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.
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.
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,
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?"