The longest night of my life
In Late October 2009 my mother died from a heart attack. She was 47. Who know 23 was half of your life.
In 2009 I was a senior in high school, my younger brother was in the 8th grade and my older brother was a sophomore in college.
It started off as a typical Tuesday with Halloween close approaching, as was our tradition we watched Sweeney Todd. At about 11pm the movie ended. We said our good nights and headed to bed.
At exactly 2:01am I heard my mom croak out a ragged labored breath from down the hall, she only said one word. "Steven!" my dads name. Having just woken up I did not realize what was happening. At 2:03am, I heard my dad call 911. At this point I realized that something was seriously wrong. I rushed into my parents room, to see my mom lying on the bed gasping for breath. Each breath was nothing more than a desperate gulp for air. Her eyes were wide open and staring at the ceiling.
I could tell my dad was more scared than he has ever been. He tried not to show it, he tried to put on a brave face. Soon after he began to speak rapidly, saying that he called 911. And that earlier she had been complaining of a pain in her left shoulder but he never thought it could be this. It was 2:05, the realization hit me. My mom is having a heart attack. Her breathing soon became more ragged and more labored. My dad never left her side, calling her name and holding her hand.
It is now 2:10. Each breath is becoming more painful, and I realize that each breath is taking longer. 10sec, gasp. 15seconds pass. gasp. 24seconds pass. 36 seconds. That was her last breath.
I pick up the phone can call 911 again. "Hello 911 how can I help you" at this point wasn't sure who was taking because the voice that responded was too calm, to confident. "Hi, we called 10 minuets ago, saying that she was having trouble breathing. Well she stopped. So if you could tell them to hurry that would be great. Thank you" I hung up the phone and looked in the mirror. What I saw was not what I felt. I say a boy, who had the look of someone with a grim determination, and confidence that everything would be fine. What I felt.... scared shitless, uncertain, helpless. An overwhelming feeling of helplessness.
It is now 2:11. "CPR, start CPR" I say. "The compression are more important than the breath go 20 compression to 1 breath." My dad nodded his head and then began. Hearing the air being forced from her lungs, my dad recoiled and asked if that was normal. I responded with "yes, that is the diaphragm forcing the air in and out of her lungs." although yes it did sound like horrible scratching sound.
This is when I noticed her eyes. They had lost that look they had lost their shine. And What I saw were a pair of dull lifeless eyes. That is when I also realized that she had not blinked for at least 5min. The time is 2:13
I tried to rationalize that the reason she stopped blinking was because she was oxygen deprived. Did it matter if it was true? No, but it sounded good enough to me. That was when too many thoughts bombarded my mind. How long can the brain survive without oxygen, how long without permanent damage? What about the heart? I have never felt more helpless in my life than I am right now.
It is now 2:15, out of the corner of my eye I see the ambulance pull up. I rush down stairs and open the door and show the paramedics the way. They attach a defibrillator, and I see the flat line. I cannot comprehend this. I walk down the stairs and wait. My only thought is that she can be revived. That's when I realize that my younger brother is still asleep. Thank god, he was not awake.
The paramedics then took my mother out to the ambulance. My dad gets dressed and says that he is going to go to the hospital. I look at the time, it is 2:50. I have no idea where the 35min went. I say "ok, ill take Aidan to school, let me know"
This day of school went by in a blur. I received a text from my dad at 2:00pm. Right as school got out. "Cam, just come home." This was the worst news of my life. I could not speak, I could not think. My body was not its own. And all I could think was this is going to be the longest day, week, month, year. Of my life.
I have never been able to tell anyone in person this story. The most I could say was that I was there when she died.
I needed to write this down. Sorry for the grammar,but i can only read it so many times.
"The life of the dead is placed in the heart of the living."
I love you mom.