Epic Fail

My mother died the first time in 1969.  Having just received a steroid shot for a sore arm, she went into anaphylactic shock, and was rushed from the doctor’s office to the hospital by ambulance.  The ER crew worked  valiantly to save her.  She watched from the ceiling as they pounded on her chest, plied her lungs with oxygen and shot her full of adrenaline.  She noted a tunnel of light in a corner of the room and went toward it, feeling a sense of overwhelming love and peace as she traveled toward the light.  But, a shock of pain tore her from the tunnel, back to her body……

….and she lived to tell us the story…..one which, in 1964, was not as commonly reported as it has been in the years since.

This has been a bad “mommy” week. As the anniversary of my son’s death approaches, I have been depressed, morose, and…..racked with guilt for my failure as a mom.  In February of 2017,  Steve had a setback in his cancer treatment, and developed a blood clot in his lung.  He was depressed and said “I’m losing my mojo.”  I asked if he wanted us to come.  “No,” he said. “Don’t want you to waste a trip because of this.  I know you won’t fail me when I need you.”

A month later he developed a massive bleed in his brain (due to the medicine he was given to treat the blood clot, combined with the seizures he suffered due to the cancer in his brain) and it was clear he was not going to make it.  On a Friday Cassie called to say he was being sent home with Hospice care, but that he was awake and joking with his friend Jeff.  I rationalized that if he was joking, I could get there in the next few days. Since it was spring break week, available flights were few and expensive and no matter what mainland airport we could get to, it would necessitate an overnight stay until we could get a connecting flight to Reno. So I booked a flight for Sunday morning. He died an hour before we arrived on Monday.

In the end, I failed him.

Recently I read this article in my newsfeed. It talks about how research shows some gene activity not only continues after death, but actually increases.  “It does seem to suggest that when our brains and bodies die, our consciousness may not, or at least not right away.” The article of course recalled to me my mother’s story, and gave me some comfort at having arrived too late for my son.

He may not have been breathing. His heart was not beating. But perhaps he was there after all…..