Thursday, January 28, 2010

Part 3?

I've been meaning to continue on with the story of Serenity's passing, but it seems my grieving is quite in the way of creating eloquent words for a not so eloquent situation. In the time just before and immediately following her death, I was somehow very grounded (with a little help my friends, hehe) and strong. I knew that I had been called by something stronger than anything before to be with her. From the first night (Wednesday the 13th) I drove up to Columbia, there was a twisting, churning in my stomach and a knot a bit higher up, that only calmed upon reaching Serenity's hospital room, and then staying there. Each time I felt overwhelmed by the need to cry aloud, leaving her side, the knot and the churning would return. My body has never before communicated so insistently and clearly with me, except during labor. I keep comparing, in my mind, and to those available to listen to me, this death story to a birth story. There really are so many similarities. The order of events is a bit jumbled in my memory, but here is what I can write of the rest of the story. As I have said to some of my friends, I felt as if somehow I was meant to be with her when she passed from this world into the next. I felt it needed to be me rather than anyone closer to her, and it needed to be me because somehow, I knew she needed to be let go and I knew I could let her go. On Wednesday night, Serenity and I spoke for hours. As I walked into her hospital room, she smilingly told me she'd heard I was having a rough time with her being in the hospital. I took my cue like a practiced star and explained to her all the reasons I was just perfectly fine with the situation and chided her for being concerned about any of the rest of us at this point in her life. I reminded her of how I had consciously chosen our friendship, knowing this would be how it would end. I talked to her about the look in a newborn's eyes and told her I had full faith that where those babies come from was where she was going; she whole heartedly agreed and then asked if, even though I was ready to let her go, what if she wasn't ready? I told her to hold on tight and if she made it through, then that'd be fantastic! Somewhere in there, her daughter was brought in to hug her goodnight. Trinity held her Mama so tightly and then began to cry. She knew, and even told me and Grandma Suzie later, that Serenity was leaving this world shortly. It was absolutely heart wrenching for Serenity to see Trinity so upset, so Keith quickly took her home. Soon after, Lesley also left. My knotted and twisted insides would not let me leave yet; Serenity spoke of the events in her daughter's life she would miss if she left. I agreed and gently reminded Serenity that most adult children have not gotten as much quality or quantity in the time department with their Mother's as Trinity has gotten with her. Nor had they had such a loving, available, present and wondrous Mother. I promised Serenity that Trinity would not remember this part of her life as a tragedy, but as a blessing, and that it would be the firm foundation that allows Trinity to grow into the caring, mature, loving, most awesome woman that she is already blossoming into. I cried with Serenity, damning the cancer and the unfairness of a world that would take a Mother from her daughter. We agreed on some adjectives for the situation that I won't record here. ;) Suffice it to say, we agreed it really SUCKS. And then we talked more about the wonderful community she had helped build for her daughter; a community of women and families that would continue to be there for Trinity & Keith for as long as they'd allow us to be. I had expected, that evening, to walk into the hospital room of a woman dying; instead, against everything that I'd previously intuited, in spite of my own better judgement, I left that hospital with renewed hope. I fought against that hope as hard as I could, remembering how I saw my role in being there. Yet, the hope wouldn't budge. It was there. Before I left the hospital that night, I watched as Serenity took herself to the bathroom, and then brushed her teeth, explaining to me how she couldn't stand the feel of her mouth if she didn't brush at night. I laughed with her and told her she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. She was glowing with the strength and peace that she'd always carried with her. So, at nearly 12:30 a.m., I left the hospital and Columbia and drove home in high spirits, crying and laughing and listening to Bill Cosby. I had hope again, and hope was all Serenity had ever needed before, would it be enough this time? I prayed so hard that I'd been wrong before in thinking we were finally at the end of the roller coaster ride. I cried and laughed and thought and prayed the whole way home, intently ignoring the twisting and knotting that had begun to grow again, and continued to grow the further I drove away from her. Was it denial? Was it just the strength I needed to carry me through what was to come? How could I have been so blind to what the odds should have been showing me? I called friends that I'd previously cried to and told them there was hope. I held my husband and told him I knew there was hope. I decided the nausea and the knot must be a virus or something. I certainly wouldn't tell anyone else about that, since a virus was the last thing in the world Serenity needed! Thursday passed in anxious anticipation while I waited, practically crawling inside the computer, to get a positive update from Keith, via facebook. I finally went to bed without the update. I woke up early on Friday and read Thursday night's update and a new one. The knot and the nausea returned and a new tightness formed in my chest. In the back of my mind, I remember thinking about false labor. False hope, false labor, roller coaster, I'm healthy, I'm sick, oh my gosh, I don't have the words to express how my emotions rocked and rolled and twisted and turned that morning. I received a phone call from a friend, who doesn't know any of the Columbia group, a little later Friday morning. She had read a copy of an update on Serenity. In the update, there was the tone of insistent hope, though the news was obviously the worst yet. That friend called me, and gently asked me if I knew there probably was no hope? She asked me if I knew that Serenity needed to be told it was ok to go. Could the Universe have spoken any more clearly than that? For a girl who needs to see things in black and white, no, it could not be any more clear than that. I needed to go. I began packing before I even knew what I was doing; I had no idea who would watch my kids, or what my husband's schedule was, how long I'd need to be gone, and I'd even been told Serenity didn't want anyone to see her. None of that mattered; I was going to be near, if not with my friend, that's all I knew, that's all I could focus on. I cleaned, I packed, and I prepared the kids for being w/out me for a bit. I told the older kids that our dear friend was dying and that I was going to be with her. We cried, we hugged, we went on with the day. More to therapy now. :)

1 comment:

RobertG said...

As I said on Facebook, I love your writing! It's like we are there with you. Though in this case that is virtually impossible. If you ever decide to write for a living, let me know and I'll be glad to be a beta tester. :)