Today is going to be a very difficult day. Harder than most of our days. 4 years ago we were told by a very harsh ER doctor, "she's dead. Your daughter is dead" My head was spinning. It was such a foggy feeling. My mom was climbing over the foot of the gurney, my dad was pulling her back. Paul was doubled over crying so hard. And I, I was standing at Carly's side. Crying while screaming at the doctor and nurses. SCREAMING at them to save her. I was begging and pleading for the doctor to keep working on her. I kept hearing myself scream, "don't you stop. don't you stop." over and over. I couldn't make that doctor understand that this little girl is our baby. We love her. We can't lose her. She can not die. Its just not possible. And I kept repeating, "Fix her. Fix her. Fix her" At some point I was told, "we have given her 10 doses of Epinephrine. She's gone." I continued to argue with this doctor. I didn't back down from her. I was not going to let them give up on Carly. I got in her face as we stood beside my baby girl, looking eye to eye at this doctor..and I know the look I flashed her and the screaming I was doing straight into her face, convinced her to go ahead and push another dose of the Epinephrine. Looking back at it all now, I know she did it only to 'satisfy' the pleading of a desperate mother. That last dose. Number 11. It just didn't work. They soon called time of death. TIME OF DEATH. Oh my gosh, those are 3 of the very worst words I've ever heard. It meant the end. Finality.
I sat down in a chair behind me. I was in complete shock. A feeling came over me as if I were in a dream. I felt as if I had stepped outside of my body. Some man, (hospital staff in street clothes) was leaning over me from behind saying, "slow deep breaths" and he just kept saying it in a very calm and even tone, over and over and over as I struggled to catch my breath. I felt as if I wasn't in that room but as if I were outside, looking in on everything that was happening inside of that ER. The whole room was spinning out of control. People were blurry to me. I could 'see', but I couldn't. I remember glancing over to my right. A garbage can sat there. When I looked down, I realized I was looking at Carly's pink pajamas that had been cut from her body. It was without a doubt the most crazy, surreal feeling. All of a sudden I was looking down at Carly's sweet little face. The nurses had placed her in my lap. I don't recall how long I sat holding her. It was quite some time.
The dreaded time had come to call the family. Oh my gosh. How were Ashleigh and Brad going to handle this horrific news of their little sister? Ash was living and working in Kalamazoo. She was at work that day. Brad had called her to tell her something was wrong with Carly and that she was going by ambulance to the hospital. Ashleigh had been calling and talking to my mom throughout this entire nightmare. She had called several times while we were in the ER, her calls were sent to voice mail. We were sure Carly was going to be ok. Why would we think otherwise? As we left Brad at home that morning, Carly and Paul in the ambulance and me with my parents in the car. I went back into the house to try and calmly (although I was a completely crazy person at that time) reassure Brad that Carly was stable at that moment (which she was) and we'd call him later. We expected that she was going to be admitted and start extensive testing to see why she collapsed on our living room floor. We sure never imagined what our outcome would be. My dad had to break the horrifying news to Ashleigh over the phone. The poor girl collapsed on the floor at work. My brother from Illinois, who happened to be spending a few days in Michigan, was the one who came over to our house to tell Brad and bring him to the hospital. Later that day, both my brothers and my sister in-law went to Kalamazoo to get Ash and bring her home.
I can remember every single detail of that day. Even tho I felt as if I were in a fog. I remember all of it. When Brad got to the hospital, he walked into the room where we were sitting. I was holding Carly. He walked right over to where I sat holding her and stood over us. He was looking down at Carly and his face showed nothing but disbelief. I don't think he really believed that Carly had died. He just stood there staring down at her. I was crying. We were all crying. I looked up at him and said, "she's gone Brad. We lost her." As I looked at Brad, I saw his eyes turn from bright brown eyes to dark, lost and sad eyes. I've seen that very look in the mirror over the past 4yrs., while looking at my self. Looking back at that day now, I wish he'd never come into that ER room where we were. Carly did not look like anything other than a sleeping little girl, in my arms, where she often was. How confusing for Brad to see his little sister who looked as if she were just resting peacefully in my arms.
April 23, 2010. 4 years ago today, we lost our sweet little Carly. How in the HELL did this all happen? Within 1 1/2 hrs our world blew all to pieces. Life forever changed. No longer would we be the people we were before this day. We would become different people. People we no longer recognized. People we didn't want to know...let alone be.
Many readers already know that we no more than took a breath and we were faced with another horrific nightmare. We lost our son, Brad and our home just shy of 18 months after losing Carly. I wont get into much of the circumstances/details involving Brad's death, because this day is the day that we forever lost our sweet little Carly. And the day our lives took a downward spiral.
Throughout the past 4 years, we've struggled. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. We have hit rock bottom and thought for sure we could fall no further. Wrong! (Advise: Never think you've hit rock bottom. Trust me, there is always further down you can fall.) Paul was injured at work. He filed a workers comp case and the following day he was fired. His former employer then turned around and fought Paul's unemployment and won. We were left with no income. Nothing. Yet we still had a mortgage, car payment and so on...We were forced to get into our retirement money. Depend on help from my family. And had a few FB friends who wanted to help us and sent enough money to pay our electric bill for a month. Of course we both felt like complete and utter failures yet again in this unbelievable life that just seems to continue to knock us down.
How are we doing today? Paul did find a job. A fairly decent one. We are hopeful that we'll soon be getting back on more stable ground, financially. Emotionally, our days are long and exhausting. We struggle with sleep each night. We are forgetful. (Except for days like today, in which case we can remember every single thing/detail that went on.) We have mood swings. Oh my gosh, do we have mood swings. We can go from one extreme to the next, in no time at all. And we're still pissed off. We feel quite often as if we teeter on the edge of sanity. Grief is ever present. It's a constant battle that never leaves us. Some days worse than others. Some days not as bad as the day before. But it's there. Always there. We still cry everyday. We are very broken and know that we will never be whole again. We are forced to be changed into different people and we try everyday to let this change just be. But it is not easy and out of nowhere, before we know it, BAMM...we turn around and there we are again, staring grief in the face.
Grieving parents hear so many cliches. Oh my gosh we get so tired of hearing them. Its as if those cliches are forced on us. Don't get me wrong, we know most are given by well meaning people, who just have nothing else to offer. Who have no words to really say, other than what they've always heard others say. But for those who have had to bury their child/children, no matter which cliche you happen to say, makes no sense to a grieving parent. And for us personally, it offers no comfort. We are slowly learning to let these cliches go in one ear and out the other.
~The following are a few of the many cliches we've heard over the last 4 years~
Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan. She is in a better place. She is free from pain. Things will get better. Life gets easier. Life goes on. She's in the arms of Jesus. She's dancing with the Angels. Oh what a glorious place she's in now. I can't even imagine...and on and on and on.
Well you know what? Everything happens for a reason is a bunch of bull when it comes to the loss of a child. There is no good reason for a child to pass on before a parent.
Gods plan. Ha! It ain't working so well for me...what kind of plan rips children from the arms of a loving family?
A better place. Really?!?! How do YOU know that? Have you been to this place personally?
Free from pain? She wasn't in any pain until that split second just before she dropped over from a heart attack.
Things get better? Hmmm, when would that be? How is anything better after you bury your child/children?
Life gets easier? After 4 years, there has been no easy part of life.
Life goes on? Well no shit!
She's in the arms of Jesus. Let me ask which of your children would you like to send to Jesus today? I'm betting none of you would even consider sending your children ahead of yourselves.
She's dancing with Angels. She danced just fine here at home with her family.
Oh what a glorious place she's in now. Really? Have you been there? Again, do you want to pick one of your children to go spend the rest of your living days in this glorious place while you're left here? Nope, didn't think so.
I can't imagine....YES YOU CAN IMAGINE. Just sit down and do it. Imagine NEVER hearing your childs voice or laughter again. NEVER hugging your child again. NEVER seeing your child grow up. Imagine a forever empty place at the dinner table. Go ahead and imagine it. Everyone CAN imagine it. People just don't want to. They wouldn't dare,,,out of fear. Fear of the very fact that they too, could become one of "us" one day. I don't blame anyone for that. I really don't. We never wanted to become "us" either but here we are.
What we 'hear' when someone says those ever lovin' cliches??? Suck it up. Get over it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's not that bad. People try to compare a stubbed toe, flat tire, bounced check, a mouthy kid or a shitty marriage and a bad day at work to our losses. Umm, really? I'm sorry but there is no comparison. None! I wish those petty problems, were what we had to deal with daily. I'd give anything! I think the one saying that irks me the very most, and I've heard so many times.... - Life isn't fair, not just for you. Most of the people who say that or have written/typed those words to me don't even realize how ignorant that is to say to grieving parents. Life isn't fair when you get a speeding ticket, pay 2 electric bills in one month and the electric company wont give you your money back..or even a mouthy child causing you to have a bad day, pissy doctors and teachers, frustration over health, learning and behavioral issues, and so on and so and so on...those are reasons for someone to believe that "life isn't fair". But never say that to a grieving parent because it's probably the stupidest thing anyone could possibly say! Paul and I work very hard at letting those cliches roll off us now. That doesn't mean they have any less sting to them tho. We realize that others, well they just don't get it. And that they most likely never will.
No matter how many rotten days we have. How badly we long to hold and hug our sweet little girl. No matter our anger. No matter our tear shed. We will never again know the happiness of life as we knew it before April 23, 2010. Although we do laugh and smile from time to time, behind each laugh and smile is our sad reality of our new and unwanted life. As badly as we'd like to go back to April 22, 2010, the very last day the 5 of us were a happy and whole family, before we were suddenly broken. We know that we cant. So here we stay as the years continue on.
(My Facebook friend made this for me. Thank you Ena!)