I was a teenager and got a phone call from my friend Mona's mom. She said that Mona had gotten in a car wreck on her way to an orthodontist appointment. The police and fire department did not have the jaws of life at that time and could not get her out of her vehicle. She had hydroplaned in a JEEP and flipped several times. It took the paramedics 2 hours to get her out of the vehicle and she died on the operating table. Now Mona was a very vibrant, beautiful teenager with a full life ahead of her. She couldn't be dead is what I thought. She was on the cross country running team and very popular in her senior year. So how does your mind comprehend such news. Her funeral which was attended by pretty much all of Sutherlin Oregon was a beautiful funeral. It was the saddest day of my early life. How do you say goodbye to a friend and still not believe she is gone?
My dad had been sick for a while but it seemed maybe to me at the time not that bad. He had a heart attack before but seemed like he was doing great. He would drive from Crescent Oregon to my house, stopping by Kowloons knowing I was working and sit and visit with me. I would buy him BBQ Pork and a Harvey Wallbanger (his favorite drink) and just visit with him. Then he would come to the house and stay with us for the weekend. What a wonderful time. I remember the call: Tuesday afternoon, I was getting ready to go to work for the Rotary Club and the phone rings. It's mom saying that dad has only a week or so to live according to the hospice nurse. Where was I when the hospice was called in? I don't remember there ever being mentioned a nurse and dad being that sick. I fell to the floor at that moment wondering what I would do without Dad. Then reality sinks in and I know I have to arrange for the kids to be cared for so I can be at mom and dad's to help and I have to arrange work which is the last on my mind. I just don't care about work or money at that moment. But being reasponsible that I am I call work and tell them I will be gone for a while and call Chuck and Carol to care for the boys and we leave the next morning for mom and dad's. Being by someone's side as they wither away is the hardest thing I have ever done. As dad passed away I was there to hold his hand and kiss his forehead. Through the many horrible times my brothers and sisters were there for me and I hope I was there for them as well. What a horrible phone call.
February 4, 2008: I am at work and my cell phone rings, it's Jake. I'm thinking why is Jake up at 9:30 am my time which is 6:30 his time. I answer and I can't understand him so I step outside so I can hear hopefully better. He says to me "Koen passed away during the night, he is gone" "mommy can you come"? I'm thinking "is this a joke"? Then reality sets in and I know it's not a joke, that Jake would never play such a joke. All I can think is I have to get there to help. I have to hold Jake and Amanda. I can't think straight. My coworkers pull me inside and drag out of me what happened. My CEO takes me to his office as it is private. he prays with me to try to help and says don't worry about anything we will help. I have to say my coworkers and friends helped me through this horrible time. They gave me cash to help with my airfare and trip and support in just being there for me. This was the worst day of my life. Our baby Koen was a beautiful baby and was never sick. I didn't even get to see him and hold him. Financially I had not been able to make the trip to see him. I was devestated not only for me but for Jake and Amanda. How would they deal with this tragedy? They were too young to have a child but then to lose him when they loved him so much. I tried to be there for our babies but in the end it was up to them to deal with their pain in their own way. Unfortunately neither one dealt well with it although Amanda dealt more than Jake did. Jake is the type of person to suppress whatever is hurting him. He will make his way through it eventually but his path will be harder and more severe because of the delay. My path is to carry on and do what I can to help them through their pain if I can. My pain is there but I cannot feel my pain because I have to feel their pain first. They are the vulnerable ones, I am older and will live.
In January: On a Friday afternoon I get results of my mom's blood tests and they are not good. I get a text that says "You need to come now, doctor says only a week or so". How do you proceed from there? I go to my HR manager and she schedules me a flight and I then go to my supervisor and let her know that I will be out the next week and not sure of the week after that. Thankfully I have really wonderful managers and supervisors and they tell me "take the time you need". I fly to Oregon and I am the last sibling to get to mom's. I visit with mom, help with her medicine, bathe her, sit with her and be with the family. On Wednesday January 21, 2009, 2 days after I arrive mom passes away.
Through my life as an adult I have received these 4 terrible phone calls. These are not phone calls you wish for. They are the kind of calls other people get, not you. All in all we all have had a bad phone call in one way or another but we have to deal with them as best we can. We have to rely on friends and family to get us through when we receive these calls. In the last 2 calls I've gotten that were bad, Ron was there for me. He was totally supportive and wanted to be with me although he couldn't be there physically with me. He called to check on me and just to tell me he loved me.
Do you have a support person like this? I hope everyone does because without it when you get a call like this you may not get through it as well I have with a supportive, loving, listening person in my life.