Sunday, May 30, 2010

Now to plan a funeral

Where do we have our son's funeral? We know that the parking lot at the church we attend is too small. We realize that the church DJ had attended the school of when he was little was just the right one. Again, he ordained most of these decisions years prior. The pastor of this church gives us real answers to real questions. He smiles and knows the presence of God is all around. He is not fake and he is not afraid to talk about the worst thing going on in our life. So many pastors that came to the hospital kept trying to rub my arms and pat my back--I got so tired of feeling like my skin was being rubbed off. So many talked about the housing market and normal things, but this pastor talked about DJ, he gave us real words of encouragement, he guided us as we needed guided. We had never walked this walk and we needed someone to direct us and let us know any decisions we made were the right ones when it concerned DJ's funeral. It was okay for us to share stories about him defending a younger classmate by slamming an older one into a locker--maybe not the best way to resolve problems but DJ certainly didn't allow the little kid to get bullied. He didn't mind that at the end of the funeral we wanted to play Johnny Cash's Get Rhythm. Someone else might have thought it wasn't the song to chose, it was about a boy who shined shoes and would get rhythm when he would get down. It was the last song I had enjoyed with DJ before his death. And it was played very loud at the funeral. This pastor didn't correct or counter our decisions, he uplifted us with his words and his presence.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where to bury my boy

Planning a funeral for a parent is difficult, planning a funeral for a child is horrific. Where to bury DJ is the first question we have to deal with. We live in a small town and decide to do this at a small funeral home nearby. We drive up to the funeral home and it looks old, it looks dreary and looks sad. It looks like I feel. This won't work, we don't even go into the place. We don't even bother to call them and let them know we aren't showing up. Very quickly we decide to bury DJ at a cemetary near my husband's work, it is less than a mile away and already has a history with DJ. When he was about 3 years old we all went to this same cemetary and put flowers on Donnie's grandparents grave. There was a large water fountain there and DJ apparently needed to go to the bathroom. He must have thought the fountain was a large toilet, down his pants went and he relieved himself right there. Donnie and I covered our mouths and laughed so hard, it probably looked like we were crying but instead we were laughing hysterically. So in the end, in the final end we didn't have to think too hard about where DJ needed to be. He had already marked this cemetary, he already had history there and it was his place to be. It is crazy how something so random can happen in your life that you can make a huge monumental decision out of it. Our decision of where to bury DJ was made 10 years earlier. Life has a way of coming full circle.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Leaving with one less

Papers were signed and farewells were done. What do you do after that? We left the hospital. It was so late at night, only the street lights shined. The world was very quiet and very much changed forever for us. We left with a bag of DJ's belongings and with one less child. DJ's new skateboard shoes and his favorite t-shirt in the bag--his shirt that said "Skateboarders who love Jesus" -that was all we got to take home---that sucked!! No child, no boy with flowing hair and beautiful green eyes, just a bag of belongings. We went into the hospital as a family of 5 and left as a family of 4. My husband held the hand of my daughter and I held the hand of our youngest son. For so long we had been a family of five, for so long we had been complete and now we were incomplete, lacking the boy that made everything connect. It felt like forever being in that hospital but in a split second we were down to four.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Organ Donation

A kind woman with a kind face and a kind voice comes and talks to me and my husband. Her words are kind but her message is hard for us to hear. She would like to know if we have considered donating his organs. I have never considered donating any of my child's organs--why would I? I am an organ donor, it is on my license but DJ doesn't even have a license yet. He hasn't had this chance to make this choice and now we are making it for him. Yes, yes we will donate his organs. We have a friend who's son had a kidney transplant, we understand the need for this. We just wish it wasn't our son that was doing the donating. That is what everyone wishes--that is wasn't their child, that is wasn't their family, that is wasn't happening to them. But if not to us then to who? It will happen to someone you know, it could happen to you-it happened to us. In this world it is unfair to think nothing bad will ever happen to you or your family. This fact absolutely does not make what has happened to DJ any easier, it is just a fact that sucks daily.
The woman with the kind voice asks us DJ's health questions. Again hard questions. She asks about DJ's sexual history, he hasn't even kissed a girl yet, what sexual history is there? She is kind and she keeps asking questions and we answer them-he was healthy, he was beautiful, he was kind, he was fantastic, he was amazing, he was my boy--those are the answers I want to give her but those don't count on this piece of paper. We sign the papers, now with our signature our life changes again and DJ's organs will be donated. Another signature.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A signature changes everything

It became obvious to me that DJ was not going to make it, he was not going to come back to me. I whispered to him, "Go to Jesus DJ, go to Jesus." I don't think he needed my permission I just think it was my way of saying Goodbye to him. My way of letting go.
The doctors tell us they will do tests the next day to confirm what we all already know. They come to his room and open the curtains, it is bright again and the world is staring at me in my pain. They tell us to speak DJ's name loudly to see if he will respond. They poke his ear with a sharp needle and check his eyes for any sign of life. His beautiful green eyes are unresponsive. They take the ventilation tubes out of his mouth to see if he can breathe on his own---it doesn't work, he can't breathe by himself, he can't feel the pain of the needle and he can't hear us saying his name. No parent, no parent should ever have to see this scene. It is a horrible, horrible painful place to be--a place of absolute despair. It is official, with a signature on a piece of paper by a doctor I don't know, by a mere stranger, my son is declared brain dead. At 1pm on Sunday October 8, 2006. DJ was 13yrs old, he had just asked a girl to go to his first dance with him, he wanted to be a professional skateboarder, he was an amazing friend to the kids at school, he smiled all the time, he was an awesome kid and it all ended with a signature on a piece of paper.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I spend hours at the hospital. My teenage daughter and young son come to see DJ. They have been with DJ's best friend's parents, these people have known DJ his entire life and now they will have known him his entire life. My daughter was best friends with DJ they were very great friends--however a few days before DJ's accident he and my daughter had a terrible fight--she said she hated him. She never got to apologize to him, instead she wails over his body and tells him he can't leave her. My son and I go to get food at the hospital cafeteria. No one looks me in the eye, the staff is immune to this grief. The staff looks over me and around me but not at me. I don't know why we even go get food, we don't eat it, it all tastes like cardboard.
The nurses come in and out of the room. They are amazing, they are kind and honest and "No, they have not seen anyone survive head trauma like DJ has had" I know this because I ask them, I quit asking them because I am hoping for a miracle.
Friends come to the hospital, so many that the staff has to put them in a separate room, friends call, I call them. "It's bad, it's very bad." I quit calling them and hand my phone over to a friend to make the calls, asking for prayer. I can't talk to anyone anymore, I can only sit next to my son in his bed and hold his hand--I can only look at the drawing of a star and a dice on his hand that he had drawn only hours before and hold his hand. I put my hand against his to gage it's size, it is just slightly bigger than mine and it will forever be that size, forever in my memory. His skin is becoming hard, it is losing it's warmth, it is killing me that my son is dying next to me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Today is not a good day

I'm not telling my story in sequence today--today was a bad day. In honor of DJ every year I put on a DJ's day and give away skateboard helmets, have free food, free band, free everything. I have flyers made up for the event and today I handed some out to people. Today I picked the fire department in the city where DJ's accident was. The fireman that came and got the flyers from me told me he was the first one on the accident scene. Remember I wondered why they had stopped alongside the road? Well I couldn't ask, all I could do was try to hold myself together and not cry when he told me this. He was the last person who heard my son talk, who heard his voice, who talked to him before he was brain dead. It took all I could do to not cry, it is all I can do right now at this moment to see the key board because my eyes are full of tears. Today is a bad, sad, hard, unforgiving, miserable, heavy laden, agonizing, horrible bad day

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hearing words I don't want to hear

Arriving at the hospital I'm not allowed to see my son. My husband and I wait in a small sterile white room for word, any word. Finally a doctor comes to meet us. My husband asks if DJ is in pain and he says no, he is not. It takes a few minutes for this to sink it--he is not in any pain because he doesn't feel anything anymore. The wall behind me is cold and bare and it is the only thing that holds me up as the doctor tells me this. At what seems like days we are allowed to go into the emergency room DJ is in and he is bare except for a sheet and tubes. Tubes are everywhere. We are told that DJ needs to be taken away to get an x-ray but before they do I ask why? What could they possibly need one for? All the nurses, doctors, strangers assure me it is necessary. He is gone again before I even get a chance to touch his bare skin, he keeps leaving me without my permission, without my consent, leaving, leaving, leaving.
Finally we are reunited, my husband, myself and DJ--in a dark room full of wires, tubes, monitors, coldness. In a room I do not want to be in ---I want to be sitting in DJ's room telling him goodnight and tickling him. I don't want the light to be in this room, my world is sinking and fading away as I know it and I don't want the light from the sun in this room--I close the curtain, I shut out the world--I close the curtain as my life closes in.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The long day continues with an ambulance ride

I have always prayed for ambulances along the roads, with their lights flashing going somewhere with someone, someone unknown to me, I have always prayed for these unknown people. Unfortunately today I was praying for my son in that ambulance, praying for him while their lights were flashing while they were going to the hospital with my son. I followed them in my car, I even parked behind them when they stopped the ambulance along the road--doing what to my son I never found out, I never wanted to know I guess, it would not have changed the outcome of his death. I sat in the car along the roadside praying for DJ, praying for my son. Calling my husband to pray and meet me at the hospital, calling my closest friend to pray for him. This time I knew the person in the ambulance and this time I prayed for someone I loved dearly. I flew as fast as they did to the hospital, hoping a policeman wouldn't stop me and delay my trip to the hospital--delay the results from a concussion--or so I was hoping and praying. It's amazing how praying for a concussion was the positive and hopeful prayer, I had never prayed for a certain injury before-amazing the things that change your world even your prayer world

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

October 7, 2006-the beginning of a different life

My cell phone rang, caller id wasn't a number I knew. It was DJ's friend telling me DJ hit his head while skateboarding. I asked a few questions and when he said the ambulance was on it's way I knew I had to fly to rescue my boy. Fortunately I was driving in town and less than a mile from the accident scene. As I arrived I saw so many people, DJ's best friend sitting on the curve crying and DJ laying in the middle of the street saying his head hurt. How was I to know this was the last time I would ever hear DJ's voice. The ambulance arrived and the technicians kept talking to him, cutting up his favorite shirt to examine him(I remember thinking how upset he was going to be about that). Before I knew it they had him in the ambulance and were taking him away. I never got to say goodbye or I love you to my boy.