Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Worst Day Ever

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.


  1. Noel-Anne and Jim, I wish I could wrap my arms around you both. We miss her in our Feline-L community and online. I will always have these fond memories, visiting with you and Anne at the Opinicon; hanging out with Jackie Parker after his concert; visiting with Anne just because; we had made some fast and loose plans to catch up next time Jackie or the throat singers were going to be in town later this summer. She was one awesome friend. Say hi for me when you connect on that higher plane - I know it's real. Remember Anne omigod five cats. That's you now. I love you.

  2. Oh a daughter, and as Anne's friend, and someone who knows just how MUCH she cherished you...reading this breaks my heart. I wish I could be there, and give you a hug: the one I had reserved for Anne's visit later this year. I wish you could be unburdened of your guilt. (Knowing it's not your fault and *feeling* it are so very different!) Most of all, I wish that I could bring Anne back. No parent should outlive a child, and she's left behind so many friends that she made feel like family, and we are just devastated.

    Be gentle with yourself. Know that, along with your friends and family, there are a small army of Anne's friends ready to assist you in any way that we can.

    And finally, thank you for finding the strentgh to write this.

    With Love and Compassion,

  3. I wish I had something pithy and wise and warm to say, but there's nothing. Only pain for you and Jim and for the loss of Anne.

  4. Oh, Noel-Anne. I know it's been a long time since I was on feline-l, and it's only through your blog posts that I keep up with you now, but you and Anne were both a wonderful part of the list for me. I'm so very sorry.

    Mila (formerly Melissa)

  5. Anne was very special to me...we knew each other almost 20 years. She was one of the few women I've truly loved in my life. If it's not asking too much...Id like to chat sometime. Just, I don't with someone else who cares about her so much.


    George Rutherford