3 Months “Since”

Nolan suffered his Aneurysm on July 18, at around 10:10 pm. He lacked any brain function at the time the neurosurgeon first checked him at 2am on July 19. There has to be a second evaluation for brain function at least 4 hours later before a person can be pronounced “Deceased”. I remember dreading 6am, knowing they would check again. I was able to put the doctors off until the afternoon of July 19, when I watched everything they did during the 2nd neurological evaluation. It was horrible, but I’m glad I stayed with him during that exam. It left no doubt in my mind that Nolan was already gone. So, in the late afternoon on July 19, Nolan was pronounced officially “Brain Dead” (although they had some kinder, fluffier term they used it means the same ugly thing). Because we chose to honor Nolan’s passing by saving as many other lives as we could, Nolan was kept on life support while transplant teams and recipients were gathered and prepared. He was taken into the operating room the night of July 20, and was finally taken off of life support in the wee morning hours of July 21.

Which date do you go by? Is it by the “official” time/date stamp on some stupid “official” certificate? Do we call it when his heart was removed from his body? It’s horrible. It’s more than just 1 day to survive each month. We have to survive 4 separate anniversary dates each month. Which do we pick as our own “Official?”

We (DH, me, and Little N) consider Nolan’s passing to be on July 18, 2014 at approximately 10:15pm. That’s when his heart stopped beating. That’s when his breathing stopped. CPR was able to keep his blood oxygenated, but he didn’t maintain a steady heartbeat again until he was somewhere between Pittsfield and Bangor on the Life Flight helicopter. By that point, we all knew he was gone. I knew before the 2 ambulances even got to the house that he wasn’t coming back. I knew. I just knew.

Because of the length of this ordeal, we have 4 days every month where we remember some part of the trauma more strongly. The night he “went down,” the day of his “official” date, the night he went into surgery, and the day he was taken off life support. I think this makes it even harder.

On October 18, I decided that I simply couldn’t handle this 3-month mark. I opened the door wide and invited Denial right in. I asked Denial to bring as many friends as he could to help pretend the night away. What I literally did was this (taken from my personal Facebook page):

3 months. I can’t do it, so I’m not going to. Here it is, this is my Bat Signal going up, rallying the Troops. I’m going to have a Denial Party at my house tonight because that is way more fun than a Pity Party. We’re going to pretend that everything is ok and that we can survive this. We’re going to pretend that Grief isn’t swallowing us all, and we’re going to pretend laughter comes easily. We’ll throw some carnage on the grill and pretend we still like to eat. If you can handle that (and some cocktails) come on over, bring your kids, a snack or drink, and we’ll open the door wide for Denial. Just for tonight. We can get back to Grieving tomorrow.

It worked. So many of our friends showed up with food in hand and a hug in their hearts to help us make it through the night. 10:15pm came and went without my noticing. Our house was filled with laughter just like “Before.” I couldn’t have managed that night without everyone surrounding me and helping me stand. Seriously. I am so thankful for everyone who answered the Call. So what happened when everyone went home?

It turns out Denial is a fickle son-of-a-bitch. That “F-er” left with everyone else. He left me stranded and alone at 3am. I am so lucky that my dearest friend, my Soul Sister, was staying the night. I crawled into bed with her, sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. She simply gave me tons of Reiki and love until I fell asleep.

The following few days were also horrendous. It’s funny how things only occur to you in hindsight that should be so obvious. It really wasn’t until I began writing about Nolan’s timeline that it dawned on me. You’re probably one step ahead of me at this point. No duh the next few days were so hard! I didn’t consciously think about each day’s representation, but my body knew. My heart knew. Now I know, and maybe next month will make more sense when I spend 4 days in bed crying.

12 thoughts on “3 Months “Since””

  1. I am so glad for everyone who showed up, and your Soul Sister who stayed. But I am drying my eyes from sadness all the same, and I am a total stranger.

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  2. You are a beautiful woman (inside and out) and a beautiful writer. You are strong and taking care if yourself/your needs as you should be.
    I truly wish I knew you better. I enjoy reading your FB posts about all the things you are doing for yourself as well as others. I believe Nolan is guiding you to do every one if those things. He is with you and helping you. I truly admire you as a woman, mom, and a strong community person!
    As I’ve shared a few things with you and you know Meghan, I have to share more that she continues to grieve but I think it’s helping her with all her losses as well. She has a signature on her phone “NB 13″. She paints that on her fingernails, etc. I know she knew him but I don’t believe she was a close friend, so I question in my mind why she is so ” obsessed” (probably not the right word). But as I read your posts and blogs and hear your stories, I think she is grieving for all her losses and she knows that people will understand her/her feelings if she refers to NB 13.
    She also often shared stories of Nason in school and how he is so funny. She does consider him a friend. Thank you for allowing Meghan to know you, your family, and helping her in more ways than one would know.

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  3. amy. i am in the library wiping tears, and feeling the jagged blade of your mourning. i also have two boys, and feel so much for them– it’s just beyond words (maybe even more so now that your experience gives a greater perspective on life, and for all of us to learn from). i’ve been following your FB page since all of this began– and your new blog from its inception. IF that were one of my babies, denial would be my best friend, too– as well as a crying pillow to drown my tears and sorrow into. i love tho, that you are DIGGING as deep as you can to try and live thru these mourning-ful times– inviting family, friends, and Nolan’s friends, to your home. whatever it takes. these lovely people in your life are angels– keeping Nolan’s spirit alive. there’s nothing easy about reliving those experiences, or the moments that pass you by each day (and breath with). thank you for sharing your heart, and this experience. my heart goes out to you and everyone. xo ❤

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  4. I remember taking to you around 2am on the 19th. I will never ever ever forget the sound of your voice and what you said to me. I will forever remember sitting outside and sobbing for hours.. Just staring at the sky … A world away in Florida and thinking OH GOD WHAT WILL THEY ALL DO NOW?????? How will they be able to cope with all this??? I watch from afar on fb for all of you. And wish I could hold you all close and somehow take some of the pain and yet I know I simply cannot and what you are going through… I cannot fully understand because I’ve not lived in those painful shoes. When I don’t see you posting things… I worry … And when I read your posts… I worry… Your all on my mind and in my heart… Xo my friend. Xo

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    1. Amy you don’t know me, and actually I don’t really know Ray either. I have only had the great opportunity to get to know Randy and Ryan – we all went to school together though. Anyways, I am so very sorry for your grief, I couldn’t imagine loosing any of my children and being able to go on with life. No parent should have to out live their children, especially someone as young as Nolan. I am so glad that you have so many good friends and family, especially Ray, to help you get through each and every day. You and Ray just need to always be there for each other, one day at a time. May all your memories of Nolan help you get through the days – seems to me that Nolan was a terrific young man who any parent would be extremely proud of. Wish I could have known him. You’ve got one very special Angel watching over you, Ray and your family for the rest of your lives. 👼

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  5. It is awful to have those dates dragging you through the trauma all over again along with every day of grief and missing him so much. I’m so glad you have your family and friends to hold you through the night and when you’re alone I hope you feel Nolan’s arms around you every time you close your eyes. Pain and sorrow is the price we pay for being capable of loving so deeply, he was lucky to have you love him so very much.

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  6. Honoring Nolan by allowing others who are sick a chance at a transplant was a beautiful, righteous decision..though I understand how horribly painful it must have been (to put it lightly). I hope you’ll continue to seek other’s help and support during this time, and keep close to Nolan because without a doubt he’s with you.

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  7. Amy I’m just starting to read your blog now. As I sit here tears streaming down my cheeks I can’t help but to get into my car to drive to my aunts house where my little Derik is spending the night and hold him tightly in my arms for a little while and tell him that I love him. I can’t imagine the pain you go through each and every day. You are one hell of a strong lady.

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  8. I saw your most recent post on FB and enjoyed reading about your fine young son and his hero essay. I wanted to learn more about you guys so I’ve read some older posts. I hope this writing is cathartic for you. I hope it helps to heal your heart even just a little bit. Know that others out there will read your words and cry and some will nod their heads because they know what you’re going through. Others will read them and be relieved, because they may feel alone in their grief, but your words will inspire them to carry on, knowing that others are doing so.

    I have been lucky in my own life, and won’t insult you by pretending to know your grief. I’ve been a large city police officer for 16 plus years, so I’ve seen tragedy and death and families grieving. I think about many of them and wonder how they’re coping. The EMTs who transported your son may wonder from time to time how you guys are doing. I don’t know. I’m just trying to say your blog is helpful, beyond hopefully the help it brings to you and your family, even if you may not see it. Bless you all.

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