Grieving your own Death

After such a busy week last week, between the move, and Sarah’s best friend traveling to Ohio, I am finding myself in a calm state, without a ton to write about.  The primary thing starting to creep into my mind though, is that in a little over two weeks, it will have been one year since Megan’s death.


I am constantly being bombarded by memories of exactly where I was and what I was doing one year ago.  At this point, I was traveling 45 minutes, one way to the hospital every day to visit Megan.  She was emaciated and weak, only weighing 75 pounds or so, but she was still doing her best to sit up out of bed or even walk to the nurses desk, about 40 feet away (albeit with a team of nurses to caddy her IV poles, ventilator, and various other tubes, hoses, and wires going into her)

I started thinking about this last night as Sarah and I were driving back from dinner and talking.  

Megan would have loved to have died peacefully at home.  She would had preferred that we didn’t “have” to go up there every night.  By this point last year, she had already resigned herself to the fact that she would probably be dead in a few weeks.  I didn’t know it, and she never let us know that, but hindsight being 20/20, it’s plainly obvious.  After six months of asking people to NOT come visit, because she didn’t want a parade coming through every day, she started asking for any and everyone to come see her.  She was preparing herself, and saying her goodbyes, under the auspices of needing “encouragement” during the day, when I was at work and couldn’t necessarily be there.  


She was sitting in the chair, taking her walks, and forcing herself to eat not because she wanted to, but because she knew she had to fight for US.  Had she never been married or had Shelby, it may have been a totally different story for her.  Before we were married, she had plainly said that she was against receiving a lung transplant.  The risk was too great of complications from the surgery, and frankly, it was only going to buy her a few more years anyway, looking at statistics.  


Her brother’s passing, marrying me, and ultimately, having Shelby changed all of that.  Shelby, young as she may have been at the time, remembers her mother being placed in an ambulance with a collapsed lung in 2011.  She remembers visiting her the next day, and she remembers when we were told “we’ve found a donor”.  She was almost 4 years old at the time.  


Fast forward to last year, when Shelby was 7, and she witnessed her mother being taken to the emergency room again, only this time, there was no donor to be found over an 8 month period.  Megan taught her how to be brave and risk a complicated surgery for the sake of your child in 2011, and last year, she taught her that suffering and pain is of little consequence, even with only a 2% chance of ever receiving a second transplant, when it means possibly being there for your child.  


Even now, this makes it hard to actually mourn her sometimes.  Not because I don’t miss her, but because of what she did and sacrificed for our family.  It would have been very easy for her to just decline a second transplant, and pass away relatively quickly at home, but she didn’t.  She went through all of the bullshit last year for the smallest chance that things went well.  I am beyond even using the word “appreciative”, but unfortunately, I can’t think of another word that describes how I feel about her.  


It is a very painful memory, thinking about her last 6 months or so, but it is also a happy memory in a way.  I can look back at that, and know how much she loved me, our friends and family, and Shelby.  Shelby saw that too.  She doesn’t talk about it much, but she knows that Megan went through all of that for her sake.  


I think Megan was grieving her own death long before we were.  She did a large portion of that grieving for us, and as it turns out, she made us stronger and much more resilient afterwards.  She not only took on her own pain and suffering, she took on ours as well, and I will always love her for it.  


Showing 3 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2015-11-06 22:30:46 -0800
    Thank you for sharing this post Mike. How incredibly brave and a fighter Megan was. Will be thinking of you as you approach that day and hoping it will be a soft day for you.
  • commented 2015-11-06 08:41:28 -0800
    Mike, I’ve read this every day since you posted it. And every time, it breaks my heart. For you, for Megan, and for me too. Your last paragraph opened a new concept to me, that my husband also took on his own grief, and left me with strength to endure.
  • commented 2015-11-03 14:26:39 -0800
    SHe sounds like a beautiful and brave soul. I wish you much love and peace these coming weeks ahead.