Each night I stare at the sky
the thousands of twinkling stars
and I imagine you there
dancing among the Moonbeams.

And the tears flow like rain
as I think of the time we were together
I am broken now, lost without you
But I know, the thing that will always connect us
are our Heartstrings

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It Almost Didn't Happen

I was rudely awoken this morning to yelling. An unusual sound in this house. I finally figured out that Bill was on the phone with Jon, it didn't sound good.

Silence.  Bill came in the bedroom and I was worried. He was red, beet red and shaking. There is a problem, he said, Jon is not bringing the little kids out. What the hell, come on, today was our Christmas for the grand kids. Bill was so upset I thought he would stroke out or have a heart attack. I finally got out of him what the problem was.

We had asked the boys dad to bring them out early. That way we could visit with them and they could help us get everything ready so when the Tasmanian devils arrived we could focus on them instead of trying to prepare brunch while visiting them. He took it the wrong way, thought we were playing favorites assumed the worst and went off half cocked.

As soon as I quit crying, I called him. I was able to get him to HEAR what I was saying and smooth things over. You see, Jon was raised by an alcoholic mother and step-dad. He learned to always assume the worst, don't trust anyone, get them before they get you. Very sad. As an adult he has not learned that we are all not that way. He is the father of 2 of my grandchildren, as such, I would NEVER do anything to intentionally hurt him, nor would I the older threes dad. To cause them pain would cause my grand babies pain. It was done to me as a child, I will not allow that to happen to them. I hope someday, he will see we are always true to our word and will not hurt him.

So, finally they were all there. The first half hour or so was awkward, and I feared today would be a bust. With kids around, it is hard to stay upset, and soon we were all laughing at their antics. Jon's son by a previous marriage was also here.  We became quite attached to him since Jessika and his dad married. We treat him exactly like the 3 older boys, same type and number of gifts and everything. We even told him we want him to spend at least one night a month with us. We set it up with the older boys and their dad for them to spend every other weekend with us, and  Reagan can come with them when he wants. He seemed to like that. I didn't get anything set up with Jon concerning the two little ones. After the rough start I didn't want to push my luck.

My surprise today, my healing is beginning. I didn't miss Jessika today. That sounds harsh, I don't mean it to. I felt her today, all day. I just knew if I turned my head quick enough I would catch her standing behind me, her presence was that strong, and so comforting.

Tomorrow, the pain will most likely be back, as will the tears. But, this was a start. It reminded me that Jessika will always be with us, we might not see her, but we can feel her. Perhaps that is why I had so many memories thrown at me this week. Jessika was trying to tell me she was here. I love that, I love her and she has never been subtle. Right now I long to see her, but it is more like after she spent the day here and went home. It isn't the raging pain I have had. My heart is not aching quite so much tonight. I miss her, and wish I could have her back, erase the last year, especially for her children's sake. I can't, I have to accept and move on. I know someday I will be with her again.

I know she is with her siblings, all the babies I lost, and her two children, babies she lost. She is with her grandfather and her great grandparents who all doted on her. She is safe, she is well, she keeps in touch I just have to figure out what that is each time.

I am exhausted from the emotions of today, the rough start, wonderful middle, and then my realizations. I know I have a lot of bad days to go through yet. But, I feel, well I guess I feel Hope. That is something I haven't felt in a long time. I even laughed today, and it has been a very long time since I did that. I think I will just go to bed now so I can fall asleep with the feel of Jessika in the house. Very comforting, oh, and my battery operated candles with the dead batteries, they are still burning.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Season Greetings, and Blessings

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blue Christmas

Well, the last bow is on and the presents are under the tree, well as much as they can be since it is a small tabletop tree.  I didn't want one, but Ava Beth insisted. I caved. There is no angel on top this year, there never will be again.

I kind of over did the present thing. But does anyone deserve more presents than them, this year? Jessika always took care of presents, I don't know how their dad's will do. So, I went overboard. Oh well, at least I had that brief moment of satisfaction when I found them the perfect gift.

The sticky buns are rising, the rest of the food prepped. The dogs have finally crashed and DH is out cold. Tomorrow we are having our Christmas with the grand kids. My how I miss them. Before she got sick, Jessika had them here several times a week. I haven't seen them since Thanksgiving. I almost feel like I lost them when I lost her. They are separated, the two little ones living with their paternal grandparents and the older three with their dad. This is the second time those older ones have been uprooted, the first being when their parents divorced.  Now this. I can only imagine how they must feel without their Mom, their constant, their touchstone.

I knew the holidays would be painful, this was Jess's time of the year. A time when we did our baking and crafts, and laughed and loved. But I wasn't prepared for it to hurt this much. The pain is as intense as my first week without her.

I am slammed with memories that I am too raw to deal with. I finally got down my winter clothes, in one of the boxes was a small wooden "trunk" that belonged to my grandmother. I have no idea how or why it was in with my clothes. I opened it. I wish I hadn't, the memories rose, specters of the past. Someday I will treasure them, but it is too soon. The first thing I saw was a lock of Jessika's hair from her first hair cut. Down a few more layers was a 5 year olds letter to the tooth fairy. A little deeper was an 8 year olds letter to Santa. Deeper still was the kicker. A letter a teenage Jessika had written to us, thanking us for being her parents, and telling us how much she loved us. The faucets were turned on and I haven't shut them off since.

I didn't do anything traditional this year. I thought, hoped, by doing something really different, and not on Christmas I could get through it, I was wrong.

Since it is a blue Christmas, I used blue, silver and white as my colors on the tree. I didn't do any knick knacks, no snowmen, no holiday movies, no carols. My lone exception was candy jars filled with blue silver and white candies setting in the middle of greens on my coffee table, and battery candles in between. The candles went out Tuesday nite. I didn't have any batteries so I left them. Thursday I cried, I cried a lot, and yelled, a lot. I wanted my daughter, I need my daughter. I left the room for a bit, when I came back in all the candles were glowing again. I will leave it at that and let you make your own assumptions, I have.

Then this morning, I logged into our MyFamily site to get a couple of recipes that I have stored there. I haven't been on there for a long time. I didn't realize the first images I would see would be my Jessika. Again, a treasure, but one I am not ready to deal with.

My goal is to get through tomorrow for the kids. Then I can break down again.  Bill and I are leaving Tuesday for 10 days. A friend will stay at the house to keep an eye on it and the cat. We chose to go to Las Vegas. Can you think of anyplace that would be less Christmassy? We have never been there with her so there won't be added memories. We hope that will help us get through the bulk of the season.

I am going to talk to the kids dads tomorrow to see if we can work out a regular schedule to see the kids. Who is going to teach them what their mother would have, if not the person who taught her? Who will keep their Mother alive for them? They are so young. At 2, Rylan will probably not remember his mother, except what we tell him. Poor Ava Beth, to graduate, go to proms, get married, all without her mother. It is too much. I can't conceive of the situations that will arise without their Mother to turn too.

Who will help me when I am old? She was going to. Now I have no one. I am never going to be called Mother, Mom, again. I know it is selfish of me to even think that way when the kids are going on without being able to call anyone mom. I can't help it. I hurt. I want my daughter. I am really having trouble accepting this. I wake and think it was all a nightmare. Then realize it was real, and the pain washes over me again.

Please, hold your children. Tell them you love them. Make lots of memories, take lots of pictures, and pray, pray hard, that you will never have to rely solely on them and not the warm loving arms of your child, no matter their age.

Have a Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you do choose to celebrate.

Friday, December 9, 2011

NO holiday spirit

I can't get into the spirit of the holidays this year. I know I have an excuse, but I still wanted to do something special for the kids. Don't think that's gonna happen.

The tree I ordered from Maine is still in the box and sitting by the back door. The new ornaments are in their box, and the gifts are in a pile unwrapped. To top it all off, my house looks like a bomb went off in it. DH brought my winter clothes down from the attic (finally) and dumped them out in the bedroom, I can't walk in there, however, the dogs love it and are dragging them into piles or around the house.

I think I need to give myself a pep talk, or more importantly to go meditate and see if I can ground and rejuvenate myself and get something done.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

I lost an arguement

DH and I survived Thanksgiving by doing something we hadn't done before, so there would be no memories connected with it.  Someday we will be ready to enjoy those memories, but now it is just too painful.

We loaded up Bertha (our 1980 something Chevy van) with all 5 grand kids and drove to Ohio. We stayed at a hotel with an indoor/outdoor pool which the kids loved. We were just a short drive from Bill's brother's place (which is why we went) and had an nontraditional meal with them Thanksgiving. I hate to admit it, but although they had lived there for around 10 years, that was our first (of many to come) visit there.

We even took the little ones to see Santa at the mall. Now I know most 2 year olds freeze up or cry when they see Santa in person, not ours. Rylan wouldn't leave! he babbled and babbled, finally Ava Beth, who is 5, grabbed his arm and pulled him away. While we were in line waiting for the picture that was taken, the kids behind us started talking about Santa, well Rylan whirled around quick as can be and informed them that his name was Ho Ho not Santa. Apparently now that Rylan and he are buds he can refer to him informally, and he has since.

It was the kids who got us through. We had planned on skipping Christmas. Ava Beth asked where my tree was.  I told her I wasn't having one this year. She informed me I was and where I was going to put it! OK, I gave up.  We will have a small tabletop tree. I can't bear going through our Christmas stuff as there are too many memories there, so we picked up some new ones, ones with no emotions or memories attached. We will celebrate the holiday the Sunday morning before Christmas with the kids. I will fix brunch as this is something I haven't done since the kids were born, then we will give them their gifts. I did all my shopping online this year, now to wrap.

Instead of traditional decorations, I got 3 large apothecary jars and an assortment of smaller glass jars, and filled them all with different candies in the colors of blue, silver and white, not colors I have used before and the same colors as the new ornaments. I think it looks kind of sweet (no pun intended).

Then DH and I are leaving and not coming back until the 20th. We want to be alone on this first Christmas without Jessika. This was her favorite time of year, and she and I tended to go overboard with our preparations and decorations. This is gonna be tough, really tough.

Thank you for the kind words and support.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Summer

Jessika was first admitted to ICU, then a day later was moved to a step-down floor, big mistake! A week later she was back in ICU and on a vent. It was determined that the yeast had colonized on a heart valve, where it was made it hard for the medications to get it, and the valve was destroyed which is where the clots were coming from. She needed heart surgery but was too weak.

By Memorial weekend the doctors told us she had about a 10% of survival. The infections were swarming her body, her lungs were full, her only nutrition was through IV. We called the family.  They came from Ft. Worth and from LA and Dayton. The older boys were with us, but they went home with their dad after their goodbyes.  They wanted to be with their dad if they got bad news.

On June 2nd we were told to get anyone who wanted to say goodbye to the hospital. The boys came back up, her Aunts, Uncles and cousins came, her grandparents came. Bill's family is devout Catholic, they arranged for a priest to come in and do anointing of the sick. We were all there, Jess managed to open her eyes and participate.

Within hours she started to improve, she was still very sick, but her odds were about 15%.  By this time she had coded twice and been brought back. This scene was repeated all summer.

I was living at the Staybridge Inn in Springfield, and driving to the hospital each day. During the week this was not a problem as they had valet parking, the staff knew me and had a wheelchair ready for me each day, and a volunteer would push me to ICU. DH would come up when it rained (he was busy trying to get crops in the ground and is now dealing with guilt that he wasn't there more). I went into a deep depression, not only was my only child fighting for her life, I was stuck in a hotel room or the hospital.  Because of my health I can't walk but a few feet so unless someone was there to help me that was my only two places I could go. Eventually an online friend moved to Springfield into a duplex they  bought, and I was able to lease the other side. This gave me a 2 bedroom house with a patio and back yard.  I was also able to have Gizmo, my dog with me. My SIL moved in with me so I wouldn't be alone.

As the summer progressed Jess had ups and downs. A trachea was put in to connect the vent too making it easier to read her lips and make it more comfortable for her.  She had periods where she was Jess and then periods of confusion. Once she told us a nurse had stabbed her, then showed us a scar on her chest where she was stabbed, when in reality it was from a surgery she had while in high school. She had a pet raccoon and chased snakes (she was totally bedridden), she tried to convince me to check into the room next door so we could be together.

When I lost my job last year I thought it was the worst thing that could happen. Now I see it was the best. I was able to rebuild my relationship with Jessika, and since I wasn't working, was able to move to Springfield to be with her.  I think life sometimes has a way of giving us what we need, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time.

By August, Jess had coded 4 times, the infection was back and bad. It was her damaged heart valve that kept seeding her blood and allowing the infection to take hold. She became very ill and it was decided that the surgery would have to be done.  Again, a priest came in and prayed over her. The valve replacement was scheduled for a week, by the time it came the infection in her blood had cleared.

The surgery went well until they were moving her to recovery, then she began to bleed out.  She had a reaction early on to the heparin and we bout lost her then. So she couldn't have heparin while she was on the heartlung machine. Nothing else had ever been used in the area so the doctors used that week to look for alternatives. Her organs had all shut down at one point or another over the summer, most were back online except her liver. Because of this the blood thinner was not clearing from her system properly. They had to open her back up and she was that way in the OR for 7 hours until they had it under control. She spent 10 days in the recovery room (instead of the usual few hours), finally she was stable enough to be moved to the coronary care unit.

By now, Jess was down around 85 pounds. She had nothing by mouth since May, all her nutrition was through an IV or feeding tube. Physical therapy began working with her. Her legs had atrophied and she was looking at months of rehab to learn to walk again and do fine movements with her hands.

On September 21st, she was moved to a regular room. The family was very much against this, but we were overruled by insurance. Jessika was finally off the vent, although she still had a trach in.  This was due to the large amount of mucous being produced by her lungs and the need to suction every 15 to 20 minutes. On the night of the 23rd, she had a horrid nurse who apparently didn't know how to suction and was stabbing the tube into the trach instead of lubing and gently feeding it in. 

We were home in Flora at that time.  I had an overwhelming need to go see Jess.  Bill agreed and we took the 3 oldest with us. We arrived at the hospital early on the 24th. She was coughing a great deal of bright red blood from the trach. I questioned the nurse on duty, she said Jess's trach was just irritated from the frequent suctioning. We left about noon so Jess could rest. We spent the day running errands with the boys.

We got back to the hospital around 7. Jess was coughing so much blood out the trach I had the boys leave the room and had Bill get the nurse. We got her cleaned up and I asked why nothing was being done. The nurse said she had called a doctor earlier and some tests were ordered. Around 9 they took her to xray so we took the boys back to the apartment.

At 11:30, Jon, her husband, called and said the doctor came in and they were going to take Jess into surgery and cauterize cuts in her throat caused by the carelessness of the nurse the prior evening. A little while later he called back and said they were prepping her. We asked if we should come up, he said he didn't think so, the Rapid Response Team was with her.

OMG as a nurse I knew what that meant.  We dressed, told the oldest boy what was going on and took off for the hospital. I knew it was bad. As we got off the elevator a nurse escorted us into Jess's room. They were doing CPR with shock. I held her hand, I screamed at her to come back, don't leave, that I loved her. After several minutes a doctor asked us and her husband to come with him. He said they would continue CPR for as long as we wanted, but she had been without oxygen for so long she would never be Jess again, she would just be.  We didn't want that for her, They let us each say goodbye, and I held her hand as she drew her last two breaths and she was gone. My world changed forever at 12:58 am on Sunday, September 25, 2011.

We had her service the following Sunday. We are told that the church where we had it (the one she had grown up in) was packed. Billl and I each wrote something to be read during the service, we cried, we held on to the kids, we held each other. We took a limo to the cemetery so we could be with the boys, their dad and my SIL. The cars made a line 2 miles long.  She was laid to rest in the family plot at the Catholic Cemetery. I couldn't get out of the car, I couldn't watch that.  All through the visitation on Sat and before the service on Sunday, I sat next to her and held her hand. She was so beautiful. She looked like the angel she now was.

We have tried to go on. It is so hard. I am yet to have a day I don't break down.  I don't even have all the thank you cards done.  It hurts too bad.

We had a private autopsy done by a forensic examiner. There were extensive cuts in her throat. But what killed my baby was the fucking idiot who put the intubation tube down her esophogus instead of her trachea, which not only filled her stomach and intestines with a painful amount of air, it suffocated her.

She was getting better.  She would have come home.  But she was killed, her life taken from her. I have to learn to live with that, accept that, learn to live without my only child.

I will never hear the word MOM directed at me again. No more hugs, no more kisses from my baby. I truly thought nothing could ever hurt this bad.

We made it through the holiday by doing what we had never done. We took all 5 kids and went to Ohio to my BIL and SIL's house. There was nothing traditional. We even managed to have a nice time. Now we have to get through December. The next hurdle after that will be March 3rd, her birthday.  Also the youngest grandson's. He was born on 3/3 on his mommies 33rd birthday. He will be 3. The oldest is 15, then 13, then 9 and my sweet little princess is 5. These poor kids will grow up without their mother. I ache for them.

So, that;s it. The story of my last several months. Thanks for reading it. Now, now I want to heal. I want to smile. I want out of this darkness.


Friday, November 11, 2011

It started in November

The month of November was rough for us.  Bill and I were in a bad place, we had broken ties with friends, and then there was Jessika.  She had been quite ill with chest pain and symptoms of bronchitis. She had made two trips to the ER, but she continued to get worse.  Just before Thanksgiving, she was so weak she couldn't lift her head, let alone care for her children. Her husband was self employed and was unreachable, so I grabbed the kids and Bill took her to the ER for the third time this month.  She finally got a doctor who listened to what she was saying, of course it only took a glance at her to see she was really sick.  He admitted her for testing and IV meds.  The tests showed she had yeast and staff in her blood. She was transported by ambulance to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, about 3 hours from us.

The staff and yeast in her blood were both rare and the hospital had to develop an IV "cocktail" to treat it.  After 2 weeks they released her, she would have to report to our local hospital every day for continued IV therapy for the next 6 weeks, she did, and we thought it was all behind us.

The kids went home, at that time they ranged from 18 months to 14, 4 boys, 1 girl and 1 stepson.  Bill and I continued trying to rebuild our marriage.

Jess got better for a while, but she never got well.  She looked like she had aged 10 years.

The winter wore on, Bill and I repaired things, dealt with his father who was diagnosed with Parkinson's and kept the kids on the weekends so Jess could rest.

By April Jessika looked awful, she was in constant pain and eating little. She went to the doctor who did a chest x-ray and determined she had pneumonia. She spent 10 days in the hospital.  While there they found both the yeast and staff were back in her blood and they started the IV cocktail to treat them. She went home but was to report to the hospital every day for 6 weeks for the IV meds.

Her health seemed to improve some. She was up and about.

On May 12th she went to her hair dresser about 30 miles from us. She wanted to get the two little ones hair trimmed so she took them with her.

Then we got the call that began our hell.

She collapsed at the salon. The staff called 911 and kept the little ones when Jess was picked up by the ambulance. Her husband called and filled us in, he said he would grab the little kids and meet us at the hospital.

That was a long nerve wracking 40 minute drive.  When we got to the hospital Bill took the kids to get a drink in the cafeteria and I stayed with Jess and her husband in the ER cubicle she was assigned.  As she was undergoing tests and x-rays I mentioned to the doctor that I was an RN, she then gave me a little more information.  Finally the results came in, Jess had 2 large blood clots in her right lung and multiple small clots in her left lung. The doctor pulled me into the hall, she said you do realize what this means, I wish I didn't but I did. Her odds were less than 50/50.  She was airlifted to St. Johns again.

Jon began the trip to Springfield and we took the little kids home. We needed to pack, make arrangements for the little kids and pick up the older ones before we could head to Springfield.

Jess was first admitted to ICU to stabelize her.  Then the next day transferred to a step-down unit for treatment, testing and monitoring. That was the start of a long awful summer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Journey

I have been absent for many many months.  I am now taking this blog in a new direction and many of you might not want to follow me any longer.  For one thing, I have now returned to my religious roots, somewhat, and mingled them with what I have learned.

However, the big reason for changing the direction is for my own personal healing.  A lot has happened since I was last here. Very little of it pleasant. This blog helped me climb out of darkness before and I pray by putting my feelings and thoughts down I can release them, and begin to heal.

What could have happened you may ask, well, this is very hard for me to say but I lost my so very beautiful daughter not so very long ago. I had no idea anything could hurt this bad.

Over the coming days I will put down the whole story, and will then blog my journey to healing as much as one can when they have lost their only child.

For now, this is all I can write.  Just stating she is gone has taken all my energy and the tears are blinding me.

If you choose to continue to follow me, this is what you will be reading, at least until I am whole again.

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