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My Daughter Told Me To

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.

20 comments:

Karli April 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM  

You were right. :( even though you are pushing away the feelings, telling your story is the start of healing. Whenever you tell the story a little piece of your brain starts to recognize that it's reality. If you're like me you want to avoid feeling that these horrible things really did happen because it's far too painful. I'm like you, I feel that if I let myself really feel and mourn that the pain will be unbearable and I'll completely lose control unable to return to "normal." one day we'll be able to process. But it needs to be on your own time, when you're ready. I love you, Mom.

The Bipolar Diva April 18, 2012 at 11:02 PM  

I don't ever want to be ready.

YeamieWaffles April 19, 2012 at 2:18 AM  

This moved me so much Diva, I'm so sorry to read about this, especially about how your mother died. It stings to write this so I can't even begin to imagine, I'm sorry to hear about Isaiah.

Nikky44 April 19, 2012 at 2:48 AM  

In just two days it will be 10 years since my mother died of cancer. She was 55. I can't show any emotion talking about her, I still couldn't. It is so scary.

angel shrout April 19, 2012 at 3:47 AM  

Teri, although my mom did not pass under such horrible circumstances I have wondered since the day they moved her to ICU could they have found out more sooner. She was left in the substandard one for 2 days with nurses that couldn't give a shit one way or the other, sent to another hospital that went off what they knew. Had they run tests sooner could they have known sooner it wasn't just pnuemonia. Even if they had would it have changed the outcome? I think if I had known sooner what was really going on the choices would have been different. I know they would have been. At least on my part. Did anyone ever seek legal action against the hospital??They should have. It wouldn't have brought her back but it would have given you some form of knowledge that their actions were not ignored. I can understand not wanting to go there, to put on the happy face. I did it for over a month after mom passed. My tears were controlled, my anger held in. I still don't think I have grieved completely, but it is somewhat easier. This piece is a start for you sweetie. Use it as such. Keep writing, get past the anger and hurt over it and see the beautiful things that made them such a large part of your life. I love you hun.

Miss C April 19, 2012 at 5:39 AM  

I'm sorry for the pain you are going through. My grandma recently passed away from Cancer and she was in a lot of pain. I still miss her but it is easier knowing she is no longer in pain. My godfather passed away when I was 18 and his was a sudden death. It is still hard for me to believe at times. so I can relate to both kinds of deaths.

Tami April 19, 2012 at 8:14 AM  

Terri, I am so sad hearing the way you lost your mom. A few days ago was the anniversary of my grandfathers death. It still shakes me up. He died because he was sick too. It's strange how it makes it easier to mourn his loss than to mourn the loss of someone who passed in a horrible way.
I am sorry.

Tami April 19, 2012 at 8:14 AM  

Terri, I am so sad hearing the way you lost your mom. A few days ago was the anniversary of my grandfathers death. It still shakes me up. He died because he was sick too. It's strange how it makes it easier to mourn his loss than to mourn the loss of someone who passed in a horrible way.
I am sorry.

Furry Bottoms April 19, 2012 at 8:31 AM  

I'm glad you shared this, Teri. It's horrible what you had to go through and you're afraid to relive it so you do things at all costs to avoid that.

For both you and Karli... losing control IS one of the first steps to truly, truly healing. I cannot ever do it myself, I cannot lose that control. But once you do, you can reclaim it and that crazy feeling of being afraid to lose control won't be there to hold you back again. It's convulted, but has its own logic.

MichaelHarley April 19, 2012 at 10:52 AM  

You should always write, I love to read your writing because you are so concise with your words, you paint a picture by text alone and that's very visual. If it helps, you should do it always and on a regular or daily basis, if you can find the time. I know I would enjoy reading. Besides the writing, sorry to hear about the events with your mom. A hug for you, my friend.

The Bipolar Diva April 19, 2012 at 2:15 PM  

Thanks everyone. Before this happened I would have thought six years would have been enough time to heal. It just hasn't been. The encouragement you've all shown is overwhelming. Thank you.

Dazee Dreamer April 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM  

Thank you so much for putting your soul on the line and talking about this. I've always wondered how your mom was killed. I hope that something was done about the doctor. I'm so sorry for all the pain you have had to endure during your life. ((hugs))

myinnerchick.com April 19, 2012 at 3:57 PM  

--Diva,
You will do what you are comfortable with.
You will mourn when you like, how long you like, and in the way you like.
You will know when the time is right to look at pictures. you will know, Sweets.
as for me...I shall mourn my sister's murder FOREVER. <3
Xxx Love Love Love

Shauna Smith April 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM  

I am so sorry to read of your losses. The pain must be immeasurable. Your letting out some of it with writing and thats a healthy choice. One day you will heal, it is a slow slow process and it wont happen till you are ready. Your story moved me to tears I could really feel your pain and fear. I understand not wanting to lose control, we work so hard to keep control how do we let it go ever.
Thank you for sharing your story please be blessed knowing your Mom and Isaiah are always with you. Hugs to you!

Shauna
Bipolar2happiness.com

Classic NYer April 19, 2012 at 5:16 PM  

Your daughter is a smart girl.

And I'm available for hugs whenever they're necessary. I'm just a plane ride away.

Rob-bear April 19, 2012 at 8:06 PM  

You need to write. It's true.

Wait a minute.

You are already writing. And doing it from your heart. Or so it seems.

Bear is confused. Blessings and Bear hugs, Diva. Lots of hugs!

W.C.Camp April 19, 2012 at 8:31 PM  

Sorry Diva ... I too fear the day my folks and in-laws pass. Logically it WILL happen but illogically I just cannot accept that reality. When it becomes real, I am not sure how I will feel or how I will react. Thank you as always for sharing. W.C.C.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell April 19, 2012 at 8:45 PM  

Sometimes I think our brains protect us from what they know we simply can't handle at that time. I know I have some stuff shut out and although I could probably go through therapy to work it through, I just don't want to feel it.

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