July 22nd marks 4 years that you are gone. I wrote this blog on July 18th, which is the same day your doctor called me and said that I needed to come to the hospital to make a decision for you to be taken off the medication. You had made me your proxy, which meant I had to make all the decisions. I still wonder if I hadn’t taken you off the medication if you would have lived a little longer but I also know that you were done. When I got to the hospital that day, I was strong for everyone else. As I sat in the waiting room with my brother and sister, the doctor came in and asked that I sign the DNR. I was shaking but I knew it was what you wanted. I was the only one who knew how sick you really were. I tried to do everything I could to find new treatments for you. I convinced you to try the newest medication – the last chance you had to live a better life. On July 9, 2013 we checked you into the hospital and you looked at me and said, “I’m never leaving this hospital.” You knew that. You also felt that if you didn’t try the medication you’d let me down. I want you to know that you did not let me down. In fact, you have never let me down. You were always so strong and always guided me in the right direction through my entire life.
The medication did start to work but you were in so much pain. Every day when I came to the hospital you would smile through it but I saw in your eyes that the pain was unbearable for you – still you were not going to stop. You fought until your body couldn’t anymore. We tried to keep the faith and hope but I knew that the pain was just too much. When the doctor called me and told me that all your organs were failing while still on the new treatment, I knew that the end was near. You’d put up your best fight, a fight not just for yourself but a fight for me, my sister and brother. You were never a coward, you always took the bull by the horns and no matter the outcome, you always tried whether you succeeded or not.
You were my best friend. The only one who had the answers to all my problems. I am just so grateful that you were able to meet your grandson Vincenzo before you died. He made you stronger for 9 more months, he kept you alive just a little longer. We talk about you all the time and I tell him how amazing you were. Sometimes I get so angry that you’re gone and I blame myself. I get mad that you got sick and I have to go through life without you but I knew that I could not be selfish and keep you in pain. Each July around this time, I remember every detail that led up to the minute you took your last breath. I remember when they removed the tube from your neck and you looked at me and said, “I am dying, aren’t I?” I quickly turned my head and tears dropped from my eyes but I couldn’t let you see. I turned back around and said, “Oh Mom, we’re all going to die one day.”
The last two days before you died, while you couldn’t breathe on your own and had massive amounts of pain medication pumping through your veins, you greeted every person that came to see you with smiles and laughter. You never let anyone know that you were scared but I knew you were terrified. I would rub your legs at night until you just fell into a deep sleep and then I’d wake you just to tell you I loved you. The morning you died, I lay next to you for an hour, I waited for the nurse to come in and take you off the remaining machines. I said my final goodbyes and kissed your face. I knew at that moment, my life would never be the same. You were gone.
While you are not with me physically, I know you are my angel from above. I know that you are at peace and no longer suffering. I just want you to know that I miss you and love you so much. I couldn’t know how hard life would be without you, but if I learned anything from you it’s that life must go on. You taught me how to be the amazing person I am today. I just wanted to say thank you for being you and for fighting for so long. I will never go a day without thinking about you and I love you more than words can say. I love you to the moon and back. Thank you for being my mom! Until we meet again.
Love always, your daughter ~