Life With Nine Kids

Monday, September 9, 2013

Uncle Neal Died

My stomach was gnawing away at me, it told me to expect the worst. So I prepared myself. After as much medical intervention and treatment that was humanly possible my Uncle Neal died.

I never knew how awful waiting at the hospital was until we did it with Penelope last year. It's surreal. It's: uncomfortable, hard, cold, bright... and sanitized still feels dirty. Last week I escaped the hours and hours of pacing, sitting, and upright-sleeping because Uncle Neal had enough family there and I had to take care of the kids. The plan was that I/we would visit when he had healed for a few days and was up for a visit. I had cleared our schedule over the next two weeks and imagined Ricky and I taking 8 kids to visit the hospital in shifts. His recovery would be long and he'd be in the hospital for a minimum of 8 days. But he never got better. Nothing worked out like we imagined or planned as everything that could go wrong did. I carried my cell phone around with me for 3 days and each time it rang it was worse news. Mini heart attack, pneumonia, intubation, an unexpected second surgery. Every phone call I prepared the kids for what seemed like the the inevitable; he very well may die. On the morning of September 7th he died. We told the kids and we were all pretty numb. Some of us cried, some did not. Some have tears yet to come. I was numb until nightfall and then I cried. I sobbed harder when I remembered the last thing he ever said to me. Because he loved us so much and he loved the kids so much, his last words to me were "absolutely beautiful" and it was about photos of my family and new baby on facebook.

I don't know why it makes me cry so hard. They are gorgeous last words and a treasured memory I can keep... but it just makes me sob. Why do we have to love people so much, so that it then hurts so bad when they leave?

We are busy preparing for the memorial. I always notice how hard it is to deal with anything else besides our normal routine. It can be fun stuff or bad stuff, doesn't matter, but it's hard doing anything else but taking care of house or kids. Everyday is FULL of chores, cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for kids, changing diapers, school, breaking up fights or fits, feeding animals, Etc, Etc, Etc... it's not that I'm complaining but it makes me realize how different and time consuming life is with so many kids. It's SO time consuming. I am constantly telling myself to take one-step-at-a-time because it's overwhelming. Like right now, I do not have time to finish this blog post... 

I'm at that place where it feels like the world is spinning all around me and I'm yelling for it to stop because *I* lost someone. It hurts and I want everything to go away. I don't want to go out and buy chicken feed. I don't want to deal with bills and a dental billing/insurance mistake that I made that we now owe a ton of money for. I don't want to deal with toddler meltdowns. I don't want to look at the calendar. I don't want to deal with a 9 year old who is angry and defiant and hiding every feeling she possibly could about her great uncle's death. I do not want to deal with the fact that we have fleas and now obvious flea resistant medications for the animals (dogs now treated with meds that are working, cats still not though). I have too much to do, too much to think about and school is supposed to have started for us. We're supposed to be having piano lessons and bowling and enjoying our new Science Center membership. I'm supposed to be planning Penelope's birthday party. And this week were were supposed to be bringing cheer and hand drawn artwork from kids to Uncle Neal's hospital bedside. So in other words: everyone and everything should stop everything and clear the floor for me so I can be woefully sad and profoundly grouchy. During the day I'm numb but okay as we all are going through the motions of life and prep for Wednesday, by each nightfall I want to use the F word and I get so mad at nearly everything. Then I cry.

Layla and I have been at each others throats since Uncle Neal died and I now realize it's because she's hurting too. She's not crying, she's angry and she's being defiant and mean and hiding her pain. :(  To make things more painful she didn't get to go on her annual float trip with Uncle Neal this year because he was too sick. She also missed the last trip out to see him because she was in school. Horrible. She seems a little more at peace today. It's all going to hit us harder when we get to the family resort tomorrow.

 Poor, poor sweet Charlotte has to try not to cry because her wisdom teeth are still healing and she has a ear ache because of it. We are afraid her ears will clog up from crying.

 On the morning I told Penelope that Uncle Neal died I didn't know what to expect. She blinked her little blue eyes and I thought she was going to cry -and she almost did. She stared blankly at me and optimistically and ever so sweetly said said, "Well, you have to get to Heaven somehow. Right mom?"


pmteet said...

I am so sorry for your loss. If you need anything we are here for you. Morning is difficult, everyone is so different. Anger, tears, and numbness are hard to deal with. You are a good mom. It is hard to have an angry child. But she is taking it out on you because she knows you will always be there for her. Hugs to all

Anonymous said...

Oh Shauna and family, I can only imagine how deeply sad you must be feeling. I wish the world *would* stop, if only for a few days so you can catch your breath. Much love to you all during this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Deepest sympathies to your family! It's a sobering and sad reminder that we are all headed to the same place, but it's a better place. Those of us still on the journey 'home' are allowed to grieve our loss anyway we need to. Be gentle with yourself, take as much time as you need. Many friends out here keeping you in our prayers.
God bless,

Sara Jay said...

Sending you lots of hugs and our deepest sympathies as well, Shauna. Please let us know if we can do anything at all to help.


Pink Slippers said...

My Dad died a couple of years ago. I remember how strange it felt when they were carrying him out of my Mom's house and as I was frozen in time the whole world was living/functioning as if nothing of such importance was happening. Absolutely oblivious to what was happening right there in the drive way.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! my grandma died three months ago and I still cry at night sometimes. although she died at home surrounded by family and had what we would call a perfect death, we miss her a lot!

Love and hugs, Sara from Italy