Monday, May 30, 2011

SUZETTE'S LAST PICTURES WITH THE PEOPLE SHE LOVED BEST

Aric's 12th birthday was February 4th and we celebrated on Sunday, the 6th, at Red Robin.  Suzette had called Marc and said they were going to stop by and leave Aric's gift but not stay 
because she was not feeling well.  When they arrived she was feeling better and they did stay.

                                         Dave, Aric, Suzette, Marc

                       Suzette, Mickey, Susan Aric, Marc, Jessica
                                         Dave, Suzette, Mickey
                                         Dave, Suzette, Mickey

I'm going to do a complete separate post with the last picture of Suzette and her sister, Jacque, which as is turned out, not surprisingly was the very last picture I took of her.
                                                               *******************
Below is a recap of this time and journey (233 days) with our Suzette from September 28, 2010 until May 19, 2011.

Suzette was surrounded and cared for by those she loved and who loved her dearly.  Marc had made arrangements to take every Tuesday off to stay with her, as Mickey and I have King's Kitchen that day.  He would also take time off to come when she had chemo treatments. We were able to enjoy several lunches, after treatment, with the 4 of us: Suzette, Marc, Mickey and I.  Once it was Suzette, Jacque, Jessica & I.  Marc and Dave were with her on her second chemo when she had a bad reaction to the drug and it had to be halted.  A very scary moment.  I was in the waiting room.  Aric was often with Marc and of his own choice walked into her room just a few days before she passed and his father was in there with her.

Jacque talked to her sister daily and she took vacation time off beginning May 9th and was with her daily.  David arrived from San Francisco at midnight on the 9th and was with her the last 7 days and through her memorial. 

Her husband, Dave, took off work when I called him on the 12th and told him I needed him there.  He came and was there with her for the 7 remaining days.  Dave was so attentive and caring with her.  Taking care of her every need, day and night.  Mickey and I offered to stay overnight at their house but he never wanted us to do that.

From the first day of her diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer on September 28, 2010 up until April 30, 2011, when she left the hospital and returned home for the last time, I would type out a scripture or other writing and give to her.  This was special between us and I will cherish those slips of paper, and my memories of these times with her, for the rest of my life. 

Mickey and I, and sometimes just me, took her to most of her chemo and radiation treatments, CT scans, MRI's, and Dr. appointments from the very beginning.  Even when Dave was able to bring her from home, and then go on to work, we would also come, stay with her and take her home.  We would go out one or two days a week just to spend time with her so she wouldn't be alone.  The three of us were able to got out for a bite to eat after many of the earlier appointments and those were special times for us.  Starting with her hospitalization on April 22nd until her passing on May 19th we were with her all day. 

The last time Suzette left her home was on Sunday, May 8th, when she attempted to attend church with me for Mother's Day.  She was sooo ill and when Dave wheeled her in to our living room she said, "Mom, I wanted so badly to come with you but I'm just to sick."  One look at her that day and I knew!!!!

The evening of Tuesday, September 10th, the hospice people came to talk to her and sign papers.  She sat in their living room and did so with the administrative person.  That woman left and a nurse arrived to speak with them.  Suzette got up from the couch and said, "I need to go lay down."  She never left her room or the bed after that.

One of Suzette's work friends sent the book "Heaven is for Real" out on May 17th.  On the morning of May 18th I suggested to Dave that we read the book to her.  He told me to do so if I wished.  I went in that morning, when she was awake, showed her the book and asked her if she wanted me to read it.  She quickly and brightly said, "Yes."  I began and read the Prologue, because I knew we would never make it through the entire book.  She was so wide eyed and attentive.  Jacque arrived as I was reading and came in and sat on the opposite side of the bed.  After the Prologue I asked her if she was tired or if she wanted me to continue.  She said she wanted me to continue.  I then read Chapter 1.  At the end of that chapter I again asked her if she was tired and wanted to rest or if she wanted me to continue to read.  She said, "I need to rest."  This is one of the MANY special moments and miracles that I got to experience with my wonderful daughter during this journey. 

On that same evening of May 18th Aric asked his father, Marc, if he could write Aunt Suzette a letter.  Marc said "Of course.". 

At 8:30 a.m. May 19th Marc called us and told his dad about the letter.  He said he'd pick Aric up at school and they'd be out to Suzette's at 3:30. 

Dave called us about 9 to come on over.  We had been waiting for his phone call each morning until he had woken up.  When I had gotten up that morning I was moved that Mickey and I were to do serious spiritual battle over Suzette.  When we arrived we talked to Dave and ask him permission to do so.  We asked him to join us but he said, "You guys go in and do whatever you need to do for yourselves." and he went out to the back yard.  Mickey and I went into the room, and she was still asleep.  We put the red prayer cloth, that I had made and taken to her that first night of diagnosis on September 28, 2010, and put on her.  She was too ill and in too much pain for us to wrap her in it.  We then prayed and annointed her with oil and of course we wept, PRAYED, sang, quoted scripture and The Lord's Prayer.  She was aware and mouthed to us "love you" and "thank you".

When Marc came in at 3:30 he was alone and said Aric decided not to come and wanted Marc to read the letter to Suzette.  Suzette was sleeping, and had been most of the day.  Mickey and I finally left at 5:30 after going in and kissing her goodbye for the evening.   At 6:30 Suzette rallied enough that Marc was able to read her the letter.

"Dear Suzette,

It's me, Aric.  This is one of the few letters I've written.  Please take your time to read this.

You see, we all care for you.  You've been a great Aunt and we all pray for you.  Treasure this and please remember we're all there for you.

It would take a miracle to survive, so please let this letter go to your heart and treasure it always.

Love you so very much,
Aric"

This letter was printed on the back of her Memorial handout.

That morning Dave made the decision to have Suzette moved to a hospital setting and contacted Grace Hospice that he wanted to do so.  He made a number of phone calls and had an appointment for 10:30 the next morning, May 20th, to have an ambulance come to move her.   

At 9:30 p.m. I called to check on her.  Dave answered and said, "I was just going to call you.  She's awake and wants to talk to you."  He put the phone up to her ear and I was able to tell her how very much we loved her.  I closed with, "I'll see you in the morning, honey." 

Mickey and I cried and prayed and our prayer was. "Please God if you are not going to heal her then take her home tonight."  We just could not stand the thought of her being moved out of her home and the fear and discomfort she would experience in being in a strange place.

The phone rang at 11:30 and it was Dave telling me, "She's gone!"  She drew her last breath at 11:25 p.m. May 19, 2011.

She was aware of everything we said to her to the very end and to the very end she would say "love you", "thank you", "where's Dad", to Marc she would say, "Is Aric with you?" 

          Our family will never be the same without our precious Suzette.

Our hearts are broken and we miss you so much.

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23 comments:

Betty said...

My heart is breaking with you Susan! I send you a deep long ((((HUG)))!!

Humble wife said...

Thank you for sharing in this post how special your time was with your daughter. I understand entirely the hospice care and the gathering of the family. I am so thankful that you can take a moment and grant us a window to how precious time is, and how to maximize our love for our family, as this post lovingly shares with us how you did with your daughter.

(((hugs))) to all of you.
Jennifer

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for sharing Susan. This has touched my heart. I am continuing to pray for you and your family. I loved the picture of Suzette laughing at the restaurant. I'm certain she is doing the same thing now! Peace.

Barbara said...

How blessed Suzette was to have such a loving, caring and dedicated family. Both painful and uplifting to read and especially as our friend is so near to death.

Many blessings Susan.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Thank you for caring enough to share that with us. It brings tears for sure but what a testimony. Love you guys.

Kathy said...

Susan, I so appreciate you taking the time to write this out. Wow. What a story of devotion and faith and family and love that doesn't quit. Thank you for sharing this with us, though we know it's in the midst of tears and sorrow. What a blessing to have these memories and more to hold tight to. What a blessing to know that your beautiful girl (who looks great in pictures, by the way!!!) is happy with her Lord even now. We love you!!!

Mari said...

Susan, this is such a tribute to the love you have for Suzette, the love you share as a family and your faith. You will never look back with regret because you were all there for her and you never failed in lifting her up to God in faith. I'm praying for all of you at this time.

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Heaven has gained a beautiful angel who is smiling and completely well and happy. What a wonderful, loving family she was a part of. And still is, for she will always be there in your hearts. This was a beautiful, touching post. Thanks for sharing with us.

Crystal said...

It's so special that you would share your stories of these days with us. I'm thinking of you as you mourn and as you remember your daughter. I'm praying that God's love will give you strength and peace.
((( HUGS )))

retha said...

Virtual hugging with real crying.

Debra said...

Susan, I cried as I read this. So very touching and I thank you for sharing this with us. Truly a wonderful testimony. Blessings and prayers to all of you.

Dawn said...

What a beautiful tribute, thanks so much for sharing it. She looked so happy on that last meal out with all of you. The letter from Aric really touched my heart. I know your heart is broken, but you did everything you could and I know God is with you and she is with Him.

Thanks for your prayers for Kev and Angie as you grieve.

Sharon said...

Oh Susan what a beautiful tribute to your daughter.
I will pray that God will give you strength to go on. She will be forever in your heart.
That letter so touched my heart.What a beautiful family you have.
Hugs and prayers dear friend.

groovyoldlady said...

Susan, Your time with Suzette was so precious. Thank you for sharing just a bit of your loving family with us.

(((((Susan)))))

Kansas Bob said...

My heart breaks for your loss Susan. Asking the Holy Spirit to comfort you and give you wisdom in your grief.

~Miss Sandra~ said...

Sweet friend Susan,
My heart is full of sorrow for your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute to your daughter Suzette.
Please know that you, Mickey and your family are in my prayers.
Sending big hugs to you, and may the Lord uphold you in His hands as you walk the journey of grief.
bless you,
Sandra in New Zealand

Brenda said...

Thank you, Susan, for this post. A blessing indeed to hear of how your faith and love embraced Suzette through her whole journey on into eternity with her Savior.
Our prayers will continue as you all journey now through the grieving process with a Savior who is walking this out right beside you.
(((hugs)))

annie said...

What a beautiful tribute to Suzette. I know what it is to be a mother in such a battle for your daughter and have said those prayers of faith through tears and have pleaded and then have let go giving her up and trusting His perfect plan. I can't always understand the plan, but I trust Him as I know you do. I cry with you, missing your sweet daughter and pray that tonight you feel the peace of God over your heart. Love to you and Mickey.

MightyMom said...

that's a beautiful memorial. God Bless you.

Sohailah said...

My dear friend. Words are useless, but my heart is weeping for your heart, and I love you so very much.

Susan Skitt said...

Dearest Sister in Christ,

Weeping with you in this time of sorrow for your dearest Suzette. What beautiful pictures with her family and time together. Praying for you, knowing our Lord Jesus Christ will help you, sustain you, and give you strength in these difficult days.

"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." Psalm 9:10

Linda said...

I have no words, only heartfelt sorrow for your and your family's loss.

I found your blog through another Okie blog, and since I grew up in Bixby, I immediately noticed your location of Coweta, one of our old football rivals. :)

Kathi said...

Thank you for sharing this story of your beautiful daughter. Your family is so loving and cared for her so well. I'm touched by your devotion and sweetness you all showed to her. I'm so sorry for your loss. Kathi