D says I take death harder than most. Maybe this is true. I’ve lost all my grandparents. Two of our family dogs have been put to sleep. I lost a friend when I was in elementary school after getting struck by a hit-and-run drunk driver.
I lost another friend who was studying abroad when he went on a hike and slipped. I remember these deaths. I remember the anniversary of the deaths. These days will always be days that have significance in my life.
Losing B (elementary school) and losing M (college) were really hard. Really hard. They were both young and died from tragic accidents. B’s could have and should have been avoided. But they were both accidents.
As I mentioned on twitter, my coworkers son went into cardiac arrest and they are just waiting until he passes. My coworker L is in her 40’s, her son, K, not yet 20. L and K both have a disease called Von Hippel-Lindau. You can read more about it by clicking the link. Basically, it is a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in your body.
Although benign, the tumors have to be removed. About a year ago, K had a number of tumors in his brain that needed to be removed. The surgery went well but the next day all hell broke loose. He had significant complications from the surgery, had problems with his blood pressure, had to learn to walk and swallow again, etc. It was bad. K came into the office a few months ago and L was so proud to take him around so everyone could see how well he was doing.
And then they discovered more tumors. In his brain. Because of the complications with the last surgery, another surgery was not an option. So 5 weeks of radiation were scheduled. It was going really well … until it wasn’t. Suddenly K couldn’t breath and had to have a feeding and breathing tube inserted. His spirits were still up and they were planning for his transfer to the rehab hospital.
Oh … did I mention that L has a tumor at the tip of her spine (meaning she can’t move her head) that she kept putting off surgery for so she could tend to her son? Once K was settled, L’s doctors convinced her she couldn’t wait any longer. It seemed perfect because they’d both be in the hospital together.
Then this weekend K went into cardiac arrest. Now his organs are failing and it is only a matter of hours … possibly days. I wish I could go and be with her but because of the lovely cough, that is not a possibility.
I am not a mom … yet. One day. But reading that email from my supervisor(‘s supervisor) that K was not going to make it … made me cry. I cannot imagine knowing your son is going to die and just having to sit around and wait. L has one other child who fortunately does not have VHL, T. T has to sit and watch her brother die.
Die. K is just a kid. He graduated high school but doesn’t get to go on. He doesn’t get to go to college, get married, have kids of his own. He doesn’t get to live, experience life.
I was telling a coworker today that it is days like this that make me wish the world stopped. I’ve wished this before when people in my life have passed. It’s selfish but I want the world to stop. I want everyone to recognize what is happening and take a moment.
But the world does go on. And we wait. We wait for K to die.
No parent should have to say good bye to their kid.