Wednesday, April 18, 2012


My stories of Ailish and how things happened are all out of order with much time in between sharing them but so that shall be I guess.  Today I was reminded on of what it was to have to tell the kids Ailish had died.  Without a lie short of losing Ailish that had to have been the most difficult experience of my life.

Ailish's time of death was called at 9:32pm that Friday night.  So much happened after that point and I lost  track of time.  I know I texted my friend who was at home with the kids saying that Ailish was coding.  I then texted her that Ailish had died.  For all that I remember as if it were yesterday these facts are somewhat fuzzy.  I think I also told her that I would tell the kids.  I'm sure that went without saying.

I spent I guess what turns out to be hours with Ailish afterwards.  I held her.  I made decisions regarding tissue donation, autopsy, did I want foot prints, did I want to cut off some of her hair etc. Not the decisions you hope to be making for your child.  I sponge bathed her, dressed her and rebraided her hair that I had only done recently before she passed.  She was unconscious all day and by doing her waist length hair I had hoped to irritate her enough to open her eyes and complain.  That never happened.  I packed up our belongings of the last forty eight hours, enough to last the seven days we were supposed to be there.  I drove home.

It was I believe some where between one and two that I stepped through my front door carrying only I think my laptop.  The laptop was so I could look up funeral homes, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was supposed to do.  I was unsure as to whether to wake the teens up and tell them their sister had died or wait until morning.  Of course it made more sense to wait and so I did not really knowing what I was going to say or how to say it.

Being teenagers they sleep in late.  I woke them about eight and separately having to tell the story twice.  They were not expecting to see me as I was to be away in hospital for up to seven days.  I was unsure of what my word choices would or should be though I spent most of the night contemplating them.  Basically I simply told them that Ailish quit breathing, then her heart stopped beating and though they tried hard the doctors couldn't fix her.  The enormity of what I was saying was too much and each had to confirm by sobbing "so she died?"  The whole scene was grotesque.  I held them while they cried really not knowing what I was supposed to do next.  What I did know was that over the next week I was forced into making monumental decisions that could make or break what remained of my sanity.  One week...

The other kids were told as I got them from their beds.  Only Donovan and Malia were able to give me any verbal feedback and as neither really understood the finality of what I was saying the words were facts that they repeated and still till this day do.  They understand now that Ailish is not coming back but the concepts of death, heaven etc are beyond them as they are very concrete thinkers.  My kids that are nonverbal and seemingly unaware showed no visible response but were offered the same extra time and attention along with more reinforcement as to what had happened to Ailish and our family.

To live it yourself is one thing.  To have to be the bearer of the news and cause hurt to those you love is another.  Sometimes I think I should have planned better.  I mean it's not like I didn't know I would potentially have to give the bad news.  Maybe I should have had at least an idea as to what to say, what to do.  I guess it's just when you are living your life with someone who knowingly has less borrowed time than you, you stick all the end stuff back in the recesses of your brain.  You know it will come but you don't focus on it.  In spending time thinking about impending loss you really steal time from what is today, time that can't be afforded.

At any rate it is what it is.  I did what and did and said what I said.  Hopefully I didn't mess them up more than I do on a regular basis.

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