When we last left, it was June 25, 2013 and I was planning to take this blog and run with it. Sometimes the best of intentions don’t quite turn out.
On Thursday June 27, 2013, during the eight o’clock hour as I started my day at the office, my family’s life as we knew it changed in an instant.
See, my sister, Catherine, calls me every morning on her way to work. And seeing as she starts a half hour later than I do, our calls have been getting shorter lately, so she randomly called our mom that day once I arrived at my office and ended our call. We had been bickering over the past couple days and I was keeping my distance a little.
Within a few minutes of settling in at my desk for the day, my sister started texting me. I seriously didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. I read the words, but my sissy can be a bit of an exaggerator. I didn’t panic. I started asking questions and quickly learned that we had more questions than answers. Now, I panicked.
I leaned that our (step)dad had some sort of episode in the car while my mom was driving him down the highway to a regularly schedule follow up doctor’s appointment. Since my sister was on the phone with my mom when this happened, she’s the one who called 911.
Did you know that you cannot put 911 on hold from a cell phone? Apparently my sister learned this while trying to link me on the call. Thankfully, text messaging still worked.
Our mom is amazing! She did chest compressions on Pete while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She remained calm and was able to relay all of the important information that she needed to.
The details go on and for our family, telling the story and knowing exactly what happened has been strangely a form of peace for us.
After four days of examining the details of what happened from start to finish, we determined that our Pete was without a pulse for 29 minutes. The Hoffman Estates, IL paramedics and crew exhaustively took turns and they were able to get a pulse after what was likely 29 minutes without one.
We spent four days in and out of the hospital, waiting for text results, stressing over the right choices and reconnecting with family. And on Sunday June 30, 2013 with our family gathered around him, our Pete officially went home to The Lord.
This was the fourth time in my life that I have had the honor of being with my close loved one as they passed on. It never gets any easier. Emotions run high and I can hardly swallow thinking about that moment for Pete. But, I wanted to be there. He was there for every important moment in my life. He shared those moments with my mom and he makes up part of every special time in my life for more than twenty three years.
My husband and son decided to be present with my mom, sisters and two of my brothers-in-law as well. It was their first experience up close and personal with death. I know that both of them had a hard time with that, but ultimately I think they were glad to be there for Pete. He was so special in every way. Papa Pete as my Michael affectionately calls him seriously loved his family with all his heart. He enjoyed poking fun at all of us and cracking jokes (that sometimes only made sense to him).
I had the honor of writing his obituary.
Pete is with me every single day. I learned last week that I will never look at an ambulance the same way again. Those are heroes driving to save someone’s life. Get out of the way! I look at yellow flowers with a new appreciation. Toilet paper, pill containers and Mentos gum make me cry. Don’t even get me started on Q-tips, Puffs tissues, little memo notebooks and banded bottom shirts with a pocket.
I have a deeper connection with my mom than I ever could have imagined. I am so blessed. I’ll tell you more about her later. For now, just call your family, go see them and tell them that you love them. You may not have that opportunity in another day.
Rest in peace, Mister Pete. I love you the most. Forever and ever.