Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's been a brutal, confusing, heartbreaking 4 days. My Mother passed from an accidental drug overdose, yesterday at about 11:30 in the afternoon. 19 hours after we made the decision to take her off life support. My sister, brother, grandfather, and Dad were all with her.

My sister Kristen and I arrived in Santa Barbara California on Sunday afternoon, at that time Mom had been on life support for approximately 24 hours. In the ICU we were greeted by a group of apparent drug addicts (one of which claimed to be her husband) all giving us their condolences "I'm so-and-so I knew your Mother...I'm so sorry". My mind was screaming, my head feeling as if it would explode at any second. "You don't know my mother!! You don't even know her name!!" I wanted to scream it a thousand times into their faces. I wanted to claw their lieing, smug, unfeeling eyes right out of their sockets. I wanted to kick and punch and pummel all of them into tiny little pieces of blackness. Instead, I smiled a pain filled smile, acknowledged their pain and went on.

My 90 year old Grandfather (sharp as a tack yet far to trusting) had been sucked into my Mothers illness, believing and using her excuses to protect her. Right off the bat, before we had even had a chance to see her, he blamed my sister and I for abandoning her. His denial, made my head spin, it enraged me, it hurt me to the core.

Kristen and I were shown into her room alone. As soon as I saw her I knew she was no longer with us, I didn't feel her energy or spirit I didn't feel the deep deep anguish and pain she carried. As broken as she was she still had a very strong life force that I was very connected too. My first reaction was the feeling of wanting to pull all of the machines off of her. To see her reduced to a machine breathing for her was surreal. The sound of it is still ringing in my head. It's amazing the quantity and variety of emotions that goes through you at times like these. Minutes feel like hours, there is no night or day, no month or year. It's like a vortex, a tunnel. You see nothing around you except for the things you are profoundly paying attention to. Everything is deafening and silent, you can't see your face in the mirror, you can't taste yet food tastes so wrong. I think it's an alternate universe. I think you can forget to breath.

After we were given some time with Mom, we starting the process of sorting through the facts, establishing who she was, her birth date, her history. The people that had brought her in had not know her but for a few months. And had unknowingly giving false information, they knew her as "Summer Choura" 45 years old. Her name is Debra Keating 53 years old. I think she had been using aliases and false identities to be able obtain the Morphine she was so desperately addicted to.

Family started arriving, her sisters, brothers and their spouses. My mom was the baby of the family. The youngest of 4. The room just spun as I tried to explain her addiction to her family, she had thought she had hidden it so well, however almost every single person I spoke with had some idea of her troubles. And all where not surprised she had finally lost her life to them.

I had decided before I got there I was not going to play into the despair of losing her and that I had to for myself be very real about who she was to me. Make no mistake, I am in a great deal of pain after losing my Mom. But there is also a sense of relief, knowing where she is and that she no longer lives in pain, that shes not cold or lonely, that maybe now she knows how much we all love her and only wanted her to live a sober healthy life.

I walked out of the Hospital yesterday after she took her last labored breath and went straight to the airport. I am done. I didn't say goodbye to anyone, I didn't hug my family, I didn't look back.

As she lay dieing I did all that I needed to do, I said everything I needed to say, I brushed her hair, and listened to her heartbeat, I laid my head on chest, kissed her eyes, smelled her hair, held her hand. I read her my favorite poem, I prayed. I was there when they took the tubes out and she labored and moaned, coughed, and gagged. I rubbed her legs and told her to let go and that the next time life will have a better one.

Well this update turned into more of a jumbled ranting emotional journal, so I will stop. There is much more to share, and I will. There is an criminal investigation that goes along with this story too, but I'm finding that part something I can't do right now. I'm glad there are people in my family that can. But for me, it doesn't matter in this moment. She made the decision to be in the situation she was, and unfortunately she paid the biggest price.

She lost her life at 53, alone in a house full of strangers.

Thanks to everyone who was thinking and praying for us. I could feel all of you and it fed me. It kept me focused and strong. I can't thank you enough for that.


38 comments:

Valarie said...

I am so sorry for all you are going through. I will continue to pray for you.

Julie said...

oh aimee I am so sorry for all that you had to go thru. May God comfort and bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. You will be in my prayers.
julie

the undomesticated wife said...

Aimee, I am so sorry. I can see how you were conflicted. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

xoxo
Gari-Ann

Erica said...

Aimee,
I have a similar story regarding my father's life and his death. God bless you for doing what is best for you and not what is best for others. Allow yourself to grieve however you see fit. You will stay in my thoughts and prayers

Mom in High Heels said...

Oh, Aimmee, how heartbreaking. I am so sorry for all that you have gone through and I hope you can find some peace.

Melissa Wertz said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is like you are having to grieve twice. I understand the feeling. I will be keeping you in my prayers.

Heidi said...

Aimee, I'm sorry for all the heartache you're having to carry right now. :( May you find peace as you learn how to process everything and all of your feelings. My prayers for you!

Cherry's Jubilee said...

I am sooooo sorry Aimee....there is not much I can say to make you feel better..but I know some of what you are going through...my Mom has some issues as well. I will continue to pray! Hugs, cherry

Kitty Scraps said...

Dear Aimee,
You are in my prayers. I am so sorry you're going thru this and I can certainly understand alot of the emotions you've shared with us having been thru my own family issues. May God keep you and your family in His loving embrace during this difficult time. Peace to you.

AJ said...

Oh Aimee, I am so sorry for your loss. Your post had me in tears just imagining what these last few days, weeks, and years must have been like for you. I can tell you are a strong woman. Continue to be strong and do what is best for YOU and your family. Find comfort in knowing that she is in a better place where she or you won't have to suffer any longer.

Elizabeth said...

I am just a lover of your blog and read often. My heart breaks for you. God Bless.

bec4 said...

Aimee--you have expressed yourself with so much honesty and feeling and I thank you for sharing your grief with us blogging "strangers". My prayers are with you.

Marie said...

Aimee, my heart breaks for you and for your family. I'm so sorry for what you have been through. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it all must be to deal with. Please know you are in my thoughts. Take care of yourself.
~Marie

Mrs. B said...

Aimee, I am so so sorry for your loss and for the pain you're in. And sorry for all that you must have gone through. You're so brave for putting all of this out there. You'll be in my thoughts.

Deb said...

So very sorry for what you are going through. We are sending many prayers your way.

Blanca said...

My deepest condolences to you and your family. Truly a heartbreaking situation.

God Bless.

Blanca

Andrea @ Big Creek Cottage said...

Aimee, I am so sorry for all that you and your family have gone through. I am so glad that you know that your mother is safe and as you said, not alone. I hope that you can find some peace to begin to heal from what most certainly must have been a difficult journey for you. You are still in my prayers.

teddi said...

I am so sorry for you loss and what you have to go through I will pray for you and the journey you are on..

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for what you are going through right now. I've gone through the same thing with my older brother, only on a more violent note. I'm praying for you!

Kris

Jen@The Cottage Nest said...

Oh Aimee! I'm so sorry for all of your pain. It make take you a long time to sort through all of it. That's okay. Take care of yourself. Hugs, Jen

Donna Lynn said...

Dear sweet Aimee,
I am so very sorry for your struggle with your mother and all that you have suffered with your whole family, I have been praying for you, sometimes it is the best thing just to walk away...you will find your peace again as you grieve and walk through this "valley" right now.

Take good care of yourself, get enough sleep, take your vitamins and read your Bible! God will lift you up and keep your heart from breaking in two.

XO,
Donna Lynn

Vicki C said...

Aimee, I'm so sorry for your loss and for all you have had (have) to deal with. I was so touched by your post.. very much so.. and will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you hugs!

Darla~SassyHomemaker said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry. I'm thinking of you and praying for you and your family.

Angela said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that you will find peace and comfort through this hard time.

ROXY said...

you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. God Bless You

dana said...

This is my first visit to your blog. I found you through Cherry's Jubilee. I don't know you--I don't know any thing about you, but, oh my, my heart aches and hurts for you. I am so sorry for you that you lost your mom--both of you at such young ages! I can, however, understand your feelings of knowing her next life will be less painful than this one has been. Bless you as you move through these rough days. Dana

Chris said...

I sat here for several minutes trying to piece together what I might say, but nothing seems right. I am so sorry for your loss and for everything you had to endure. We are all with you in spirit, and you are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Angie said...

I am so sorry for your loss and all the pain you are dealing with. May God bless you and your family. We will be praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader (lurker), first time commenter...I just went through this similar situation with my mother - only with a gambling addiction. It's hard explaining to people why you cant/dont/want to have your mother in your life.

Hang in there.

ps: you are so right - it is a relief in a way. :(

Brenda@A View From The Pines said...

I feel so bad for you. I have daughters in their thirties, and I am just a few years younger than your mother. My husband is a psychiatrist and sees these people every day at the state hospital. There is nothing you could have done to stop her descent.
Brenda

Beth said...

I stumbled on your blog tonight for the first time. I am so sorry for your loss and for the added hurt of having your family not understand you, your emotions and intentions(grandfather). May God bless you with peace during this time.

Anonymous said...

i only started reading your blog the post before you first shared with us about your mom (looking for halloween decorating of all things). something about your writing...well it was like i could hear your voice. i admire your strength and your enduring love through it all. that is all anyone could ask of a daughter.

-megan

Melanie said...

Thank you for letting us know about your mother. I had been thinking about you since you posted about her being in the hospital. My husbands half brother has been in prison for most of his life. It started at 15and now he is turning 49. Sometimes they love drugs more than anything else. I am glad that you did what YOU FELT was right and not what others thought you should do. I am new to your blog. I check it often but I have never left a comment. I will keep praying for you as you go through your grieving process. Warm regards.

Jill -Forever and Ever House said...

Aimee --Truly...so sorry for your loss. While it isn't the same as a parent, I had a cousin that I was close to go through this. He died lst year of an accidental drug overdose at age 40.

I found comfort in Bob Dylan's Poem "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie"....http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/3448/lastth.html

bixx said...

Ajmee
My heart goes out to you, Josh and Kristen, our families spent so much time together in another place and time. Its seems that every time I eat an apple or break open a hot loaf of bread I can't help but remember our trips to Julian, the morning brunches. and the catering. I've been in touch with Rob and know whats has happened in the last few years, I am so sorry for all your grief, and pain. I will always remember the happy times of the past and wish you and your family the very best. Bixx

Anonymous said...

Aimee,

I knew your family and we spent time together, the last time I saw you was at your wedding. I am so very sorry to hear about your mother. She was always very sweet to my brother and I. I don't know why but I remember our parents cooking, our families going to the beach, and enjoying gatherings at our homes. I talked to my mother Annette and she asked me to forward her love to your brother, sister and father. I will keep your family in my prayers, may Jehovah bring you comfort in your time of distress.
David K. Washington

Thrifty Miss Priss said...

I'm sure that this had many levels of pain for you. I've visited your blog a few times and was so sorry to read this. You are right..she can now move onto another life without the constrictions of addiction.

Thrifty Miss Priss said...

PS...just wanted to share...my sister passed away on my birthday, four years ago....in her sleep...unexpected from alcoholism. It was so painful. I had recently turned my back on her because she refused help.