I have debated within myself and checked in with others and I have finally decided to write about what happened during the night Serenity left this world. In the past few posts, I have written things as though I were the only one in the room with her; while I feel as though I was alone, in actuality, her Mom was with us, dozing in the chair on the other side of Serenity's bed. I think it's safe to say, since she was sleeping, I pretty much was alone. The exact timeline and order in which things happened is pretty fuzzy, so forgive me if I don't have the details exactly as any of you may remember them; also, remember perspective is a strange thing. I was so inside my own head and heart, and so involved in making sure Serenity had someone, awake, to be with her when she passed, that I missed a lot of other things that were going on. I also am not re-reading whatever I've already posted previously, so forgive any repetition. I just need to get this out of me. Keith and Trinity are coming to visit tomorrow and I have been burying my grief and trying not to let it surface for so long, that I may bust when I see them if I don't write it all down.
Serenity and Dawn often communicated in sign language. At first, this was because they were teaching the babies to sign. Then, it was a way for them to talk over the noise of all the kids, or just to quietly let the other know they needed a refill or that one was leaving to go to the bathroom. That final night, after Serenity wasn't able to talk as well anymore, she used the sign for "water." Dawn immediately knew what she meant and got her water. For the rest of the night, after everyone else was gone, Suzanne and I were able to give her water as needed because of that sign. After Suzanne fell asleep, Serenity asked for water again. At this point, I was doing all the work because Serenity could barely suck or swallow. But she was SO thirsty, I had to try. The nurse had given us a sippy cup with an attached plastic straw, the kind you give toddlers. She wanted that sip of water so bad, but she couldn't do it that time. It ended up spilling on her shoulder and her eyes flew open and I could almost hear her saying something sarcastic about me finally spilling the water on her, after being the only one who didn't all night. :) I laughed out loud and apologized and dried her off. I was a nervous wreck, trying to make sure I was doing all that I could to keep her comfortable and taken care of and then spilling the water! A nurses assistant, Sylvia, finally came in the room to show me where a clean pillow was, since the pillow had suffered from the cold water too. I honestly can't tell you how I was able to hold it together as well as I did, knowing as I did, that she was going to pass sometime during the night. I helped Serenity drink water several times that night. A couple days later, the song #41 by DMB came on the radio while I was driving. One of the lyrics is "...i will bring water..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz9B3Eki0LI I was blaring the radio, singing along and suddenly, I was sobbing. I had to pull over. I was SO SO happy that I was able to bring her that water when she needed it, and so so grieving that she was gone and I wouldn't be able to bring her water ever again. Remembering it now, it's as if somehow, bringing the water to her was my offering in return for her gift of allowing me to stay with her until she left. I sat beside her bed, listening to her breathing, too anxious to fall asleep in case she needed anything. Throughout the night, or actually I should say morning, the requests for water slowed and finally I felt I could relax a bit. I had been told that people rarely will let go if anyone is in the room with them; as compelled as I was to stay with her, I felt I should make myself as undetectable as possible. I know that sounds silly, but I needed to stay and at the same time, I certainly didn't want to hinder whatever was coming. I propped her extra pillow up between her elbow and the bed rail, and slid down in my chair so she wouldn't feel like I was watching her. I put my feet up on her bed and drifted in and out. Suzanne had seemed to want the bathroom light on, but then it was shining directly on Serenity's face; I finally decided to turn it off, thinking Serenity might be a bit more comfy w/out the light shining in her eyes. I was so tired at that point, sometime after 3 in the morning, that I decided getting some sleep wouldn't be a bad idea. A while after I settled into my chair, listening for any change in her breathing, I heard soft sighing noises coming from Serenity; my first reflex reaction was to grab some water for her. Something held me back, almost as though someone were gently putting a hand on each of my shoulders. I overwhelmingly knew she didn't need water this time. I laid there, as still and quiet as I could be, my legs propped beside hers on the bed, the rest of me lying back in the chair. Suzanne was sound asleep. Serenity made a few more sweet sighing sounds, and then her breathing slowed and changed from the ragged, hard breaths she'd been taking all night, to softer, more relaxed breathing. There was a relaxed, comforting feeling now, and all the nervous anxiety I'd felt all night and morning began to fade. The sounds she had made were so similar to the happy baby noises that a nursling makes at her Mother's breast. I don't know exactly what time that was, just a bit after 4. That is when Serenity's soul left her body. She finally let go. Shortly after that, the nurse came in to check her vitals. I had been so protective of Serenity all that night, that when I asked the nurse why she needed blood, she misunderstood my intent. She promised me it wouldn't hurt Serenity. Well I already knew that, since Serenity wasn't in her body anymore. I realized she didn't get that Serenity was gone and so I just sat back and let it be. I'm going to let this be the end of this post. That is the sweet way I would like to remember Serenity's passing from this world.