I happened upon this board while on another, and it seemed appropriate for me to put my thoughts here. I apologize in advance if I get long winded, but honestly, I have never had anyone to talk to about these things as I thought I might just be bothering people and Shannon, my dh, doesn't like to talk about things.
Shannon and I met in late 1996. His cousin was dating my cousin and we started talking. It took 4 years of off again/on again before we realized that there was something here. I lived in Atlanta at the time and just came up for weekends or he down to Atlanta. I changed my work schedule to have Fridays off and would head up to NC on Thursday nights. While Shannon would work, I would take his mom to her radiation treatments or to the store or where ever she might need to go. I feel like we got somewhat close in those two years before Shannon and I were married. She started to teach me how to can garden vegetables and sauces - and we would just spend the day talking or watching Lifetime movies. Joann, Shannon's mom, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. They treated her aggressively with chemo and radiation. By early 2002, she had a double mastectomy, and was in remission. Praise God! She was doing well and she had a chance. Well, all along her colitis had been acting up. She spent more of her day in the bathroom, bless her heart. The poor woman was just ill.
Back up 12 years. Shannon's brother, Stephen died in a car wreck at 16. It took quite a toll on Joann. Fast forward 6 years. RC, Shannon's dad died from a long fight with Lung Cancer. This woman, my soon to be mother in law had lost a son and her husband. I never had the honor of meeting Shannon's dad. But I hear he was an amazing man. Just to hear Joann speak of him, her eyes would light up, she would have this glow to her. He was the love of her life. I can't even explain to you the way she looked when she thought of or talked about RC. It is the kind of love that I can only dream of having 1/2 of. It was just amazing. She loved that man as much 6 years after he died as she did the day she married him. Just amazing. I wish everyone could have seen it.
Anyway, Joann missed RC. She missed him desperately. She kept her only grandson most of the time and then Shannon still lived at home. Her life revolved around them and their needs.
Shannon and I were to be married on April 13, 2002. On April 12, I took Joann in for her regular doctor's visit. Her doctor admitted her to the hospital for a blood transfusion, but assured her she would be out in time to see her son get married. That never happened. She wasn't strong enough to come to the wedding. She thought I was mad at her. She thought I blamed her. I sit here crying remembering that look on her face when she kept saying she was sorry. I was sad, yes, but no, she couldn't have helped it. I just wanted her to be better.
After the wedding and the reception, Shannon and I, still in my wedding dress and him his tuxedo, went to the hospital to see his mom and show her a video that someone had taken. She was so happy.
That was the last time I saw her happy and alive. Alive to the extent that she knew we were there.
Shannon and I left for our honeymoon first thing Sunday morning. She was suppose to be let go from the hospital in the next day or two. We called her every morning before we would head out for the day. She sounded tired, but otherwise OK.
Wednesday, the 17th of April, we talked to her and she said she was going to have some surgery for her colitis. After talking to her, we called my SIL to get the full story and apparently, they were going to try to fix her colon or if it was really bad, they were going to do a colostomy. Joann was devastated and said that she would die before she had to carry a bag around. Well, that she did. Apparently, when they did the scope of her colon, the doctor poked a hole in her colon. Thursday morning, we got the phone call that a decision needed to be made.
We left as soon as we got the call. It was the longest 2 hour ride I have ever been on. The one thing I remember the most is that Shannon drove right at the speed limit. Like he could prevent the inevitable if he went slow. Bless his heart. This would be his third loss and only 25 years old. I had never been around much death in my life, so this was all very new and very raw. I was devastated. How was I going to comfort him? Was he going to let me? What do I do? Take the strong roll or was it OK for me to break down.
I broke down. When we walked into the waiting room, it was a sea of family and tears. We met with the doctor to discuss our options. Basically, it was life support or to take her off. There would be no life left for her. It was just a matter of making the decision. Shannon and his sister decided to just let her go. Let her go be with her family in Heaven. Let her rest. Let her be healed. Let her see her maker and be welcomed with open arms. What an amazing woman she was. When we saw her in her room with all the breathing machines and her swollen up to 3 times her size, it was heartbreaking. Where was the petite, woman I had know and seen not a week before? Oh, what was I going to do???
She passed on Thursday, April 18, 2002. We all wept. I fell in the floor outside of ICU and just bawled. I cried and cried as I don't think I ever have. My husband. My poor husband. What was I to do? I still had so much to learn from Joann. Still needed her to straighten my husband out when he got out of line - like I have heard so many other wives say they have happen.
I miss her so much. I look at my beautiful son and mourn for him. Yes, he has my parents and step parents, but he will never get to hear the funny stories from his maw-maw about his dad when he was little or get those days of spoiling from her. God, she would have ate him up. I just know she would have.
Four years today. I could just sit here and weep. But I guess I better rejoice that she is with the Lord and has no pain. We will see her again someday. I just wish Mason could have met her.
I am sorry this is so long and if you made it this far. Thanks. It really felt good to get it out.
For all those with losses, please know that you are in my prayers and I admire your strength and courage for you and your children.