Thursday, March 8, 2012

Long Suffering

   I've never known a person or a group of people with as much endurance, determination, strength, power, stubbornness, will, drive, courage, heart, patience, tolerance, persistence, and love as my sweet cousin Debbie.

   Deb has been fighting caner for the past 6 years. She's had her breasts removed, femur, hip bone and the cancer has spread in her lungs and brain. We all knew her time of earth was limited but it came to a crashing halt after a strange experience at the doctor's office. She was at a visit getting a blood transfusion sleeping through most of it and really quiet during the entire process. Shortly after she left she starting acting and saying weird things.  Also, not remembering who anyone was. Her sister, Angie, and brother-in-law Greg took her to the hospital Thursday evening. By Friday the doctor's had discovered Deb has carbon dioxide poisoning, and she had a few hours maybe days left. Debbie's husband, children, in-laws, sisters, brothers, cousins and friends rushed to her side. Scott and I arrived early Friday evening and it was heart-wrenching to see her and her lovely family. She has awake a little and then would fall asleep over and over again. Deb had to wear this "Sucky-mask" that literally sucked the air out of her. You could tell it was very uncomfortable for her and she didn't want to wear it. There were a few times when she was awake she would talk to us. Everyone would hug and kiss her and tell her how much we all loved her. Saying goodbye was hard, seeing her immediate family say goodbye was brutal. We stayed until 12 or 1 in the morning with no significant change.

   On Saturday afternoon they moved her out of ICU, off all the monitors and in a larger room to hold the family. There were 25-30 people there supporting Debbie and the Dickson family at all times. It was amazing to see and feel the love in this family. I am so thankful to live close enough to be part of this experience.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday she would sleep them be wide awake and talk with us all. She was very lucid, candid and funny. One time she woke up and said, "Why are you all staring at me?" Or, "I'm still here" Or, she wanted to go shopping, eat lobster or need to use the restroom. Her breathing became more harsh and uneven and we'd all say goodbye and ball and then a few minutes later she'd be awake cracking jokes.

There were so many personal, touching moments between Debbie and her husband, Scott. Or with her children, and siblings. She kept asking for her children to be close and repeated several times to them how much she loved them. She asked us all not to forget her. She begged her husband not to remarry because she wanted him all to herself, but then added it would be okay IF she was perfect!

   On Sunday night Alison brought in a violin and we had asked Deb on two different occasions of she wanted Alison to play and she quickly replied, No!” On the third time Mare, (Alison’s mom) asked Deb and she said yes, thankfully! Alison played several church hymns and we sang along. It was moving. It was beautiful. It was heart-warming. The spirit was so strong and powerful. And then Deb said, "Let's do this again next Sunday!"

   Debbie's father, Richard, is serving a mission at the England MTC with his wife Kathy. They had spoken on the phone and Skype several times (which was hard and beautiful to watch) but was trying to fly here to spend the last few hours/days with his oldest daughter. On Monday night around 11pm he finally arrived and is was joyous. She was so surprised, like a child on Christmas morning. I will never forget that special moment.

   By Tuesday late morning Debbie was in and out of it, really groggy. Her morphine drip was on 23, and she said she was still in some pain. (I was not there at this time but this is what other cousins have relayed to me) Debbie would focus right above everyone and say, "Hi!", "It's beautiful here", “The old timers are here”, would laugh and something the spirits were telling her, “Uh huh” (like she was listening to directions on what to do) and "Fine!" One time she said, "Hi mom!" (Margene, her mother, had passed away 9 years ago) Then the next second she would ask for Sprite or need to use the potty. Her breathing became shallow and drawn-out and at 2:30pm Debbie gave up the ghost. She is finally pain free. She is finally with other family in heaven.


DoryQueen said...

I wanted to be there but couldn't I appreciate this post because it now feels like I was there. What a special experience it mst have been. I'm glad she is finally pain free. Oh the joy she must be feeling to be reunited with all those we love. Thank you!

Summer Spillane Jordan said...

such a sweet memory of how fragile this existence is and how close the other side of the veil truly is! I know you all loved her dearly!

rachel said...

This makes life seems so short and so long all at the same time. I am glad she's no longer in pain and with loved ones and I am glad that she got to tell her babies she loved them once more. SO touching and sweet Lori. My condolences.

Kade, Elisa, Kole and Brody said...

thanks belle. its sweet to hear others memories of this horrificly amazing week. thanks for and scott did.fot us,.i know it was a lot