A Blizzard, A Loss & Super Bowls

This morning.

This morning.

Two years ago today at this exact moment my son Jimbo died.

We’d had a terrible blizzard the day before when the hospital called me that he’d turned critical. In fact they’d done a code and brought him back to life but he was on life support. Since I was his emergency contact they asked if he had an advanced health care directive. I did. Then they asked since it wasn’t safe to drive could I fax it to them.

I could and did.

Maybe half an hour later the doctor called again and suggested I get there as soon as I could, especially if I hoped to see him conscious because he’d had another episode.

Of course, I couldn’t get there at that time. Everything even the malls were closed. I live in a rural area and the winds had created a drift of 5-6 feet in front of the garage. We couldn’t open any doors to the outside because of the drifts.

Yesterday morning

Yesterday morning

The nursing staff told me they’d call with updates until I could get there and I should feel free to call whenever I felt the need.

The rest of that day and all night, I watched the weather bulletins, checked road condition reports and closings, an prayed for the snow to stop and the winds to calm. I thought about Jimbo as a baby, all the happy times and difficult times of childhood, teen years, adulthood.

I waited to hear the sound of snow plows and shovelers. Finally the next morning about 10:00, the plows and shovels arrived and made the first swipe through. My SUV had 4 wheel drive. I bundled up, watched and waited. When I judged the remaining drift in front of the garage was about just below my rear bumper but 6-8 inches beyond was pretty much clear to the pavement, I kissed my hubby, said I’d call when I got to the hospital, gut in my car, started it, hit reverse and pure motherly determination plus good tires got me through what remained of that drift.

Friday morning

Friday morning

Driving to the hospital took a long time. Most side roads were still unpassable and the few main roads were one lane, sort of, both ways with huge drifts on either side. In open areas even though the winds had died, drifting was going on. I was so thankful for my plucky car.

When I arrived at the hospital, I had no trouble finding a parking spot though not much of the lot was plowed. I found where my son was located—the ICU (this was a hospital I wasn’t familiar with) and asked at the desk exactly where my son was.

I could tell in the woman’s eyes I wasn’t going to like what came. She told me to wait and his nurse, the one I’d been talking with the day before, would go with me. In a moment she approached me gave me the most recent update.

It wasn’t good. She asked if I had anyone with me. I shook my head.

She took my hand and led me to my son.

Yesterday monring

Yesterday morning

I walked to his bed and looked carefully at this shell of my beautiful boy, my handsome son. I knew immediately they kept him on life support until I had a chance to see him. His life force was gone. It was up to me to set him free.

But first, I held him in my arms.

Doctors came and talked in hushed tones. A chaplain came and asked if I needed help in making decisions.

Of course not. I signed papers.

So I held him in my arms again while they turned off machines. He never took one breath on his own.

He watched the Super Bowl from above to see him team win that year.

And I’ll be thinking of him while I watch the game today.

About two hours ago

About two hours ago

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25 Comments on “A Blizzard, A Loss & Super Bowls”

  1. Love and hugs to you on this day. I’m wiping tears with you. I bet Jimbo had one heck of a Superbowl party in heaven as his team won.

  2. Edie Ramer Says:

    Ditto what Stacey said. Everything. Especially the Superbowl party in heaven.

  3. Cyndie Says:

    Dear Mary Jo – we have never been much of a Super Bowl Sunday crowd in my unit of 5. John has never been into sports and while I have a command of the names of the teams and even some players (from of old) from listening to my brothers and Aunt Lorraine talk about football as I was growing up, it has never been a sport or a Sunday to which I hold much affinity.
    But your post today has brought tears to my eyes and the best understanding I have ever heard to hold the Super Bowl game/day/memories dear to someone’s heart (yours).
    So as you watch the game, know that your wonderful Jimbo is indeed surrounded by those who have gone before us – from Grandpa Dieter to my Dad, from your dad, Uncle Ralph, to your son John and all the uncles and at least one aunt, Aunt Lorraine. Though I suspect that instead of watching “our” Super Bowl they are watching all of us and smiling down to see us all taking in the day in our own way!
    All my love, Cyndie – who remembers with warm smiles the happy, smiling boy with the solid head of black hair that was your Jimbo.

  4. Oh my God, Casey, I am crying for you. I cannot imagine holding my son in my arms as he dies. There are no words. But as I YAY for the Niners today I will think of you and your Jimbo.

  5. Stacey,

    Two years ago, I had the same thought. And my dad would have been over the moon.

    Wish I’d have had your new camera over this weekend. That extra zoom would have been perfect.

  6. Edie,

    Yeah, you know that’s what I liked so much about your Cassie and Joe in Dead People. You made the afterlife have real life issues and happenings.

    Thanks for liking the Super Bowl in heaven concept. 🙂

  7. Cyndie,

    I loved your comment and your memories of dear Aunt Lorraine. Yeah, here’s hoping they are all together today finding the Bowl interesting because of the brothers John and Jim.

  8. Patti,

    You YAH for your Niners. I know many will and their QB is phenomenal. I hope it’s a great game. Especially since I just finished the edits on Soul String 3 about 20 minutes ago. And the ending made me cry since I think it’s so beautiful.

    Hold your son close and treasure him always.

  9. Sandy Says:

    Oh God, you made me cry, Casey. I’m so glad you were able to see him and say goodbye.

    Your pictures remind me of the winters we used to get here, especially when we lived in the country.

  10. Sandy,

    Yeah, Weather is a pain but in winter it can be beautiful. Dry your tears and treasure memories.I used my grief to do great edits of An Island No More right after Jimbo died.

  11. Casey, we mark time with the memories of days like this one. The loss of a loved one highlighted by what we knew they would have been doing. What I believe is that because you keep his spirit alive in your heart and share both in the joys and sorrows of losing a child, you have given Jimbo immortality and a beautiful life ever after 🙂 I’ll keep you both in my heart on this day.

  12. Florence,

    I love you you express yourself and I appreciate your sentiments. Would you please get that book published? Come on, I want some company…

  13. Casey, my heart goes out to you. Sending tons of hugs to you today.

  14. Jamie,

    Thank you for your thought but really just really treasure each day you have with your sons.

  15. Deb Maher Says:

    MJ, My heart is with you. So glad you can write about this and share your words and grief so eloquently. Huge hugs, my dear friend.

  16. Virginia McCullough Says:

    I, too, am glad you can write about this and share that day–and I remember so well when and how it happened. Not to mention the memorable weather that went along with it. Your story brings home the importance of treasuring our time with those we love, but it also is a perfect example of how little control we have over much that happens in life. You were prepared and could carry out your son’s wishes, but you couldn’t control the storm. Thanks for writing about loss and grief so thoughtfully.

  17. anne parent Says:

    Such a bittersweet memory of a mother’s undying love for her son! Thank you for sharing this beautiful love story with us.

  18. Deb,

    Grief slowly segues to memories prompted by days on the calender, certain events, songs, etc. I hope you find this restful valley and rejoice in it.

    Thanks for commenting.

  19. Virginia,

    As you well know life and its experiences become the wellspring of our words or creative expression be it words, wood, plaster, marble or paint.

    And if my words help others to treasure their times in the present to create the memories we need later, I have done my job well.

    Thank you for your comments.

  20. Anne,

    An yes, once a mother, always a mother. It’s a gift.

    Thank you for your comment.

  21. Brenda Says:

    What a beautiful blog. Thank God I have a box of tissues right next to me! Take care my dear friend and I’m sending you BIG HUGS!

  22. Aww, Brenda. You’re so sweet and I love the hugs!

    How’s your wrist doing?

  23. Brenda Says:

    It’s doing wonderfully. Better than I would have expected. I am so surprised at how stiff it becomes when snow/rain is coming – wow – I think I can predict the weather a little more accurately than the weather folks:)

  24. Oh Casey, I have a hard enough time typing without all these tears getting in my way. I just don’t know what else to say…

  25. Lorna,

    Thanks for the comment and there’s nothing to say. I felt good writing it hoping it would help someone. It did. I got a call from a former neighbor who reads my blog. She recently lost an adult daughter very suddenly and we talked for about 20 minutes. She said she was calmed and more ready from reading the post and talking to me.

    Take care of yourself.

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