Saturday, December 21, 2013

Make Me Feel Something, and I'll Make a Joke"

When it starts, I have no idea how to contain it.  I can't control it, I can't stop it and the more I worry about how to deal with it or if I'm going to make the right choices while dealing with it, the worse it gets.  It could last for a couple hours, it could be days... I never know when or how it will end.

I beat myself up.  I feel tremendous guilt.  I feel like I'll never be a good enough mom.  I have 3 children who need me, but I don't even know how I am going to make it through the night sometimes.  My heart actually aches, my chest hurts and I can't breathe. I believe a million horrible things about myself because I'm so depressed and anxiety ridden, but I'm supposed to be this strong, loving, healthy and positive person who has everything together.

I start telling myself that no one really wants someone like me around.  Who would want someone like me around?? It wouldn't make sense that anyone would value a relationship with me. I don't have anything to offer anyone... I don't deserve friends.  I don't deserve someone that would love me through this.  

Once my anxiety starts, it's like I'm a completely different person than who I normally am.... but what if this is really who I am, and the rest of the time I am pretending? 

My first instinct is to push everyone away... It's almost a compulsion....  I'll remember that I told my friends that I would hang out with them tomorrow, but I'm definitely not going and I'll just send a text and cancel.  I will push everyone away before they walk away... it will be my choice.  When I recognize that I am doing that, and I try to counteract it and be honest with people about it, things get messed up. I start to stress out about how I am going to handle myself around them the next time I see them, or the stupid insecure things I might say the next time I talk to them.   I can't explain to them "Hey, I really value our relationship, but right at this very moment I believe that you don't want anything to do with me.  Please just tell me why you like me, so that I can begin to find some positive things to tell myself right now."
You have to really trust someone to be that open and vulnerable with them... most of the time I'm too afraid to say anything because my fears will be confirmed.   It is much safer and less hurtful to make the decision remove myself before they make the decision that I am disposable.

I am in the middle of the beginning part of the anxiety attack right now.  The part where it would definitely be better if I just didn't talk to anyone right now.  I can't think of one single reason that it would be beneficial to be with someone else right now, but all I want to do is to call someone and BEG them to spend some time with me.  I won't do it.  I'm not that person. I am not someone who needs anyone else to be happy or to be OK.  I guess I would rather take that to an extreme than to be considered needy or codependent.
But it's normal for humans to crave human interaction, right?  It doesn't make me crazy or insecure to desire to speak with, or be in the company of, or get a hug from someone, right?  I don't know...  I don't know how to maintain friendships/relationships.
 I would give anyone anything at anytime.  I LOVE helping people and loving people, I just don't know how to ask for that in return... I can't ask for it because I don't feel like I deserve it.

I have no answers at this very moment.

If you are reading this, I hope you aren't hoping I tell you how to get through it...  I have no idea.

If you are reading this, please don't feel the need to "fix" it for me.

If you are reading this, please don't leave a comment full of compliments.

If you are reading this, the last thing I want from you is sympathy, that would make me angry because I would feel patronized.

I am only writing this blog right at this very moment so that I don't destroy relationships in my life because that is exactly what I would be doing right now.

I am writing to replace the compulsion to call and beg someone to accept me.  I am writing JUST distract myself.

Feel sorry for me if you want... or don't... I don't care. But PLEASE don't leave a comment that tells me that you do.

If you are absolutely DYING to tell me how to get over it, or to tell me that you are praying for me, or to tell me that God is enough, or that I am strong or that I am lovely... don't.  Tell me a joke, instead.  Make me laugh.  If I made you feel something with this blog, tell me your best or your worst joke...   After all, I think that sums me up pretty well. - "Make me feel something, and I'll make a joke"


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Happened To Abby?

It was the second to last day of school, and the kids and I got ready. Abby was doing just fine, as a matter of fact, she and I had a dance party and danced to her favorite song like we did every morning (mostly to annoy whichever brother was in the bad mood that day). They got on the bus, and went to school... still a normal day.
They had been at Aaron's house since Saturday, but they come home every morning before school. It was Wednesday, so I got them again until Sunday. Aaron called me to tell me that Trevor had been having trouble breathing and that I might want to see if I could get him into the doctor. I called the doctor that morning and they told me that they could see him at 12:30. I told my boss I was going to take him to the doctor and come back.
When I was leaving work, I called my oldest daughter, Calla, to let her know I was on my way to get Trevor and to let Nate and Abby know that they could go with me, but they had to be ready.
(it was a half day of school)

While I was on the phone with Calla, she told me that Abby was crying and in her bed because of a headache...she told me that she wouldn't stop crying. I told her that I would be right there and That I'd check on her. When I got home, Abby was in Calla's bed and I talked to her. She looked miserable, but it was really hot outside and she had been out playing since she got home from school. I asked her if she'd had any water and she said no, so I got her a glass of water, told her to drink it and lay down to rest. I told her I had to take Trevor to the doctor, but I'd be right back to make sure that she felt better.

At the doctor, blood tests and chest x-rays were ordered and I was supposed to have taken Trevor to the radiology department right away, but I discovered that I didn't have the insurance card. I called Aaron to see if he could meet me at my house (he was off work at this point) and get Trevor back to the doctor so I could get back to work. He agreed.
Trevor, Nate and I stopped at the store to get some snacks. They both bought a stuffed animal and picked one out for Abby (one that they never got to give her until she was in a coma). While I was getting in my car, Calla called again and said that Abby was puking and not talking to her. She said that she said "ABBY!?" and Abby answered, "hello?"

I got home about 2 minutes later to find Calla with Abby on the bathroom floor. Abby was covered in puke and wouldn't move and Calla had a wash cloth and a change of clothes trying to get her cleaned up.
I told Calla that I would take care of it and I thanked her for taking care of Abby.

Abby was in a ball on the floor, leaned up against the bathtub. I said, "Poor baby, your head still hurts, huh? I'm gonna clean you up and see how you feel after that." She said "yes." I moved her and took her shirt off and kept talking to her as I wiped her down.

She stopped responding and stopped breathing a little.. I rubbed her chest and tried to get her talking to me again. When I rubbed her chest, her breathing got deeper again, but she wasn't responding. I yelled for Calla to bring me the phone and dial 911. I was trying really hard not to panic, but I knew something was wrong... my first thought was meningitis... I wish I was right...about meningitis, that is.

I talked to the 911 operator and told her what was going on. My voice was panicked and shaky, but I was holding it together.

The ambulance got there in 2-3 minutes, but it felt like an eternity while I was trying to get her to respond to me. I was getting little responses, but nothing that was making me less terrified.

When the paramedics got there, I got out of their way. The one did a few basic checks on her and then scooped her up and ran out of the house with her... Aaron had just gotten there to meet me for Trevor and he held the door for them. He was confused and scared, I'm sure.

They put her on the stretcher and called a few codes into the radio as they put her in the back of the ambulance. They told me to get in and asked me tons of questions.

I felt so inadequate... She hadn't been with me for longer than the morning for the past few days, so I couldn't give an accurate recent history... So they had to ask Aaron.

THEN, they wanted to know what happened immediately before her headache... and, again, I hadn't been with her, so they had to ask Calla and my dad. I actually got out of the ambulance because I was useless at that point.

I had to grab my purse, make sure I had the insurance card, my phone, ask my dad to call my boss...

I got back to the ambulance and I was carrying the shirt that I never got to put on her.

By this time all of the neighbors were out on the sidewalk watching and 2 fire trucks had shown up...

I was in denial... I knew something tragic was about to happen,... I just knew it.. but I couldn't let myself believe it.

They closed the ambulance doors and we drove away.

The 2 EMTs were amazing with her and with me.

They kept asking her questions and she wasn't answering, but finally...

He asked if she could hear him and she gave a "thumbs up". I noticed it and yelled, "look at her thumb" She gave 3 more thumbs up and I told her I was right there and that I loved her so much

She never responded again...

We got to Garden City hospital and the doctor didn't give us any hope. He said, "We are giving her a ct scan, but as soon as that is done, she will be airlifted to Children's hospital and we will give them the results as soon as we get them."

She got the scan, and he told me she had a brain bleed, but they were waiting on further results, and she was no longer stable enough for an air lift.

They had to send the mobile NICU from Children's Hospital.The PandaOne (mobile NICU) got there and they loaded her in. I realized that the medics from the first ambulance ride were still there and one of them made sure I was able to ride with the PandaOne. I had to sit in the front seat. That paramedic helped me into the front seat and said he'd be praying... I was so appreciative that this man didn't leave my side for one second

On the way there...

We were riding with sirens and lights and people were not stopping... I wanted to scream at them. I was bound and determined to keep my composure.

The driver asked if I was ok. I explained that all I wanted to do was jump in front of all of the medical professionals and hug her, but I knew that her only chance of survival at that point was to have me stay out of the way.
She told me how much parents like me make their job easier.
We made some small talk about how people always pull over when she is driving a Children's ambulance, but this one didn't say children's on it.

I can picture in my mind every single car that we passed... every light, every single second from the time I was on the bathroom floor with Abby until I got to Children's hospital in Detroit.

It's like a terrible movie that I can't forget... but I don't want to forget either.

From the time that they unloaded Abby at Children's and they told me that evening that surgery wasn't an option because of the location of the bleed and because they couldn't stabilize her enough to even give her an MRI and that she most likely would never wake up from a coma if she even lived... that whole part is a blur.

I can't tell you who I talked to, who was there, what they told me, how I felt or anything... It is literally a blur.

The next thing that I remember is walking up the ramp in the family waiting room to tell my family that the neurosurgeon just told me that there was nothing he could do for her.

By then... I guess all of Facebook knew of Abby and what was happening. I'm not sure what happened or why so many people cared so deeply about it, but I was so appreciative and humbled.

When I was first talking with the neurosurgeon... he said that since she had no prior symptoms of any sort of brain bleed... dizziness, slurred speech, headaches... until she got her terrible headache hours earlier, they were confident that she had an AVM rupture. they could tell from the CT scan, that the bleed was in her brain stem, in the exact spot that they could not operate. Besides the location of the bleed, she was too unstable for surgery... they couldn't even get her stable enough for an MRI to diagnose the problem with 100% certainty, but given the chain of events, he would be willing to put his credibility on the line and report the cause of death as an AVM rupture. She had never breathed on her own since the middle of the first ambulance ride.

She never responded to anything. 

They never suggested pulling her off of the life support. They gave us the "hope" of trying to stabilize her enough by the morning for tests.

I CLUNG to the words "stabilize her enough for tests"

BUT,  he also said, surgery wasn't an option, he mentioned a death certificate, and organ donation... I ignored all of that... until... those words came out of my mouth when speaking to the family... That was the first time I cried.

I stayed at the hospital Wednesday night with her... Thursday night with her... Friday night they declared her death.

We signed papers for organ donation and stayed with her body on the machines Friday night...

Saturday, I found out that they wouldn't be able to do the organ transplants until Sunday... Father's day.

I stayed with her again Saturday night. Aaron went home and came back... It was father's day and Abby was dead... The nurse and I talked him into going home to be with our other 3 children that needed and wanted him. Abby no longer needed him, but Calla, Trevor and Nathanial did.

I stayed with her until they wheeled her away to do the organ transplants.

Walking away from that hospital without Abby was the hardest thing I've ever done... and I was completely alone.

It was the darkest day of my life.

not Friday... not Wednesday... but Sunday...

Somehow, I had the comfort that although Aaron and I did not get our miracle, and that Father's day was absolutely the worst day for Aaron... There were 6 other families that got their miracle...they had the best Father's Day imaginable because of my sweet Abby.

Her organs were a PERFECT match for every person that received them... that alone is miraculous.

and her organs were PERFECT

every single organ was perfect

and her heart is beating in the chest of a 6 year old boy in Illinois.

her lungs and liver are in one little girl

her kidneys went to 2 different people

her corneas went to a 56 year old woman

her pancreas went to a little girl with diabetes

Abby was put here on earth to be a miracle for these people.

Now that Abby has been gone for 6 months, the comfort and understanding of knowing that she saved lives is diminishing.  I no longer find that comfort when I think of all of other families who were blessed by Abby's death... I feel more anger, bitterness, sadness, emptiness and instability.   I'm not sure how to work through it. There are days that I feel as if I am unraveling and and it is scary.  I don't know what else to do right now, except to write about it.   I don't think keeping my pain a secret is healthy and I'm sure I'm not really fooling anyone.

 Be patient with me, I'm not who I used to be.
The person I was on June 12, 2013 when I accompanied my youngest daughter into the hospital is a completely different person than who I was when I left hospital without her on June 16, 2013. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I wish

I wish...

I wish that I could be a better aunt and not have to avoid all of my nieces' special events, like birthdays and Christmas productions because I can't bear the thought of watching little girls grow up.

I wish that I could be a better sister and not have to avoid visiting my sister in the hospital today because it brings back terrible flashbacks.

I wish I could be vulnerable enough to actually let someone see with their own eyes, the pain that I experience when I'm missing Abby or when I see a sick little girl, or an ambulance driving down the street.

I wish I could let myself cry in front of someone and let them comfort me.

I wish I could be more real and not hide behind jokes when my thoughts go any deeper than the surface and they attach themselves to feelings which scare the hell out of me.  I am terrified of feeling anything.

I wish I were able to enjoy an afternoon alone without feeling completely empty and lost.

I wish I were brave...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Misery Doesn't Always Love Company

I've been avoiding writing because trying to tackle my thoughts the past couple days has been too painful.  I have been trying to stay busy with anything that will keep my mind off of any of the things that are too painful to deal with.

Yesterday was a tough day.  I was doing my laundry and for some reason, a pair of Abby's pants were in my dirty clothes.  I wasn't expecting it, but I broke down.  It was an unanticipated emotional response that caught me off guard and almost sent me back to bed.  My mom was there with me and I told her what had happened.  I knew she wanted to comfort me, but I wouldn't let her... I walked away.  When I am really sad, I want to be alone.  I don't want to share my grief with anyone because 1.) I don't want anyone to see me like that and 2.) I know that it will make whoever I'm with sad, as well, and I will end up feeling the need to comfort them.   

There are some days where I am completely overwhelmed and can't even start the simplest of tasks.  That is when I appreciate someone being there to help motivate me, and my mom is always there for that. 

Yesterday, after the laundry incident, I decided to give up on the day (it was 4pm).   The kids were at their dad's house, so I figured I would just take a shower and go to bed for the night.  After my shower, I laid down and tried to sleep.  I had told some friends that I would come hang out with them, but I decided to skip that and be alone in my misery... or sleep to forget about it.  While I was laying there, I kept thinking that I really needed to get up and go, otherwise this depression was really going to take over.   So, I got up.  I went to my friend's house, and I was blessed with exactly what I needed.  These friends will let me talk about Abby without getting upset...they listen.  They will smile with me when I want to talk about how amazing she was and how proud I am to have been chosen to be her mom.  They will dance with me because they know exactly how to lift my spirits.  They will pray with me because they know that God is the only one who can truly comfort me.  I am so incredibly blessed to have friends like this.   Besides these particular friends, I have realized that I am surrounded by people who love me and would do anything for me and my family.  I may not always be able to ask for what I need, I may not always be able to talk to them because it's too difficult, but I will always appreciate everything that they have done for me, are willing to do for me, and how much they love me. 

I know that my friends want to be there for me, and sometimes that they may take it personally when I find it too difficult to have a conversation with them.  Please don't take it personally if I haven't returned a phone call or an email.  I just need some time, because misery doesn't alway love company.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Memories of Abby

5 weeks ago today, Abby passed away.  This morning has been a little rough.. I'm just missing her. I like having pictures of her around the house, but sometimes I'll stare at them and miss her so much that my heart literally hurts.  She has been gone for 5 weeks, but it feels like I haven't seen her in years.  I just miss her laugh and her cuddles.

So, I want to redirect my focus today.  I want to talk about memories and all of the things that Abby did to make me laugh.

She used to laugh so hard and loud at her own jokes. She thought she was the funniest girl in the whole world.  She was pretty funny, too.  I caught her on more than one occasion practicing telling jokes in the mirror and laughing at herself.

She loved singing and dancing and performing, but it had to be on her own terms.  She loved to be the center of attention unless we wanted her to be.

She NEVER stopped talking or making noise.  The house is a lot quieter now and I miss her insanity!

She had absolutely no control over her temper.  She got so mad so fast.  There was no in between with Abby, she was either super happy or super mad.  There was never a question about how Abby was feeling.

A couple of summers ago, Abby had absolutely no interest in riding a bike, she would rather run.  Whenever her brothers would go for a bike ride, Abby would just run behind them.  She didn't care that she wasn't even close to keeping up with their bikes, she was doing what she wanted to do and it was hilarious.  I can picture the boys riding their bikes to the end of the street and back and Abby "hanging out" with them but not anywhere close to them having the time of her life. It makes me laugh every time.

She loved reading, writing and drawing.  She was really good at all three.  I'm happy to have some of her artwork framed and have some of her writing in a notebooks, and on the bookshelf, and on the wall in the back of her closet. 

She left us with a lot of memories,  I obviously could sit here and write all day.  She was an amazing little girl full of laughter (most of the time).  I am so thankful that I got to be her mom.

If anyone reading this has any memories, please share them with me in a comment.  I would love to read about how Abby affected you or made you laugh (or made you mad, even).  I look forward to hearing about my awesome little girl from you. 

Today, I will focus on how much she made me laugh!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Unorganized Thoughts

I have been thinking an awful lot about starting a blog to get some of these thoughts that are swirling in my head on "paper" and  organized.   I'm not sure where to start, so perhaps the first few posts will be a little disorganized, I won't apologize for it.
2013 has brought about an entirely new life for me, full of change.  This blog will be about that.  Although the events that have transpired are sad, tragic and life altering, I refuse to be a "victim" of my circumstances.
I have been broken, but I am seeking answers and throughout this process I may address some things that make me (and others) uncomfortable, but I feel like that is important to make sure that I am being honest with myself in what I am writing.

I can't change anything that has happened.  Even if I turned back time to the day that Abby was rushed to the hospital, I wouldn't be able to change the outcome.  What happened to Abigail was unpredictable, unpreventable and untreatable.  No matter how many times my daughter (Calla), my dad, Aaron or I replay the day and the events in our heads and reflect on how we could have done things differently, nothing would have saved her life.  That, in a strange way, is a good thing.  There is no second guessing, no guilt.  NOTHING that any of us could have done would have changed a thing.  Realizing, and being able to process this has been a crucial part to the beginning of healing.  Knowing that nothing on Earth could have saved her leads me to my next question... Why?

The ONLY sense I can make of it AT ALL, is that Abby's perfect little organs helped save the lives of several other precious children (and one adult).   In some cases, these children would have definitely passed away if it weren't for Abby. In other cases, these kids would survive, but their quality of life would continue to be poor and they would still be suffering from their illnesses.  We received a letter from one of the families who received a kidney from Abigail.  This little boy is 7 years old and has been on dialysis for almost 7 years.  He no longer needs dialysis and can finally be a kid!   People have told me that I am strong, but I think the single mother of that little boy is so much stronger.  What happened to my daughter was swift and although it is heart wrenching and something that I don't know that I will ever completely understand, I wasn't left to wonder what would happen to her for more than 2 days.  This mother has had to worry about her son and whether he'd wake up in the morning for almost 7 years... I would not be able to handle that.

I'm taking this one day at a time, and although some days are harder than others, life goes on for me.  It won't stop and I have to figure out how to live a life that allows me (and my other children) to grieve, heal and appreciate the time that we got to be Abby's family.