Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I was wasting time on Facebook when I saw my daughter posted something to my timeline.
It said, "You need to write, Mother." My kids only call me Mother when they're annoyed with me. Maybe she's annoyed because I tell her to write all the time for therapeutic reasons. She called me tonight and told me not to read her latest post, that it would "upset" me.
Being narcissistic and all I thought she wrote something horrible about me. She said, "No, it's about Isaiah dying. There are things written that I don't think you're ready to read."
I think she's right. Isaiah died in 2004. I still can't look at his pictures for more than split second. Losing Isaiah was probably one of the two most difficult things in my life. I won't read. I won't cry. I won't re-live it. I just won't.
The other most difficult thing I've faced was finding out my mother had died, and then finding out she had been killed by physician negligence.
I remember my cell phone ringing about 4 in the morning. I let it ring. It was probably a wrong number at that time of night I remember thinking. If a message was left I would retrieve it. A message was left. When I heard the tone I climbed out of bed and stumbled to get my phone from the charger.
It was my aunt that lives on Cape Cod. I called her back. She said, "Teri, your mom is in the hospital. She's in grave condition. You need to call your uncle."
I was stunned. I couldn't comprehend what she had just said. I punched the numbers into my phone to call my uncle. When he answered he said, "Oh Teri honey, I'm so sorry. Your mom just died." I sat on the edge of the bed for a couple of minutes. My mind wouldn't take in the information.
After a bit I got up and went into the kitchen where Jeff was making coffee. I calmly told him my mother was dead. I remember thinking about those true crime shows where the police tell someone that a loved one had been killed and they show no emotion, therefore they must be the perpetrator. I had no emotion, I would have been arrested, I thought, had I been questioned about the mysterious conditions surrounding my mom's death.
My brother and cousin work for American Airlines and one of them, or both of them, had passes waiting at the ticket counter at the Portland Airport for Jeff and me to make the flight to Texas.
I don't remember the flight, I don't remember seeing my dad or my brothers. I do remember picking out the casket and flowers. I remember choosing the grave site with my dad and brothers. That's all I remember of the days surrounding her death.
Sometime during those first days I found out one of the doctors had told my dad that he needed to talk to the coroner about how my mom died. Mom had fallen and cut her chin. Dad called the EMTs to take her to the hospital for stitches. The next thing he knew was a doctor came out and simply said, "She's dead."
The doctor that whispered to my father to talk to the coroner had theorized that when mom was sent for scans of her head and neck a contrast was used that shouldn't have been used with the medications she was taking.
That turned out not to be the cause of her death. The reason my mother died, and the reason I say she was killed, is that when she was in for the scans the tech noticed she was having trouble breathing. She called the ER doc and told her, the doctor, she thought she needed to get mom back to the ER. The doctor said to finish the scans.
The tech called several more times and each time was told by the doctor in charge to finish the scans. Finally the tech defied the doctor and rushed mom back to the ER when her breathing became even more difficult. By that time it was too late.
Mom was suffocating and went into something called DIC, or Disseminated intravascular coagulation and began to bleed out everywhere. Her throat was so swollen that she couldn't be intubated. She died. Dad had taken her for stitches and she died from negligence.
That was July 3, 2006. I can't look at her pictures either. I do have pictures of Mom and Isaiah around my house, but I avoid them at all costs. I can look at the pictures of my dad and I can smile when I look at them. You see, Dad's death was expected. He was sick, we knew it was near. It was his time. I'm at peace with that although I miss him terribly. But with Mom and Isaiah I can't do it. I can't face it. I don't want the tears to start, I fear they'll never stop. I fear they will unleash emotions I try too hard to keep buried deep inside.
I guess my daughter was right, I needed to write. But as I was writing this I realized that I've distanced myself even from this piece. My feelings aren't engaged. They can't be. I have to keep them buried until one day maybe I can handle them. But tonight is not the time.
So I'll step back, I'll write from afar. I'll push what memories I do have away, I'll bind them and bury them deeper. Maybe one day I'll be able to feel what I need to. Maybe one day I'll be able to truly mourn. Maybe one day I'll be able to look at the pictures, to remember and cry, but not today, not today.