I’m opening my blog with a story of “Where I’ve Been…” It’s pretty personal and not the cheeriest story to start with, but it explains how I got to “Where I’m At…” and has shaped “Where I’m going…”
It’s been about a year… a year ago I was a different person. My priorities were different. My attitude was different. Life was different.
I didn’t see it coming, and I wish it didn’t have to happen, but I believe there is a reason that it did.
March 20, 2009 was a Friday. My youngest niece and nephew, Chloe and Cannon, were being watched by my mom and my oldest sister, Teresa, while Lisa (my middle sister) and Jeff (Lisa’s husband/my brother-in-law) went on a date. It was after dinner and Teresa called me to let me know Chloe was wondering where I was. “Rah-rah?” is what she would say. So, I decided to head over to my parent’s house and visit with the family.
It was a nice evening at my parent’s house. I played with Chloe and Cannon. I talked with my mom and Teresa.
While my mom was changing a diaper, my dad called to say “hello.” My dad was in Texas. He had gotten a job in San Antonio and was living with my aunt and uncle. He and my mom were having a house built and would be moving in during the summer of 2009. My mom was here in Michigan to visit with her kids and grandkids for a month. My dad would be coming back to Michigan in April 2009 to bring her back to Texas.
Teresa answered the phone and chatted with my dad for a while. They laughed and had a nice conversation. After my mom finished with the diaper change, she spoke with my dad for a few minutes, but decided to call him back later, after the kids had left. I didn’t talk to him. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t really have much to say. That is one of the things I regret most.
As I kissed and hugged Chaz, my husband, goodnight on Friday, March 20, 2009, I was looking forward to sleeping in late on Saturday. I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I was looking forward to life continuing on in the same way as it always had.
Through the fog of sleep, I could hear Chaz talking. I heard him walk into the bedroom. He came around to my side of the bed and kneeled down next to me. “Sarah, wake up,” he said gently. I opened one eye, still half asleep. He says something like, “Ken called and he says you need to go over to your parent’s.”
I look at the clock. It’s almost 9am on Saturday, March 21, 2009. I ask him why?
He says he’s not sure but that Ken said it was kind of an emergency.
Despite hearing it’s “kind of an emergency,” I still move in slow-motion… I slowly get out of bed and head to my closet to get something to wear. As I’m still moving through my slow-motion fog, my cell phone rings and I answer it. It’s my mom. All I hear is hysterical yelling, most of which I can’t understand, but what I hear in the middle of the jumbled mess is my mom saying “Aunt Virgie says Dad won’t wake up!!!”
Instantly a fire is lit beneath me I start moving at hyper-speed. I scream into the phone that I’m on my way over.
I hang up the phone and yell “What the fugh!?!?!?” Literally, I leave off the ‘ck’ of that word.
I hear Chaz running up the stairs and changing his clothes. He asks me what’s going on?
I tell him that I have no idea but my mom said that Aunt Virgie says my dad won’t wake up. My voice is quivering. I’m starting to freak out.
I throw on the first clothes I see, throw my hair in a pony-tail and run down the stairs. I don’t even put my contacts in, I just wear my glasses.
Chaz grabs the keys and we are out the door and on our way.
The 3 mile drive from our house to parent’s seems to take forever. Thoughts and prayers are running through my head at a million miles per hour. I’m praying for my dad to be ok. I’m praying to wake up from this nightmare. I’m praying for it to be an over-reaction. I’m willing it with all my might to be an over-reaction. But in the back of my head, I seem to sense what is coming.
We get to my parent’s and I run inside. What I walk into is something I wish I’d never had to see. My mom is in the living room praying so loudly, praying so hard. She has a cross that she is bowing in front of. Praying, praying, praying. She’s holding a rosary. Loud, on the verge of hysterical, praying.
Teresa walks into the room from around a corner. She’s in her glasses too. Her eyes are red with tears and crying. She and I go upstairs, and Chaz follows. I ask her what the heck is going on? She says she doesn’t know, she can’t deal with it. She hands me the phone and tells me to call Aunt Virgie.
I find Aunt Virgie’s name in her contacts and press ‘send.’ The phone rings. Aunt Virgie picks up, but I can’t understand what she’s saying. She’s crying, she’s mumbling, she’s sobbing. I tell her I can’t understand her.
Suddenly, my Uncle Rex gets on the phone. I tell him it’s Sarah and I want to know what is going on! And he says it. He just flat out says it. “He’s gone.” I don’t believe him. I ask him if he’s called 911? The 911 people will be able to help my dad.
Uncle Rex says the ambulance is just getting there. Then he says it again. “He’s gone.” He tells me that my dad went to sleep, and he just never woke up.
I can’t breathe. I have a sob stuck in my throat. I am on my knees huddled against the wall of what had once been my bedroom. All I can say is “what are we going to do?” I say it again. “What are we going to do?” But nobody is on the phone. My Uncle Rex had hung up when the ambulance arrived.
I turn around. My sister is no longer in the room. Chaz is there. He hugs me. I’m bawling, and still wondering aloud “what are we going to do?”
My sister comes back into the room. She says we need to get the whole family together to help my mom. She calls my Aunt Renee, my dad’s sister. Somehow, Aunt Renee informs the rest of my aunts and uncles.
I’m not sure what to do. I feel lost. Chaz tells me to go be with my mom. I go downstairs where she is still praying. I sit next to her. I say nothing. I bow my head and pray.
Lisa and Jeff arrive. She hugs my mom. Aunt Renee and my cousin Matt arrive. Aunt Debbie and Uncle Rick arrive. Aunt Jane and Uncle Tom arrive. Uncle Don arrives. Almost the entire family is at my parent’s house.
Chaz is on the phone with a nurse getting information on my mom’s medications. Someone hides any sharp objects. We don’t want my mom to hurt herself. It is time to tell my mom what we know.
The entire family finds a place to sit in the living room. My mom is still on the floor praying. Teresa, Lisa, and I gathered around her on the floor. Mom looks at Teresa, asking her not to tell her bad news.
Teresa is crying. Lisa is crying. I am crying.
Teresa looks at my mom and shakes her head. I can’t remember what she said, but my mom knows the truth. She screams. She cries. She sobs. We hold her tight.
We need help. We need to sedate my mom. An ambulance arrives. Two or 3 police cars show up. My parent’s house looks like chaos from the outside with so many cars, police, and an ambulance. They were always the quiet neighbors.
My mom is taken to the ER. She is sedated. We talk briefly with a counselor. The entire family that had gathered in my parent’s living room is now gathered in the ER Waiting Room.
Time passes strangely, slow and fast at the same time. Eventually, my mom is released and we all go back to my parent’s house. We put my mom to bed. My sisters, my brothers-in-law, my nieces, my nephews, Chaz and I all move into my parents house that night. We are there to take care of my mom.
As I hugged and kissed Chaz goodnight on Saturday, March 21, 2009, I was looking forward to nothing. Things were never going to be the same.