Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Hardest 10-Days of our Lives

It was a year ago today when I found Grace unresponsive and I had to administer CPR for the first time to save her life. Over the next 10-days I would resuscitate her several more times to prolong her life.

I will never forget that terrifying day Our first call to 911 when I found her not breathing. It has forever changed me and is the root of so much anxiety when I think about the last 2-weeks of her life. Not to mention those early mornings when I was awoken by Holly screaming "she's not breathing, she's not breathing!" I would fly out of bed like it was on fire and run into the nursery to start resuscitating her. Such horrible and painful memories. Events that no parent should ever have to face.

I know the next 10-days are going to be very difficult for us. There are so many memories both good and bad. One of the best memories we have took place two days before she passed away.

Our last bath together
Holly's sorority sister and dear friend Stephanie had come into town to meet Grace for the first time. Holly was so excited to see her that night and introduce Grace to Stephanie. Before Stephanie arrived Holly and I bathed Grace. We loved doing bath time together. Grace was so happy during her bath, it was one of the few times when there were no seizures and you could see the happiness and peace on her face. I think the warm water and gentle touches from us made her so comfortable.

When Stephanie arrived Grace was just glowing. You could see it in her eyes and the smile on her face. Perhaps it was Stephanie's trademark big earrings or neckless that garnered Grace's interest, either way she was clearly enjoying being held by a new friend. Holly told me last week she thought that was the last happy time for Grace.

Sadly, what started out as a happy evening ended with a living room full of paramedics attending to Grace. A few minutes after we all sat down to dinner Holly saw that Grace had stopped breathing again. I was having a hard time resuscitating her so Holly called 911. Grace never fully recovered after that night. For the next two days it was about care and comfort for her. There was very little we could do for her at that point. This was the beginning of the end and the worst time of our lives. To this day it is a vivid nightmare I can't shake.

Holly and I never left Grace's side for the next two days. Our friends and neighbors fed us and took care of us during this time so we could be by Grace's bedside. We slept on the floor in her room and talked to her endlessly. We must have told her how sorry we were and how much we loved her a million times. I fondly remember kissing her head and feeling her soft silky hair on my nose and smelling her innocence.

Last week Holly wrote a blog entry about Grace's Angle Day. And quite honestly, that's the only thing keeping me together right now. If it wasn't for that different approach to dealing with her death I don't think I could do it. The anxiety would be eating me up. But somehow thinking of the day she died as the birth of an angel is making it tolerable. I know the next 10-days are going to be tough for Holly and I. But we have each other and we'll make it through this difficult time together.

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