It was my worst day ever and I am still living it. It began at 3:00 AM on May 18 with a call from a hospital. My daughter was in the ICU. She had called 911 and gone out to wait on her apartment steps for the ambulance but when they arrived she was unconscious. Her heart stopped and it took them forty-five minutes to restart it. She never regained consciousness.
What happened was cardiac arrest, caused, I think, by a pulmonary embolism. Yes, she smoked. She told us she had stopped but I guess kids of whatever age always lie to their parents about some things. (Except, of course, I never did. Right.) The clinical details are important but not the most important thing. Life is short, yes, but it wasn’t supposed to be that short. Children are “not supposed” to die before their parents. I lost my beloved child and the world lost a creative and caring and funny soul.
I tried to talk to her in the hospital. She was unconscious and in massive organ failure but I tried. I tried to feel her spirit nearby but that failed, too. We were in the room with her when she died. Since then I’ve been hollow. I do a fair job of pretending to be human, or at least I think I’m doing a fair job. That my daughter was an adult and living on her own does not make her loss any easier to bear. Some people seem to think so, and it is simpler to hide the grief and the guilt. Yes, guilt. Parents always, apparently, think there were things they could have done to alter events. Some things never change.
My own life seems to have stopped. I am doing things that need to be done after a death: funeral home, lawyer, cleaning out her apartment, writing her obituary, adopting her three cats. Since we already had two cats we now have five. Yikes.
I know I need to get back to work. I woke up the other day with her voice in my head saying, “Mom. Just write the book, Mom.” I’d like to but so far I just can’t. What I want to do is call her up and make outrageous puns with her. Maybe she could give me a call some early morning in my dreams and we could goof around.