A part of me died with her...
by Lizzy Flanigan
I lost my mom Monday, September 9th, 2013 to a sudden, fatal heart attack. Her arteries were completely blocked, and from what we were told she felt no pain. She passed quietly. Painlessly into Heaven.
For the last several years she lived, she seemed pretty healthy, (aside from being a long-term smoker, she ate low fat and kept herself active around the house or if she was running errands outside of the house. She was only 54 when she passed. She would have turned 55 on September 23rd.
I never would have thought I could lose my mother at such a young age. I am 24 now and I grew up with the mindset that she would be around to see me become independent, get married, have children and have a good career. I am not even entirely sure she is allowed to watch me do all of that from Heaven.
Her death affected me greatly. It was so sudden and unexpected. I still, to this day, live in some sort of denial. Three days prior to her death, she had fallen ill with very mild cold-like symptoms and she would lay around rather than getting up unless she needed to use the bathroom. She barely ate. One day she complained of a stiff neck. Another day she complained of upper abdominal pain and nausea. I found it so odd that she would feel so tired and lay around with mild cold symptoms. We offered to take her to the doctor, but she disregarded it, thinking nothing of it - like we did - yet she was restless off an on throughout each day or when she tried to sleep. My dad, my brother and I all thought she just had a cold. She has never had any heart problems in the past which is why her death was such a shock. On the fourth day, while I slept in late, my dad had been downstairs playing a video game when my mom told him she had to use the bathroom. After about 15 minutes, my dad finally realized she had been in the bathroom too long and rushed up to the door to call her name. He didn't get a response, so he flung the door open and found her keeled over between the wall and the toilet. With sudden adrenaline, he yanked her out of the bathroom, called 911 and they guided him through CPR until the paramedics showed up and took over. By the time paramedics were banging loudly on the door, I awoke to the sound of utter chaos downstairs. I heard my dad crying and calling my name as commotion erupted from other people in our house. I dressed quickly, rushed downstairs and the first thing I see is my mother on the floor, surrounded by tons of paramedics while she was hooked up to machines and they gave her CPR. They worked on her for 30 minutes. During those minutes, I kept praying to the Lord not to take her. I pleaded and pleaded, but deep down I knew that if my mother was alive, they would have revived her. That was not happening, so I stepped outside and called my sister and many other family members, letting them know what was going on. After a while, my dad came outside, shook his head and told me she was gone.
For several minutes after, we waited for the paramedics to get things situated and I sat on the recliner forcing myself to look at my mother's body on the living room floor, her mouth slightly ajar and her beautiful, hazel eyes open and lifeless. I cried and cried, not wanting to believe the pain or the shock I was in. I did not want to believe I was staring at my mom like that. There were so many things I did not get to do with her. So many things I did not say to her. Her world was cut short. - I couldn't eat at all that day. I slept uncomfortably that night, hoping it was all just a terrible nightmare I was having, but I never woke up. I kept pinching myself and felt pain. It was real. It was all very real. At her funeral, I delivered a heartfelt eulogy that depicted her very nicely. That was the very first time I had stood in front of a crowd of people and spoke to them. I made it through the eulogy without crying, but after I finished, I couldn't hold back the tears. We filled her casket with teddy bears and flowers and she was buried with them. - I cannot accept what has happened, but the pain has lessened slightly. I still miss her like crazy, still hoping I will wake up. When she passed, my world had been turned upside down. She left me as the only woman of the house. I am caring for my father and my brother like she had. I am suddenly left in a cold, cruel world where I realize my own mortality and independence as if there is no one else to help me. I never thought this would happen to me. I never thought a loved one could leave in the blink of an eye. I never ever thought it would be this difficult!
Still, the minutes, days, months and years to come are hard to ponder. The holidays are fast approaching and it will be lonely. I am truly heartbroken. A part of me died with her. I feel as though I have lost that part of me and I know it is true. It is not just a feeling. My reality now seems like hell. I cannot wait to see her again. I know she no longer suffers and that she would not want to return to earth if given the chance. Heaven is a much better place. A perfect place for someone like my mom. She was a petite, sweet, loving, caring, giving woman. She disliked confrontation and went through great lengths to avoid it if necessary. She was wise, intelligent and extremely selfless. She meant no harm to no one and it is such a shame to see something so awful happen so suddenly to her like this. I still ask myself why she died the way she did. I wonder if there was anything I could have done to save her. I know my dad blamed himself at first, but he does no longer. He knows, as well as I do, that she will remain in our hearts forever, and we know the pain will eventually subside over time, but it is still going to be hard. If she can see us, I know she is smiling upon us. She wants to see us smile and laugh again. She wants us to enjoy what time we have left in our physical beings. Rest in peace Stephanie Lynn Flanigan. I love you so much!!! (September 23, 1958 - September 9th, 2013)