding it together for those past few hours, after not crying in front of my in-laws, I let my husband hold me because I could no longer hold myself.  I was terrified.

I booked the first flight out the next morning.

I hugged my in-laws goodbye and told them I would keep them posted.  Each of them crying as I hugged them.  Each of them telling me they loved me.  Each of them praying for an outcome different than the one I had already prepared my mind for.

Life support isn't for the living.

I packed as soon as I got home and for the first time in my entire adult life I packed just one bag, small enough for carry on.  Few clothes, essentials, make up, no hair dryer.  Just enough to get me through a few days knowing that I had to be back by Thursday at the latest.  We still had to move into the new house and Thomas couldn't do it alone.  I had four days.

I didn't sleep that night.  With my phone by my side I was constantly on edge, waiting for a call or a text.  At 5 in the morning my sister sent me a text telling me that Mom had a 106 fever.  She looked so bad.  Please hurry.  I can't do this by myself.

Thomas and I were headed to the airport an hour later.  I asked him to drop me at curb side check in.  I needed to get through security and I was running late.  I didn't want to say goodbye to him and then watch him walk away.  We stood by the car and as he hugged me I could feel his tears on my neck.  With every single thing about this situation out of his control he had to let his wife go.  Let her go to deal with something terrible and sad and there was absolutely nothing he could do.  I couldn't watch him drive away so I walked inside and standing in the security line I did my absolute best to not break down.

As I boarded the plane I sent him a text telling him that I loved him.  I would call him when I got there.

I checked Facebook and for the very first time since having a Facebook account I asked my friends for their prayers.  Prayers for my family.  All the while praying to God to give me the strength to get through this.  To heal my mother.  To bring peace to all of our lives.  I was grateful no one was in the seat next to me during the flight.  As we reached just above the clouds I silently cried.  I would be there soon.

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