I have been away from writing again for a bit. You see my step daughter (only using step as to not confuse people) had become quite ill and was battling cancer. She and I had been planning a big family get away. Hoping to secure a big house and invite her mother and we all would hang out for a week on the beach. We had fun discussing and sharing links to different locations and VBRO houses.
But this blog is not about me! It is about Lettie Ann and her Dad and how the stroke brain processes in my husbands case the worse scenario possible and that is the pending death of a child. They had a tumultuous relationship and often were distant from each other in miles and emotion. But there was love undeniable between them. When together the similarities in features, character, and even food that was liked and disliked often made us all laugh.
He walked her down the aisle just a few years ago to both of their delight and before the stroke. During the recovery of the stroke she was so distraught she traveled to Florida during Thanksgiving holiday with all the kids just to see him for herself. He doesn’t remember it but she never forgot it. We talked/texted daily during the entire time. She wanted to know everything! During this time we formulated the plan to save money for the monstrous week on the beach or somewhere, big enough space for everyone to have their own place and she and I would cook!
At some point during the planning she became ill, she would tell me often that she knew it was something bad. This was the first cancer diagnosis and I had to tell her dad. We went to see her before her treatment started and he sat by her bed or door waiting for the moments when she was able to talk and get up for a visit. Despicable cancer, after recovering from cervical cancer she became sick again. Eventually she wanted to go home.
There was a time where she and her dad were in the hospital at the same time. I was in constant communication with her mother who was her care giver and biggest champion. We were texting….the same message..don’t tell Scotty how bad she is , she doesn’t want him to know yet. I was saying don’t tell her how bad her dad is she doesn’t need the worry. His surgery had complications which led to a transfusion and kidney’s starting to fail. To this day he has no idea how bad it was, but during this time Lettie decided to go home with Hospice, no more treatment. She made the decision bravely and wisely it was her decision. She let me know when to tell her dad.
I couldn’t say it without crying and I wasn’t sure if the Stroke-brain allowed him to understand what I was saying and grasp the finality of the situation. But 2 days later while laying in bed he looked at me and said I think Lettie is going to be with the angels…is that right? I told him that was right. He silently cried and then rolled over. Heart break is an incredible pain. Even more so when a stroke has softened emotions and a persons heart making them so tender.
We began making trips to Alabama to see his daughter. One day when we had returned home he said to me, I want to be with her when she passes I hope you and her Mom can work that out for me. His speech was clear and passionate. I began to seek God and ask him to grant this request for my husband. I also told Lettie’s mother.
Another aspect of this life changing event was the friendship between mother and step mother, wife and ex-wife. We bonded together and became real friends. There was one thing in mind to make sure Lettie was taken care of in the best possible way.
Then we received a phone call and we were urged to come right away. I told my husband we must pack and leave. Cannot plan it just go. We ended up staying for a month.
There were funny, sad little episodes in the hotel as being away can cause confusion. Mostly he was fantastic and spent hour after hour sitting by his daughters side. We all worked together to ensure all her needs were met, meanwhile also taking care of Scott, the house, family, friends and the grand kids. The bond between the 3 of us grew and being around his ex-wife and her siblings actually help his memory and was good that came out of the situation.
His daughter was amazing, I have to say her strength at the end of her life was something you read about in books or see in movies. Dying she comforted her parents, told her Dad several times everything would be all right. Made sure her mother knew that she was taking wonderful care of her and was excellent in everything she did. She called me in one day and told me I was a fantastic wife and mother. Her kids knew she loved them and would be taken care of.
The biggest gift she gave her Mom, Dad, and me was to tell us she was right with the Lord and was not bitter or angry and knew her kids would be fine.
My husband, her father got to spend time with her, her large family, and the grand kids. He ran the gamut of emotions from making us all laugh to crying and wondering how it could be this way.
In the end she passed away peacefully with her mom on one side and her dad on the other. The Lord granted us the desire of our hearts to be with her. We made it thru the funeral. Now we are planning how to continue, the kids are doing well everyone is trying to live without her.
What was gained was a glimpse at the strength of the human body and soul and how love can over come literally everything. We all bonded together and her family welcomed us in as if we had always been there, we have future together of visiting and celebrating each other successes mourning the failures.
My husband with a stroke brain, was a compasionate man who dearly loved his daughter and cared about her mother’s well being. He often worried about his speech and would he be understood. She always understood him and when the rest of us didn’t we laughed until we could figure things out.
Although today I am not always sure how he is coping, I do know what he believes and what he knows because he told us. ” I am glad she is no longer suffering and is in heaven because that means I will see her again one day.”
I will be sorry and grateful, sorry it took her illness to bring us all together and grateful that she did it.