Yesterday around 10:45 am, I got a message from my Uncle informing me that somehow my Aunt who has been battling stage 3 pancreatic cancer had wound up in the hospital and moved to the ICU department for a very bad case of sepsis. For those who might not know or be aware, sepsis is a terrible infection that results in fever, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure with a fast heart rate, and mental confusion. My husband and I wanted to rush over and see her immediately, my research had led me to believe that people already sick with life threatening disease that get sepsis usually don’t last and I didn’t want her to go without hearing one last time just how much I love her and wish she could stay.
Sadly I was informed that I couldn’t go see her, visitation was for immediate family only. Even they had to take extra precautions by wearing a mask and gloves before going into her room to see her. I felt my heart shatter within my chest.
Just before 3p.m. I got a call saying we were welcome to go down and see her, they deeply feared she wouldn’t make it through the night and my Uncle was sure she was definitely never going back home. Almost fifteen minutes after alerting my Uncle that we were on our way, I got the message that made my heart stop. It was such a short and simple message, only three words long. It changed my entire perspective of the day, and I will never forget yesterday. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.
The kids had just gotten up from their naptime / educational tv time and were eating when I got the message. My husband and I kicked ourselves into gear, he got the kids ready the rest of the way and packed them in the car as I was in autopilot packing a diaper bag and getting them extra drinks just in case. I did my best to hold in the tears until I got into the car. I remember sitting there in somber silence, wanting to scream like a willful teenager who refuses to believe it happened. I think what made me the most upset was I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. As we were driving, my eldest kept asking, “Mommy are you okay? Are you okay mommy?” We drove as fast as the cars ahead of us would allow, we pushed the limit and drove in the rain like bats coming out of their caves in search of their next meal. We traveled as though our worst nightmare was chasing us, even though it had already came to pass. By far the best part of the ride was talking to Suze through Facebook. She got both myself and my husband to smile and laugh and we in turn made her and her husband double over with laughter.
When we arrived they had already taken her from her room and we couldn’t see her. The whole time I was thinking to myself, “I just want to pay in her bed with her and hug her one last time.” You see, we were supposed to of gone to see her Saturday for the fireworks and a cook out, but my husband had finally been told he was switching to day shift come Tuesday, right after the 4th of July. He was operating on barely 3 hours of sleep, and was in no condition to drive two hours there then two hours back home again. We had done that once before and it didn’t go very well at all and both he and I were worried about doing the drive with both kids in the car with us.
I remember trying to find where the family was within the hospital and having my heart crushed upon seeing so many sad faces in one room. I knew there were many more that would have been there, because she is an amazing woman who has touched the lives of many. She has always been an inspirational and loving person, and it shows in the people whose lives she has touched just by having met them. I’m not ashamed to admit, the better portion of the drive there I had been crying. I fought the urge to cry again as I walked into the room, my heart heavy with sorrow and pain. We didn’t get to stay very long as it was already nearing 6pm and the kids had spent the better portion of the day in the car bored. We knew they were tired and needed their sleep. On our way home, I wrote this for my Aunt and everyone whose lives she touched.
Today I lost a friend. Today I lost a family member. Today I lost an Aunt. Today I lost a piece of my heart. Today a soul left this earthly realm and was freed of her pain and turmoil. She left behind a lot of sorrow and many loved ones, but as we weep we rejoice as well. She is gone from our arms, but she is greeted in heaven. It is my deepest wish, even as an atheist, that if there is a heaven, she be there today. She is a couragous and loving woman, beautiful and wise wife, and a adoringly amazing mother. She is the aunt you always want to hang out with, in other words, the cool aunt. She was modest, both on her opinions, her self worth, and her attire. Yet she managed to be one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, inside and out. You may be gone from our arms, Aunt Peggy, but you will always be in our hearts.
Rest in peace, Aunt Peggy.