Friday, July 3, 2009

In Shambles

That's what our family is in right now....shambles. The pillar of our family has fallen.
**get tissues out**
On Sunday, June 28th, we went to eat breakfast with Frankie's grandmother. This was our regular Sunday ritual. He was raised by his Granny from the time he was 6 months old until he moved out and married me :)

During our visit there, his Aunt "Sissy Alice" (who also lived with his Granny and raised him) was having some chest pains and symptoms of a panic attack. We called 911 for her and tried to keep Granny calm during all of this. When the ambulance arrived, Frankie told Granny that he would ride with his Aunt and she could ride with me and we would follow the ambulance. She insisted that she be the one to ride alone with her child. So she hopped up in the front seat and was perfectly fine....that we knew of.

We locked the house and made sure the stove was off, since we were getting ready to eat breakfast. We were just about to walk out when my cell phone rang. It was my Mom. She used to be on the local rescue squad and the scanner just reported the passenger of M31 was in cardiac arrest. WHICH PASSENGER?!?! We bolted out the door. We were already headed out anyway to follow the ambulance. We got about a mile up the road and the ambulance carrying Sissy Alice and Granny was pulled over. The time on the clock... 9:28am. I waited by the car with Kacey while Frankie took off running to the ambulance. We had no idea what he was about to witness :( They were doing CPR on his Granny in the back and his Aunt was hysterical. Another ambulance arrived on scene to take his Aunt to the hospital while they continued CPR on scene for 20 minutes. I called my Mom back and told her I needed her to come get Kacey because it didn't look good. She came to pick her up and we promised we'd call her from the hospital. We left the scene at 9:49am. We followed the ambulance with blaring sirens and flashing lights. We rushed into the hospital and then it was a waiting game. They always say "No news is good news", right? Wrong!

A nurse came out and asked "Who is Frankie?" He spoke up and she said "She is calling for you." Well we thought they were talking about Granny. When Granny had kidney surgery a few months ago, the first person she called out for when she woke up from surgery was Frankie. I walked with him to the doorway and the nurse asked who I was? I told her I was his wife and she said "Come on cuz he's going to need you too!" I knew in the pit of my stomach it wasn't good. As we walked down the hall, we could hear his Aunt screaming. We went in and it was HER calling out for him, not Granny. The doctor came in and he looked at me and said "I'm so sorry. We did all we could but she's gone." I felt my knees wanting to buckle and I looked over at Frankie in tears. He had this puzzled look on his face. He hadn't heard what the doctor had said and so I had to repeat it to him. Never ever in my life have I seen him in such pain. It was like his heart was pulled out of his chest and stomped on. They let us walk next door and see her. Some of the hardest steps I've ever taken. I felt like I had lead in the bottom of my shoes.

What exactly happened? What caused this? My questions were finally answered by the man who was driving the ambulance when it happened. I was in the hallway when the doctor said "I have someone that wants to speak with you two." and he walked us over to a gray haired man with glasses that immediately reached out to embrace us. I could tell he was still pretty shaken. He went on to tell us that Granny was talking to him in the front seat and she was doing fine and then all of a sudden she layed her head over and that was it. THAT WAS IT! Just like that! She was gone! He continued to tell us that they never got a pulse, nor did they ever get a pulse the entire time but they did everything they could, used every drug they could and didn't stop CPR until they got to the hospital and let the doctor call it. So here we are, standing with the last person to talk to Granny and why do I feel a sort of peace come over me? Well, we know she went fast and peacefully. But if things had gone the way we had planned them, it would have been much worse. Remember, Granny wasn't sopposed to ride along. Frankie was going to ride and we wanted Granny to go in the car with me driving. What if? If she had gone with me, it was her time to go and Kacey would have been in the back seat and seen everything! Thank you God for placing Granny exactly where she needed to be and could be helped instantly! The next do we tell Kacey? We also had to call Kayleigh in Hawaii to tell her.

Once we left the hospital, we went back to Granny's house and I cleaned up all the mess we left. Breakfast was on the table and hadn't been touched. Through the tears, I managed to clean up the kitchen. It was now time to go get Kacey. I was dreading this! She's always been so close with Granny. When she was born, Kayleigh was in Kindergarten. I would put Kay on the school bus at 8:15am and when I got to Granny's house at 8:30am, my breakfast was cooked and on the table. EVERY single day for nearly a year, I did this. When I'd get there, Granny would take Kacey from me and go right to the rocker with her. She'd rock while I ate. LOL! No wonder I never lost that "baby fat"! But she had such an impact on Kacey and they were very close. When I walked into my Mom's house, Kacey was on the computer. She turned to see me and she said "How's Granny?" I opened my mouth to speak but the knot in my throat was keeping me from speaking. I managed to whisper, "She's gone." and with that came the sobbing. My heart was now breaking for not only my husband but now my child. I still had one more call to make....Kayleigh. I called and talked to my brother first. I knew she'd need his support. It wasn't an easy phone call and I hated the fact that my daughter was 6000+ miles away and I couldn't hold her :( She took the news better than I thought she would but it was still hard because she was so far away.

Much of the last few days have been a blur. We've been up and out of the house by 9am each day and we haven't been getting home til 10-11pm at night. Kacey's blood sugars have stayed in the 300's and it's just taken it's toll on everyone.

On Mon, the funeral home came to the house. They sat and made arrangements with the family. Then the task of picking out the casket and vault fell on them. Frankie spoke up and wanted to go too. He went to the funeral home with his Mom and two aunts. He was the one that ended up picking everything out for Granny...but I'm glad because she wouldn't have wanted it any other way! She loved everyone....but NO ONE did she love like her baby, Frankie.

On Tues, his aunt finally got a doctor appointment to find out what is causing all this pain and gas in her tummy. I ended up going with her so I could make some sense of what she was being told and also so I could help her tell the doctor whats been going on. Almost 2 hours later....we had a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That is what is causing the spasms in her tummy, which is then causing the gas and then she gets herself all upset and the anxiety kicks in which then just causes more spasms. Vicious cycle!

On Wed, we had the private viewing and the public viewing at the funeral home. We talked with Kacey and felt it was fine for her to participate in everything but the one thing we didn't want was for her to go into the room where they had Granny. I didn't want her remembering Granny like that and it was hard enough seeing everyone else upset. She agreed that she didn't want to but she was very curious. She'd never lost someone this close and this was her first experience with it all. More than 300 people came to pay their respects that night.

Yesterday was the funeral. A very sad day.
She had so many beautiful flowers and after the funeral was a reception down at the church. It was really nice and I know Granny would have been happy.

Once it was all over, we took Kacey back to the cemetary. She didn't have the closure when we left because the casket was still on top the ground. She thought they were going to leave Granny like that. So we had to take her back and it was nice because she got to see all the flowers and know that Granny was buried.

I haven't felt this close to Frankie in a long time. As we walked around, we started talking about making our own arrangements and the arrangements for the kids. If something happened to either one of us, at least we'd know that we wouldn't have to go up there and put ourselves through any more upset than need be. Same with the kids, there is no way I'd be able to go make those arrangements so at least we'd know it was all taken care of. So that's something on our "To-Do" list once everything settles down.
For now, we have to work on moving forward. It might have been easier if we'd just gotten a call telling us that Granny had died but we were there and each of us has feelings we have to deal with seperately. Frankie saw them doing CPR and that will be etched in his mind forever. As his wife, I have to be strong for him and help him move through the pain.

So all we have pictures! Pick up those cameras and take the pictures while you can because you capture memories that you can remember forever. Here are two of my favorite pics....

This is Granny and Kacey at Frankie's cousins wedding in 2007. Kacey was the flower girl.

This picture is Granny and Frankie at our family Christmas party 2008

Rest in Peace Granny (86 years old)!


Rachel said...

Oh Jill I am so sorry to hear that! Please accept my deepest empathize for you and your family.

You know, I get the feeling that maybe she knew that she was going to go and to save everybody additional pain, she insisted on riding in the ambulance. She was thinking of all of you up until the end!

meanderings said...

Jill, I'm sorry you've all lost such a special person.

Wendy said...


In the blink of an eye...everything changes...

This story is amazing. It's almost as if your aunt took on Granny's pain for her.

God bless your family. You will be in my thought and prayers constantly during this difficult time.

Nicole said...

Jill and family, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you can take some comfort in your memories and happy moments you sent with your Granny.

Shamae (Ghost written by Loren her hubby) said...

Jill I am so sorry. What an awful thing to witness. Hugs for your family as you work through this time.

:) Tracie said...

Our sympathy for your family. May The Lord watch over you all during this time.

What an amazing way God worked to have everyone in their place for when Granny left this earth.

Take things easy Jill, I'll be thinking of you guys.

Kelly said...

I'm so sorry....keeping you all in our prayers!

Amy said...

Jill- I am so sorry for the rough week that you've had! I've been thinking of you and praying for you- it's just so tough on everyone! Hopefully, you'll be able to rest up in the next few days. It's a bummer about the blood sugars- but I'm sure as things get back to normal for you guys- they will too! Hang in there!

LakeLady said...

Some of us are blessed to have wonderful people in our lives such as your Granny. We are so lucky. May your family be blessed with comfort during this sad time. Granny will hold a pivital place in your heart forever. With every memory, you will welcome her with love. May God bless and keep you.

Ronda said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. They say that grandmothers are "angels in training" ~ she is now an angel looking over you and your family. May all the wonderful memories of her carry you and your family through.


Scott K. Johnson said...

I'm so sorry Jill. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Joanne said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Granny. I can't imagine how horrible it must have felt to hear the news at the hospital.

I'm praying for your family; may the wounds and the hurt fade, but your memories of her stay vivid and strong. God be with you.