"JANUARY 1, 2009"Just one year ago today...little did I know on 'that' day... what would shortly unfold, that would have a profound effect on my entire view of this life. I knew that with 2008 there would be daily life...routine...work...and life with Tom, Mariko, Kari, & Momi. There would be good days...some bad days...lot's of laugher, love, arguments, bills, frustrations, tears, embarrassment, joy, pain, worry, smiles, hugs, ect... This is Life! But never, never, ever in my thoughts would I have imagined on that day...that in just 7 days my precious girl Mariko would die !
2008 will forever be burned in my mind as the worst year in my life...I was slapped in the face with the ultimate awakening to the fragility of life. The worst imagining has happened to me...my child died and I now know unimaginable pain. And somehow I lived through it... how is that possible?
As I stood there watching the countdown on the TV as the clock counted down the last minute of 2008...I felt a welling up in my heart that was unstoppable... I wanted this horrible year to be over. I longed for it to be over...but at the same time I wanted a "do over". I wanted it to be the countdown to 2008 again, and to have Mariko back. I wanted her not to die, and to have 2008 with her here. And if it was unchangeable (as it is)...I then wanted to have done more with her that last week. I want to be able to sit with her and look at every single page of that Harry Potter Calendar with her. I want to hold her more & tell her I love her more. I want to.. on that day before she died & she came up to me in tears saying she was tired... to not only hug her, but to have sat with her comforting her longer and not letting go of her. I want to be able to go back on that day & pick her up at school... and not to have found her on that bus. I want to know with certainty that she did not suffer. I want to have been able to be there for her to say Goodbye, and I LOVE YOU with all my heart Mariko...(I didn't want her to die 'alone' on that bus seat).
....10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...2009! I cried...because there are no such things as a do-over in life. No matter how much I willed it...it was what it was. Tom held me tight with the same understanding of the unspeakable pain we together have had to endured. He is my strength. I cried with the utter sorrow of loss, while all around me there was loud music, laughter & cheers, to drown out the sounds of my screaming sobs.
So now I have to face 2009 with some hope...that I will do it better and live with no regrets. To tell Tom, Kari & Momi that I love them...more. To let my hugs linger. To talk to them more even when I'm tired. To truly be interested in how they feel...what they are thinking. To not take them for granted. To let the small stuff go. To speak with them with respect, understanding...and with my heart. To more gently push and encourage them. To understand that when they are being annoying, or frustrating me, or angry, or disrespectful...that they must be hurting inside somehow...and not to react poorly & in anger. To listen with an open heart & mind....and hopefully with some wisdom.
I do not know what 2009 will hold for me...I just have to hope that God...will not give me more than I can handle. I hope more than anything that I paid the price for all the wrongs, slights, anger, selfishness, pettiness, & hate that I put out there in this World...and that Kari & Momi in turn will be blessed!to be continued...
January 8, 2000 one year ago today!Today is exactly 1 year since Mariko passed away... and it still feel's like yesterday. The pain is as real today as it was that rainy Tuesday at 2:45pm. I have tried to write about that day and the weeks prior to the funeral before but was unable to get through it...I will try again today because it is still all part of Mariko's Life...and death. Maybe if I can get through this the nightmares would end.
Momi was home sick that day and I took her to the doctor. We got home around 2pm. I could have picked up Mariko, but I guess my thinking was that it was her first day back at school, so I should try to get her back on track. (My biggest regret... but then I think how would I have dealt with her dying in my arms? Could I have saved her? Could I have done anything to change it? Would it have been worse to see your child die and not be able to stop it?) Instead I waited for the bus...it pulled up and I rushed out to get her off the bus like I always did. I said hi to the driver...and looked back. There was only one other kid sitting in the front seat. Mariko is so tiny but I can usually spot her tiny head peeking up...but that day I didn't she her at all. So I called her name and there was no response, and I figured she was sleeping because she's been so weak lately, and because of the Holiday & back to waking up early and spending a full day at school. I stepped towards the back. She was on the left about 2 seats from the back of the tiny yellow bus. She was slumped over and her head was at such an odd angle against the seat right in front of her. Her face was a deep purple. I KNEW. I screamed her name over & over as I lifted her back onto her seat and lefted her face. Mariko...Mariko...MARIKO.... I started breathing into her mouth...crying Mariko please wake up...Mariko....Mariko....
I screamed at the driver to call 911...he was on his radio...I tried to remove her constricting jacket that was zipped all the way up...hopeing that it will help her breath.. As I continued to scream...cry...breath....I heard the air I was breathing into her...that hollow sound...just pass through her. (That sound haunts me to this day). No cough from my baby...no movement....just this limp tiny body...so heavy. My God...My God....I started screaming for Momi to call 911...screaming so loud out the window. The driver was in shock...he was fighting back tears. The moments seemed to last forever...Momi was screaming...screaming by now...trying to call 911. My neighbor Kim was somehow there. Finally...the sirens at a distance... I smelled that scent I will never forget....her bowel let go.
The medic came on that bus...he was trying to calm me. I was hysterical. I pleaded with them to save her. I begged... I screamed with all my soul for someone to save her. I called to God... The medics/ fighfighters asked me to leave the bus so that they can work on her. I reluctantly moved and more medics climbed on. I was trying to reach her doctor...I was trying to call Tom...I kept re-dialing because my fingers would not work...I couldn't think...see... Between my sobs and holding Momi and looking back at the bus. Finally Kym my neighbor calmly talked to me and I was able to give her Toms number. I saw that they had moved her by the door of the bus...her tiny leg was dangling from the top step. There was no rushing around of people...they were just talking gathered around her. I just kept looking at her tiny leg. Kym my neighbor went to talk to them ...but they only told her they were doing the best they can. They finally had her on the stretcher. There were no tubes in her throat to push air...there was no sirens as they pulled away. I KNEW.
They told me to go to Seton Emergency. I had to wait for Kari. Kym tried to call her next...but then Sandy (Ariel's mom) just pulled up with Kari just as the ambulance was getting ready to pull away. They all tried to calm me. I said I needed to go to Emergency. Kari was in shock...unable to believe what was going on. She didn't know what I already knew. She figured Mariko will have to stay in the Hospital again. My neighbor Kym & Sandy wanted to drive me. I told them to just call Tom. I didn't want nobody to drive me, because I felt they wouldn't get there as fast as I could. I grabbed my girls and just took off.The Emergency Room...to be continued..
January 10, 2009Somehow I made it to the Emergency Room with Kari & Momi...I'm not sure how because all I remember was trying to drive through my tears...and debilitating fear. It was raining harder by then and the late afternoon was so dark and gloomy. (Surely the Heavens were crying...how could it be otherwise with the death of such an innocent as she?)
I circled the emergency parking lot twice and cursed God...and finally just parked right in front of the door and ran in with the girls. The person at the door told me don't worry about it. They saw the terror in my face I guess. I ran to security doors by the waiting room trying to get in to my baby...they were expecting me. Someone quickly opened the door and directed me into a tiny waiting area and told us to wait for the doctor. I Knew...I knew...but I thought maybe a miracle...maybe they could bring her back. I kept trying to reassure the girls...but I don't remember want exactly was said. I kept peeking out the door to the rooms wanting to get a glimpse of my girl...to hear her crying...anything. It was strangely quiet in that emergency room.
I tried to maintain my composure willing myself not to run from room to room screaming her name.
But it didn't take long .... A woman doctor and a male doctor both came into the waiting room. I Knew...I didn't want to hear it...no, no.. No...!!! The woman spoke first..."I'm sorry to tell you.. " I collapse to the floor.Crying...moaning...hysterical...my GOD... I grabbed and held Kari & Momi. They were both crying....screaming... I had to see for myself...I needed to see my baby. I started to follow them holding Momi who had totally lost it. Kari through her tears could not move...she could not see her sister that way... dead. She was terrified. I knew this...it would have destroyed her. I told her it was ok. Mariko was in the first room to the left...I walked in shaking uncontrollably holding Momi tight. As soon as I saw Mariko I ran to her and screamed holding her with all my might. Momi collapsed on the floor screaming. Mari had the tube in her mouth...but she looked like she was sleeping. "Mari...Mariko...it's mommy...I'm so sorry Mariko...I'm so sorry"....I kept repeating that over & over again. (I'm so sorry that you were not born whole...that you had a hard life of doctors...pain...being stared at...being different...not having a boyfriend like you wanted...not getting married one day...not having a baby...All of it! That you had to die before me!)I'm so sorry baby!
Doctor Zaglin her life long doctor & his nurse Tammy & Melissa came soon after. Tammy & Melissa were crying. They all tried to comfort me. My sister Lou who loved her so much...came in and collapse crying. I went to her and picked her up & we held each other. (My sister Lou was like a second mom to Mariko. She was there from the beginning so loving & caring when it came to Mariko. She always genuinely cared about Mariko, and would always spend time having long meaningful conversations with her. Together we both care for & maintain her little garden at her gravesite). My sister along with Tom have always been my strengh.
Then it hit me!!! Tom was on his way. He didn't know! He would think she was just sick...she's been to the emergency room so many times in her short lifetime. Oh my God...Oh my God...This was going to destroy him.
He came rushing into the room...he seemed OK. Then he saw her. He saw me...he couldn't grasp it. It took a moment...to hit him and he kept saying what? what? His expression changed as he comprehended the impossible...The look on his face broke my heart. He too broke down. Together we held each other & our precious baby. I'm not sure how long we stayed. It was through the night. They removed the tube in her mouth. We talked to Mariko for the last time...telling her how much we loved her. We held her for the last time. Lou got a pair of scissors and cut off a lock of her hair for us. (I have placed a little in tiny silver prayer boxes that we can wear around our necks, close to our hearts). Tom kept Mariko's tiny tennis shoes that she wore. Dr Zaglin assured me they would not do an autopsy due to her medical history...which was a great relief. The thought of an autopsy would have terribly haunted me. It was so hard to leave that night. It was so hard to physically leave her side. It was hard to leave her alone for the first time in her 21 years with us. We never left her completely alone. How do you leave your baby's side...she would be cold & lonely without us? The thought torn me apart.the next week before the funeral...to be continued...