Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Year Ago Today...

Anthony and Karrlea, Redondo Beach, 2006
Today is the day, a year ago, I watched my love of 23 years slip away from me. Our last words to each other were ones we’d said hundreds of times – I told him “Remember who loves you the most.” and he responded “You.” Then they administered the anesthesia and the last sound I heard him make on his own was when they put the ventilator tube in. That was not the last sound I wanted to hear. No one really indicated to me that it would be.

I spent the day prior to his last day with him...trying to understand why he was the way he was. Why was he breathing like that? Why was he hallucinating? What was going on? No one ever told me he was dying. He got worse and worse as the day progressed. It was SO hot that day, and there were thunderstorms all over the place. The power in the hospital went out momentarily, and the a/c never did come back on. I was trying to take care of him, along with the nurses. It was SO hot in that place! They kept telling me I was doing a great job and asking why didn’t I ever become a nurse...I couldn’t do what I did that day for anyone else - but I felt like no matter what I did, it wasn’t making anything better. He was getting worse. They transferred him to ICU late that night, intubated him at 12:30 on the morning of the 16th. He died at 7:23 that evening.

I wasn’t there when he died. I was on my way to pick up my mom at the airport. Several of his friends offered to do that for me, but for some reason, I felt like I needed to be the one to go. I feel like he actually may have waited for me to leave so he could do his thing on his own. He never liked to see me cry...and I know he wouldn’t have wanted me to see him go. I said my goodbyes before I left – I knew he wouldn’t last until I got back – kissed him on the forehead, and left. I was on the 405 about 15 minutes from the airport and stuck in traffic when I got the call from the nurse. She told me that she and another nurse were there holding his hand when he finally went. Of course it should have been me holding his hand when he drew his last breath. That's surely the one thing that will bother me for a long, long time. It should have been me.

When I picked up my mom, she hugged me, and we went and ate dinner. And then Anthony’s nurse called and asked me if I wanted to come to the hospital to say my last goodbyes. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I had done that already... So I thought it over and called the nurse back a few minutes later and told him I’d be there. I was not prepared for what I saw. It truly wasn’t him anymore. He was profoundly gone. The man who was so full of life, had so many stories, and was my best friend...he was just...gone. So I was left wondering – did he know he wasn’t going to be coming home when he went to the hospital on July 4th? Maybe. Did he know he was living his last day on the 15th? Probably. Did I? No. Would I have believed it if someone told me? Maybe. 

During that last day, most of his friends showed up to say their goodbyes. One stayed with me until I left to go to the airport. One gave him the Last Rites. I kept talking to him, telling him how much I loved him and would miss him – the nurses kept telling me that people can hear when they’re in that state. But again, his eyes never opened, he never spoke to me again. I put my hand on his chest just to feel his heart beat. Now, when I think of him and it’s quiet, I put my hand on my chest to feel my heart beat...and it makes me somehow feel closer to him.

So if you read this today, and you’re coming up on 7:23, California time, stop for a second, and send a happy thought his way. He’s in Mammoth now...with Rudy...his favorite little dude, in his favorite place. 

I love and miss you, Anthony... Remember who loves you the most.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Life as It Looks Now...

Well, I didn't lie when I told you I'd be sporadic at best. Sorry for the long delay. It's been a busy couple of months!!!
I'm waxing a tad nostalgic as we creep up on the 1-year anniversary of Anthony's death. What an amazing year of change. Not all of it good, obv, but most of it's been ok.

Let's see if I can catch you up a little.
She died a Texan.
Simple update on Mooch...she did not end up living much past my last post. Poor thing. She was failing so badly that I had to put her down on the 5th. That was not easy. First time I've had to do that. It sucked just as much as I figured it would, but once it was done, I knew it was the right decision. She was so sick. I had no other choice but to send her off to be with her dad and brother. I hope they're all together and hanging out like they used to.

Now...on to other, more pleasant items.

The house closed on the 23rd, and on the 24th we had the guys come and "trim" the trees. OMG. What an amazing difference.
Clearly it was something that needed done!! Kind of like a teenager who has let his hair grow too long, and then his dad hauls him into a barber. My tree was bashin' up my neighbor's roof, so I made a friend by having that done. Right after that was all done, Mom's friend, Dianne and her husband Ken helped Mom and I move all my crap from her house to my house. We picked a day that was hotter than the surface of the sun itself and rainforest-humid. If I had that to look forward to that again, at this point, I'd sell all my crap. I don't know how we managed. So yeah, it was me, 2 69 year olds...and I don't know how old Dianne is, but seriously, I felt terrible having them all out there totin' that barge and liftin' that bale. But...we got it all done, and that's what they set out to make sure happened. And I couldn't have done it without them!!

So, let's see...another big accomplishment of late was that Mom and I tore out the deck off of my back porch. When I got here in April, we walked around the house, and there was a DEFINITE smell of skunk in the back yard. Well, it was no secret that the skunk was under this little raised deck. We didn't just tear out the deck because of the smell, it was a crap deck anyhow. But...I'd have torn it out because of the smell alone. It reeked so badly...I can't even describe the bad. So, Mom and I put on our steely resolve and some work gloves and went to work.
As it was when I moved in.
Offending Skunk.
So we gotterdone. Let me tell you a little about the Offending Skunk. I only took a pic of the tail, as I figured no one wants to see a dead, mostly decomposed skunk. I know I didn't. I could have lived my ENTIRE life without having to deal with that. Mom did the big job of shoveling it up and I was the designated bag-holder. She got it into the bag...and that's when I started having issues. I went to tie up the bag, and the smell wafted up...I thought I was going to pass out. I gagged and gagged...I'm surprised the neighbors didn't think Mom was choking me. Mom didn't laugh really hard until after we were done - I appreciate that. Because she did. Laugh HARD. And that'll be a story that gets told and told and told again.

So, aside from that, and a snake in my garage, the only other thing I've had to contend with is bartending school!!! Yep, this whole Chapter Two thing is for real. I decided that having an actual trade would be a good thing, so I signed up. Two week course, and now I'm a card-carrying TABC certified bartender. Now I gotta get a job. And no, I won't be flipping the bottles around like Tom Cruise any time soon.

Right. Well, with that, I'll let you absorb my last couple months...I actually do look for comments/ don't be afraid. Join up. I'm fascinating. Just ask anyone.

Take care!