What is it like to attend a memorial service for a patient?
What is it like to attend your very first memorial service since Mckenna’s death?
How do you look at a broken hearted momma in the eyes for the first time after caring for their daughter?
It isn’t easy going to a patient’s memorial, especially a young girl who died so young. It is especially difficult when it is your first service since the death of your own daughter. I chose to go to the service held at PCH since I could not attend the funeral because I needed to hug her mom. It was all I could think about since I heard the news of her daughters death. I saw her open the door and my heart dropped; there she was broken hearted, with such sad eyes. I sat there holding my breath trying to hold my tears as I watched her sob in the arms of people who loved her daughter and loved her. I finally gave her a hug and whispered in her ear, I know you are overwhelmed, just take it one min at a time sometimes one second when that is all you can do. I sat back down and just watched her dad’s tears flow down his face. I saw the picture collage made with pictures from birth to teen, it was almost too much to bear.
I could feel my heart begin to race, the tears sitting there waiting to flow, but needed to keep them inside. That is until the pastor began to speak. He started talking about losing someone you love and the grief, I begin to take deep breaths, the room begins to spin and that is my sign I need to run. I got up and left walking like I was on a serious mission, head down so people could not see my tears. Walking as fast as I could without running, I made it to my car mad at myself for not staying. Still fighting the tears so I could drive to my safe place. I need a hug, I need comfort from someone I trust, someone I am safe with, someone who knows me. I run up the stairs so relieved my safe person was there. I have a moment to sit and wait. My feet hurt from my shoes. The moment she hugs me I don’t let go, I begin to tell her what happened and we sit. I have an out of body experience where I can’t see her, hear her, hear myself. I know I am talking but the words are not heard, I feel like I am beginning to hyperventilate when I suddenly feel her hand grab mine, looks me in the eyes and says, it was enough, it was enough, over and over. I come back to reality with tears flowing down my face, my heart slows down and I can breathe again. I talk things through with tears flowing easily. I am told tears are a beautiful thing and I am allowing myself to feel and allow them to flow. She said you even smiled through your beautiful tears. I left there laughing and joking. The tears and the guilt didn’t take over my whole day. They came and went and I wasn’t left feeling sad and discouraged. It didn’t defeat me, I defeat it.
Those who know me, know this is a big deal. Allowing the tears to flow, not being hard on myself, and giving myself permission to leave when it’s too much, I am growing, learning and becoming. It was a lot of firsts kind of day. “It was enough to be there, doesn’t matter how long you sat in the chair, it was enough” words from a beautiful soul.