Here we are two weeks after my last blog post.
A lot has changed since.
The last time I talked about mama being in the hospital.
Now, two weeks later mama is no longer with us.
The vasospasms continued and caused a stroke which damaged a small portion of her brains on the left side where she would have limited use of her right leg. This would probably be acceptable to mama considering the ordeal she was going through.
The doctors did everything they could to prevent further vasospasms and strokes by raising her blood pressure as high as possible as her heart was very strong to keep the arteries open.
This caused a lot of strain on her heart and eventually they had to lower the blood pressure as this would damage the heart.
Then mama had several strokes on the whole right side of the brain which resulted in if she would pull through she would not have the use of all her limbs, not understanding anything, possibly not being able to speak and would need help with everything she does. She would have to be in a nursing home with constant care living as a vegetable.
We had to make a very difficult decision at that point as we knew for sure mama would not want to live like that. But making such a decision about a person you love so much is the hardest thing you’ll ever do even though she would not want to live like that.
We made the decision to stop treatment and remove all the tubes and wires that were attached to her last Monday evening and we stayed with her until 11:15 pm that night and decided to go home and get some sleep and we had to feed the kitties (we knew mama would have said to go home and take care of the kitties).
The doctors said it could be hours or days for her to pass away.
The next morning around 6:45 we received the phone call from the nurse that mama had passed away around 6:30. The nurse was holding her hand when she passed away so she wasn’t alone.
The outpour of support has been amazing since from all our friends and it helps us dealing with this tremendous loss.
Yesterday we had the memorial service for mama at the place where she worked as a bartender up until the day her aneurysm burst. She had been bartending there for 26 years and still going strong.
The ceremony from her work was absolutely beautiful and very emotional. They were her second family there and they will miss her tremendously.
Unfortunately the spiritual ceremony was a bit dissappointing as we clearly made the wrong choice in the person officiating. Thank God that the sound system didn’t work so a lot of people in the back couldn’t hear.
Nevertheless, the outpour of people made up for everything. There were at least 300 people who came to say goodbye to mama and this was an unbelievable comfort to us.
My contact lenses were all blurry after the ceremonies from the tears that were coming out of my eyes.
I wrote the following words to be read during the ceremony:
Only a short two and a half years I had the privilege of knowing you.
In that short time you went from being a stranger to me to being my mama here in the United States.
In that short time you made an enormous impact on my life and I thought I would enjoy your wonderful amazing personality for years to come.
Now I feel the pain knowing that:
I’ll never see your smiling face again.
Never hear you laugh again.
Never see you dab another number on your bingo card.
Never see you open another tip jar card.
Never see you open another Christmas present.
Never feel your hands on my shoulders reaching up to give me a kiss.
Never hear you say: I love you.
Thinking about this brings profound sadness in my heart.
Thank you for the privilege of knowing you. It was short but amazingly sweet.
I love you, Mama!
Your son, Henk.
Now the official stuff is behind us and we come to realize that we must go on. A hard thing to do after losing one of the most important people in our lives.
Especially Tanya is going to have such a hard time because her mother was everything to her.
She was Tanya’s mother and her best friend. They were so close.
I wish I could do anything to ease Tanya’s pain but all I can do is be there for her and comfort her when she is crying. The pain in Tanya’s heart is enormous and I promised mama the last time I saw her alive in the hospital and when we said goodbye in the funeral home that she wouldn’t have to worry because I will take care of her little girl.
We miss you tremendously, mama.
On another note, last Wednesday my family came over from Holland and they have been 1) an enormous support for Tanya and me and 2) have provided some distraction in the first hard days.
I know mama was looking forward to seeing my family again and I even organized a BBQ/Pool Party for my family last Saturday but we canceled that party when mama was critical in the hospital.
One person did not get my cancelation notice and showed up on Saturday all the way from Washington, DC.
We were all sitting outside near the pool and when I told him what happened he wanted to go again but we insisted that he stayed for a while.
We had a very nice time with him and got some steaks on the grill.
It was a nice subdued quality time.
I want to close this blog post with a request to pray for my wife Tanya that God may ease her pain and give me all the right words and actions to help her through her grief.