Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February -- Valentine's Day & Ollie's peaceful transition


These two weeks have been the most trying days of my entire life. Two weeks ago I was in a place I never thought I'd be. Ollie had been struggling to speak and it was harder and harder to understand him. It was a difficult time for me as my medications were being changed and I was teetering on the edge of sanity I think because of it. It's been hard the last couple of months as it seems that everyone seems to just want Daddy. Due to my whacked out mental illness I, of course, took it personally and have been struggling with the fact that no one wants mom for anything. I know that Ed is the only one that could lift him and help in many more physical ways than I could. He'd gained so much weight, lost his the ability to move and I deal with back issues so of course he needs Ed. I had been struggling before, but when Oliver struggled to get out the words, "I love you, Dad" and then said nothing to me... I just lost it and went into a tailspin of sorts. I think only people who have been suicidal can't understand the feeling of pain and anguish that consumes your entire being. I sat and waited for him to say something to me... but nothing. And those were the last words I ever heard him speak. I was sad, I was angry. WHY??? Why does everyone want Dad? I just thought... 'fine... everyone can just have Dad' and thought 'screw it'. No one wants me here anyways so just screw it. And I snapped. I did what I never thought I could ever do. Never in my life did I ever think it would be possible for me to actually try and do it, but I did. I became 'that person'. Oh great... I'm now one of 'thooooooose people' whose lives are completely out of control and actually try to do themselves in. I will forever have that label attached to me. So many thoughts swirled through my head and I wanted to just run away so no one would find me and be able to stop me, but then I think sanity finally found its' way back into my brain and I was scared. I was scared that they wouldn't be able to save me because I took so many pills. I was scared that it would hurt to pump my stomach. I was scared to have to face my reality. I was scared, I was anguished, I was angry, I was mad at myself for being so weak, I was embarrassed at becoming what I was. I was consumed by grief. My son is dying. How am I going to live my life without him? How am I going to be able to go on every day without that smiling boy next to me, how will I eat everyday at the table with an empty seat across from me? (I understand that my kids and husband need me... believe me... I do, so please don't feel like you need to counsel me on that. I'm in a different place now.)

The more I thought about it, and I had lots of time to think for the following few days, the more I realized that, "My kids may act like they don't WANT me, but they NEED me." I really tried to delve down deep inside and get at why they just gravitate toward dad. Well... I'm the scary mom with the mental illness that is like Jekell and Hyde some days and daddy is the easy going one that lets everything just roll off of his back. AWESOME. I may have given him memories of parties and trips, but dad can give him his knowledge of the gospel and the plan of salvation. I can't. Again... AWESOME. Wow... completely feeling like a ball of crap right about now. I can give him fun and fluff, but Ed can give him what he truly needs. A situation like this really makes you take a hard look at yourself and life. I really need to do more than I have been doing to get my life back in some sort of order. I just feel so lost and out of control. So I was still in-patient at the hospital and Ed said Oliver wasn't doing well, so I talked with my doctor the next day and let me leave early because he was actually being transported to our local Hospice Home. I don't think I would have ever forgiven myself had he passed away when I was in the hospital myself although I know that is where I needed to be at the time. The next few days were difficult seeing him decline more and more each day. He hadn't eaten or spoken in several days and his breathing had been getting more and more labored.

FEBRUARY 14, 2012 - Our final Valentine's Dinner with everyone...

Eden and Ed

Oliver and his favorite -- Chocolate covered strawberries!

Sweet boy, asleep.

Thank you to all my friends that helped with the Valentine's decorations and food. We couldn't have done it without your help!

Someone else that was visiting the Hospice House put this inside the door, as we were all sleeping at the time. Very sweet of her.

Sweet boy. Oh... my heart. He loved Dance Marathon that's for sure.

Ed giving Ollie some sparkling cider from dinner since he hadn't eaten food for several days.

Trying to keep him as comfortable as we could.

Aubrey getting more cider.

Finny just blends right in with the red balloons!

Mmmmm... dessert!

Grandma (my mom) -- the Valentine Bandit.

My brother, Chad and my niece, Addison.

Aunt Emily, Ollie, Grandma, Brother Finny

Eden and cousins Natalie and Aubrey

My sweets...

We still celebrated Valentine's day with our traditional family Valentine's dinner. It was hard eating in front of him. I did give him some sparkling cider through a straw though. Each day, he lost something else. He couldn't sip through a straw anymore and so he choked if he got too much in when I actually put it into his mouth. His breathing sounded so crackly and raspy. It sounded like someone was in an old rocking chair rocking back and forth very quickly. Tensions were high and I will spare details of many of my frustrations at the situation I had currently found myself in. I needed to have alone time with him and Ed and there were just so many people in the room at the same time and I felt so frustrated. We finally got that time to ourselves. I read to him, we sang to him (Nearer My God to Thee, A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, Be Still My Soul, Come Come Ye Saints, etc.), I did a Mary Kay 'Satin Hands' treatment on his hands and massaged his legs and feet. I laid on the bed next to him and just ran my fingers through his hair and kissed his cheeks as much as I could.

Then I was in so much pain I was on the floor like that. My mom took me to the ER and they found that I had three kidney stones. This ended up hurting until about an hour before Oliver passed away a day and a half later. Plus, the day we got to the hospice house, I had the stomach flu and was laying on the cold bathroom floor there until I got up enough strength to go home, take some NyQuil and sleep for several hours. Aunt Flo paid a visit, I was having headaches from medication changes and then a horrible cold that I still have a week later. All this is going on with my own physical body and I'm like... "WHY NOW?!" I can't miss any more time with him. I can't sleep right now... I have to be well for Oliver. I was just floored as to all the pain I was in, but then I tried to think of Oliver and how he never complains... so I just had to suck it up. Oh well... do what you have to do.

FEBRUARY 15, 2012 - So many friends were in and out visiting the last few days. Amy, Meghan, Andrea, Mrs. Klein (Oliver's Kindergarten teacher), Woody, Katelyn, Bishop and Susie, and so many family members and other friends of ours and my mom's came. Lindsay and Krista and their kids came in with lots of balloons and valentines from all the kids in Primary at church. It was hard to see Sydney and Haylie crying as they saw Ollie. We've known them for so long and Ollie said that Sydney was one of 'his best girls'. They talked to him, although he couldn't speak, he gave a half smile and they both gave him a kiss on the cheek. Two of Oliver's best friends visited him on the night before he passed away. Nick came to read him some of the Valentine's that his class at school had sent and would get choked up reading some of them. What a sweet kid. I just love his whole family. Eden is best friends with his younger sister, McKenzie, who I used to babysit when her and Eden were in Preschool together. Then his good friend Takoda came with his Uncle Devon, who is actually their age, and his mom and dad. They are some good people, too. Such sweet, sweet people we have been blessed to meet because of our children. Takoda read 'Charlie's Superhero Underpants' and then talked to him and sat while Oliver laid next to him. He did manage to crack a few small half smiles there at the end. He'd been throwing up several times as well and so things were just getting harder and harder for him to do. They stayed for a long time and we had a great time talking with them. Takoda had given him a hug and kissed him on the cheek. Seriously... a sweet and compassionate young man.

Devon, Takoda and Ollie

Cassie (Takoda's mom), Takoda and Ollie. This is the last photo of Ollie that I have. Sweet, sweet boy.

Later, Katelyn, our University of Iowa Dance Marathon family representative, who met Oliver last year and just adores him stopped by at like 11 pm or so and chatted for a bit and then headed home. I was grateful that she had stopped by tonight because she had been planning on stopping by on Thursday night. After most people had left, my brother, Chad, Ed's brother, Randy, Ed and I and Oliver were the last ones that remained in the room. I kept having a song by the Dixie Chicks in my head called "Godspeed". "Godspeed, little man... sweet dreams, little man. Oh my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings. Godspeed. Sweet dreams."

FEBRUARY 16, 2012 - He was only there for four days. We did a lot of swabbing the saliva out of his mouth and a morphine drip for any pain he may have had. It was easier to manage before the pain started. He never complained, ever. Unreal. His breathing got worse and worse and Ed used the suctioning machine and got out a lot of foamy white stuff and there was some blood in the tube. I knew it wouldn't be much longer. I didn't think he would make it through the day and I was right. Everyone else was sleeping, but I stayed up with Oliver as he slept, his breathing still really crackly and loud. I sat next to him in a chair and suddenly realized that I could only hear the whirring of the fan and the droning of the oxygen tank and not his breathing. Before I looked up at his face... I just knew. I knew he was gone. I looked up and instantly knew and I looked at the clock... it was 4:15 am. I woke up Ed and said, "I think he's gone." The nurses came in and he let out a breath, but we knew he was already gone. It looked like he was sleeping. I KNOW that he left the way he wanted to because it was like he quietly 'snuck out the back door', just like Ed said. He wouldn't have wanted us to be crying or worried, so he peacefully left while we were all unaware. What a sweet, sweet boy. Always caring for everyone else.

Randy went to pick up Eden and I think Ed's dad brought Finny and Jaren... unless Jaren stayed with us that night... I can't even remember. Eden was scared to come into the room because she didn't want to see him laying there, but I said he just looked like he was sleeping and he was at peace. I was shocked because after she came in she kept touching him and kissing him and touching his hair. The boys didn't really understand it, of course, but I wanted them there anyways. We stayed in there with him for about an hour and a half later and then called the funeral home to come and pick him up. I kissed him and ran my finger along the curve of his nose. I couldn't believe the day had finally come to say goodbye to him. We followed him outside on the gurney and went to our car, I couldn't bear to see his face covered up in a body bag. We drove home and started the funeral planning. I still hadn't really cried much, later realizing that it is because of the SHOCK stage of grief. A numbness had overcome me, a small gift from God, to be able to function while planning the funeral and signing papers and all the stuff that comes after a death. We went to the funeral home and got things squared away and then to the cemetery to pick out a plot. Lot #33... ironically the age of Ed and I at Ollie's passing. We have plots next to him as well. So much of the next few days are a blur...


Lisa said...

You really must be stronger than you think - to be able to share this with all of us.... Thank-you. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

meghan said...

oh my heart aches reading this post. even though we dont live close, we miss your little man and still talk about him often. sending love

JODI said...

I agree with Lisa, you are stronger than you think. You and your family continues to be in my prayers and I am sure your angel son Oliver is watching over you always. Sending prayers and hugs.

Emily said...

Every time I read this I get so teary eyed and then at the end I just start crying. No child or family ever deserves to go through this. My prayers are always with you and your family.

Krista said...

Stacy, I am so grateful for those precious moments we were able to share with you and our sweet Ollie! Even though it was hard to be there that night, I know Sydney holds those few moments in her heart, as we all do!
We love you so much and we continue to pray for you and to keep Ollie in our hearts as we remember all those fun times we were able to share with him.

Anonymous said...

Your sweet Oliver knew he needed his momma at the end....you were right there next to him...he needed and WANTED you there with him alone. I have the utmost respect and compassion for you and your family. Many prayers for comfort and peace.

Anonymous said...

I just spent about 3 hours trying to remember Ollies name on facebook trying to get an update on him. I just had to know. I'm glad I finally got to read it.
I probably won't remember his name for long, but I know I'll never forget his face and his story.