The morning of February 2nd I got an email from my Aunt Peggy telling me that my Uncle Dave had passed away. We had been expecting it since he had been very sick. I was pretty upset and the first thing I did was call my Mom. It wasn't unusual for her not to answer her phone during the day. She usually sleeps all day and stays up all night. She was always a night owl, but it turned to the extreme after Dad passed away. I tried calling all morning and would intermittently call Traci. I knew that getting hold of Traci would take time since she worked nights and usually sleeps in during the day.
Around Noon Traci finally picked up the phone and I told her about Uncle Dave and that I was trying to call Mom but she hadn't answered. Traci said she would stop by Mom's house on her way to work to tell her. I kept trying to call anyway. Around 2pm I called once again and Traci answered the phone at Mom's house and sounded panicked. She immediately said that she found Mom unconscious and had called EMS. I knew it was bad.
I was at work and just sat at my desk and cried. I was really hoping that no one could hear me. First having to deal with Uncle Dave and then feeling so helpless in the situation with my Mother because I was in Ohio. I managed to stay at work for the next hour and 45 minutes. I was getting constant updates from Traci who told me that Mom had flatlined on the way to the hospital. They were in the ER trying to stabilize her. I finally left work when Traci told me that the Chaplain came to see her and said they didn't think she was going to make it. He said that they were trying to find a heartbeat and had her on total life support. I have no idea how I drove home and frankly don't remember the drive at all.
I went home and just waited. I was praying and really holding out hope that it was just another one of her diabetic seizures but in my heart I knew it wasn't. I was too scared to make a move... I didn't know whether to sit tight or begin the drive to Charleston. Traci called me whenever there was a change or an update and around 10pm she called and told me that the nurse said I needed to leave right away because they didn't expect her to make it through the night. I ran downstairs and grabbed my suitcases and literally threw my clothes in them. I had no idea how long I would be gone and packed whatever would fit. I remember it being so cold outside when I was packing my car. I left around Midnight and pretty much drove 90 mph. There were constant updates from Traci who was camped out in the ICU. They had done hypothermia therapy with no luck and they said all of her levels were extremely low. I was exhausted since I had been up since 6am. All I knew is that I just had to drive and not stop for anything.
Around 2:55 Traci called me and said that there was a “code blue” in Mom's room and she had just talked to the Doctor. He said that they would work on her for a max of 20 minutes. I guess there is some state law that says that anything after that would only cause brain damage so that is their limit. At 3:03 Traci called me back and said she was gone. I wasn't even to Tennessee yet.
What do you do when you are driving and have just learned that you have no parents? What do you do when you are so tired and are driving like a bat out of hell to get home just to be able to say goodbye, but you still have 7 more hours of driving left? I had no idea what to do so I called Justin, I called Becky and I called my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Peggy. The four people closest to me. After hanging up I turned off the radio and drove in silence for a while. It was the loneliest I have ever felt in my life.
Mom passed away on the 6 year anniversary of my Father's death at 3am... the “witching hour” - I have a feeling she knew exactly what she was doing. Since that day I have said “I can't believe it” a thousand times... I still can't and I probably never will.