Friday, August 31, 2007

The night Missy died......

I have never told too many people this exact story of the few days when my sister died and he days that followed. People have heard it or knew bits and pieces of it. About a month ago I was telling my friend Linda the story of what it was like just at the hospital for me. I started to cry and felt like an idoit. I don't even know if I ever really even described it to Brian. I kind of got lost in the memory when talking to Linda. Then sitting here listening to "Sister" by The Nixons, I thought I should tell the story. SHe has been gone 10 years now and maybe it's time people know what it was like for me and my family really.
September 23rd, 1997
I came home for a few minutes that night right around 3 or 4 pm. I had been living with my boyfriend Will, but things between us weren't that great and I felt that I need to focus on my family and school since I wasn't doing either. That summer I found out I had a begnin brain tumor, but for awhile there we weren't sure if it was cancer. It turned out to not be cancer. But during this time, I thought of all the things I wanted to do and what was important and moved back home. Anyway, when I got home that afternoon, Missy was on the back porch smoking a cigarette and holding her new kitten FeeBee. Yeah she smoked just like my other sister and my parents knew. My mom didn't like it, but my dad said it was alright so how do you win when parents are against each other.
Anyway, I told Missy I was leaving. I was going to pick up my friend Nicole for her softball game and take her there. Part of the reason I really wanted to go to the game was to see my ex boyfriend Jim. I know I was with WIll, but part of me had always loved Jim. Never stopped really and I just wanted to see him. So I said good bye to Missy and told her I loved her and I would see her later. That night we got to the game, Jim was there, but he wouldn't say hi to me. ( I found out later why) I was hurt, but what could I really do. I was still with Will though I knew it was pretty close to being over. Nicole and I sat in my car after the game talking to 2 guys she knew. One of them started playing with the angel on my dashboard and I told them that Missy had gotten it for me a few days earlier. I thought of her and decided I needed to get home. It was probably around 8:45 then. I dropped Nicole off. When I got home I found this "craft" kitty. It was a potppori (spelling?) kitty that Missy had made. She gave it to Nicole the night before but Nicole forgot it. Missy told Nicole that that was the last "free" kitty she was going to give away. I took the kitty and inspected it some more. I already had one but these were the cutest thing. Missy was planning on teaching me how to make them later that week. We just needed to buy more stuff. SHe always made fun of me becaue I was craft handicapped. I thought about how nice the kitty was and how proud I was of Missy. I decided that when she got home that I would tell her just how proud of her I was. Right after I thought that, the phone rang. It was a nurse at the ER asking me for my mom. I told her she was at work and gave her the number. The nurse told me Missy had been in an accident. I thought for one minute that it was 10 pm and late and I wasn't going to go to the hospital. Missy was in an accident the year before and she was fine then. I thought she would be fine again. But for some reason I thought, "Nah, I'll go and support her. She is probably really upset." So I went and as I drove, I started to feel more panic inside. Like something was really wrong. Then I thought to myself I was being a drama queen!
You see Missy had been working at the local deli and afterwards left with her boyfriend Jimmy to go to his house. As he drove, he blacked out from too much insulin he had taken early. He didn't eat much to balance out the dose he gave himself. They hit a car head on. EMT's said Missy's body was leaned over towards the driver seat. SHe didn't have a seatbelt on, but they weren't sure if she had taken it off to get control of the car just before impact. There is too much that isn't known!
When I got to the ER my mom was at the counter crying with her friend from work, Rita. No one has really told her much at that point and they wouldn't let my mom see Missy. I started to freak myself inside. Not on the outside like my mom, but inside I was freaking out. A nurse took my mom and me to a private room with security. I thought to myself, "Shit, this is bad!" The nurse tried to explain what was going on. Really the doctor should've been doing that. But it was the nurse trying to. My mom and Iwere sitting as the nurse told us that my sisters neck was broken and that she had a lot of internal injuries and that she couldn't breath without a vent etc. I can't remember it all exactly. How easy it is to talk to someone in shock (me) and someone who was hysterical. I just knew what she was trying to get at. And I remember looking at my mom who was just screaming not hearing anything the nurse was saying anymore. My mom was doubled over. The nurse was trying to ask us if we wanted to keep her on life support or take her off because there wasn't much they could do and that she was basically dead. She had been without oxygen for about 20 minutes as EMT's tried to cut her out of the car. They got her heart working again, but because where her neck was broke, she could never breath on her own and she would never wake up. They were trying to ask us if we wanted her to be an organ donor. But all my mom could do was scream and I sat there in shock. We wanted to see her. So they took us to see her. As we crossed the hallway to see her, my dad was being let in. My mom's friend Rita and I were holding my mom up to walk as we crossed the hall when my dad saw us and I saw him. I had been crying. He took one look at my face and turned around and walked right out because I guess the look on my face said it all for him. He knew just by looking at me and seeing that my mom couldn't walk that it was really bad.
We got to the room with Missy in it. She had a neck brace on and breathing tube coming out of her mouth. Her clothes had been cut away. I asked the nurse for a priest right away. My mom couldn't go near her. She sat in a corner screaming as Rita tried to hold her. I sat next to Missy. Her hair had been braided on either side just like I last saw it on the back porch. There was blood coming from her ears, her nose, her mouth. Her lips were swollen where they had tied the tube in her mouth. She had blood in her hair and a gash on her chin. (Her chin hit the dashboard which was what broke her neck) She had a warming blanket on her because they couldn't keep her temp up.
My dad came back in the room and was weird. Zombie like almost saying things I can't remember, but just that they were weird. I told the nurse we wanted to donate her organs and had to explain to my mom that was the only choice right now. My mom didn't understand much of anything at this time. So I made her sign for it and I signed for everything else. I sat with my sister stroking her face and her hair talking to her, telling her how much we loved her as we waited for the priest to come. No one could get a hold of my sister Christy to tell her. We kept trying. I called Will, by now it was midnight or 11pm I think. I was screaming on the phone saying that she was dead. Finally I got the story out and Will met me at my parents. As I walked through the ER I saw Missy and Jim's friend Doug in a room through glass in the door. He was with 2 people I've never seen before. I walked in and addressed Doug. I told Doug what happened. The 2 people in the room started crying.. the woman was sobbing so hard and the man next to her was holding her. It was Jim's parents. I sat on Dougs lap as we cried together.

The Life Flight helicopter came and took Missy to Metro where they would take her organs. We went home and started to call people. But once we got home, Metro called and said they couldn't declare her dead. For a minute we had hope. But it turned out because they couldn't declare her brain dead, we had to go and sign more papers. It was now 12:30am. Will was there. My dad found my sister and her friend Teresa. We went to Metro together taking 3 seperate cars. Christy wanted to see her. As did I one more time. My parents signed the papers and they let us sit with her. They couldn't take all of her organs because she had been down and cold too long. They couldn't heat her body right. So they turned up the morphine and we sat with her as her heart rate slowed to zero. Up to that point I had been the cool smart one.When that number hit zero, I ran out of the room screaming into Will's arms. I couldn't take it. I couldn't do anything to protect my little sister. By then it was around 4:30am, Sept. 24th. . We left to take the hour drive home, but I couldn't sleep once I got there. 7am is when Perry started high school then. I thought I should go to the school and talk to the office in person. On the way to the school I drove past Missy's oldest friends house, Tiffany. I saw her mom Holly out front and decided to stop. Holly seemed surprise to see me. I was alone. I got out of the car and I think she knew something was wrong. I told her Missy had died a few hours earlier and that I was going to the school to talk to the office. They had Tiffany come out and we told her. She started to scream not believing it. Holly decided to go with me to the school to talk to the principal. She was upset. They had lived down the street from us all our lives and knew Missy and us well.
I talked to Mr. Sater the Vice Principal when I got there and told him what happened. Tiffany went too and found her friends right away and told them all. While I was in his office, kids, started pouring into the office area, crying and screaming. They wanted to go home, they were calling their parents. Some of them wanted to be by me. Many of her classmates saw me there and I held them and comforted them. It was helping me a bit too. I left a little while later to get home to find already 20 some kids at our house. We were tired, but we didn't mind the company at all. We started getting phone calls to our house. Newspaper and a newscrew came by. My sister-in-law was there. I had forget that we never called my brother that night. My dad told him that morning while I was gone and my brother took off. No one knew where he was. He later told us he went to a park and cried and smoked a joint. We were getting a lot of calls. One of them was Jim, my ex, calling to apologize for how he behaved towards me the night before and to explain why. I told him Missy died and that I forgave him. He was so quiet. He called back a few mintues later wanting to know what he could do and when services were.
My mom's friend Philomena came over with Ativan from the doctor for my mom. She wanted us to take it that night, but I couldn't. I had to keep going. We went to the funeral home and made arrangements. My mom's friends bought the cemetery plot. I picked out her clothes that she would wear.
The thing about the accident was that Missy was with her boyfriend. He had (has) diabetes. He blacked out behind the wheel. He was still at the hosptial. Me and Christy decided to go up to the hospital because we knew that someone would tell him. We needed to see him, to know what happened. Christy and I got there with Will. We walked in the room and Jim was crying. His dad was in there crying too. They had just told him a little before we got there that Missy died. So we sat on his bed and the 3 of us held each other and cried. It has been hard on us and was hard on us, but I honestly couldn't imagine being in his shoes knowing his actions lead to someone dying even if it was an accident. We know he didn't do it on purpose. . How hard it must be for him! We didn't want him to feel abandoned. One could never imagine the pain he must feel. Our pain is great, but he has guilt on top of it.
The next day it was in the paper with her picture. It was on the news later that night. Missy's Jimmy was let go from the hosptial and stayed with us that evening to watch the news report. Nicole, Chad and Brian were there. I was surprised that Brian was there. We really weren't' friends. I think he was there more for Nicole and Chad's support as they tried to support me. My mom looked horrible in the interview on the news and of course they took things out of text as they always do. My grandmother arrived to make it more difficult. She was focused on all these dumb things and I ended up going off on her on many occassions that week. Again I stayed up and tried to put together things for the funeral. My mom wasn't functioning at all. So for the 2nd night in a row I didn't sleep. Around midnight a knock came at the door and my friend Tom came and sat with me a bit while I went through pictures to use for her funeral. The next day seemed like work as flowers and food and well wishers came by. Again we didn't mind this. It helped that we were feeling an overflow of love during this time. I spent a lot of time trying to run around to get everything. I realized that it had to be the most beautiful several days. ANd every year since it has been beautiful. That is why brian and I got married that same day she died 8 years later. Not to just honor her, but because we knew it would be beautiful.
We got to the funeral home for calling hours around 1pm. We wanted an hour with her before others came. When we saw her, she looked so bad that I didn't want my mom to see, but she did. We decided that we had to close her casket so her friends wouldn't see. It just didn’t look like her. Jim, my ex, arrived to be there for me. He held me in his arms for quite a while. With Will looking on I didn't care, I whispered to Jim that I still loved him and I need him to know that incase I never got to tell him again. The tumor scare I had and losing Missy made me realize how important it is to tells those we love how we feel. I had been wanting to tell him for almost 2 years and I didn't. He told me he still loved me. He stayed around as much as he could for me. I knew it was over for me and Will, but I couldn't stand breaking up with someone quite yet. I even thought it would make our relationship stronger. But it didn't! It fell apart. Will was in pain remembering his mother dying. I thought he would understand me better than anyone, but he didn't. He has always suppressed his feelings. I think he thought I should do the same. Jim, I think tried to help me by distracting me a bit. He and Missy had a hard history that only a few weeks before she died she told me that she really had liked him. She always thought that he was too arrogant! He did act that way at times, but to people he didnt know. He has a huge heart of gold once you get to know him! He is an amazing guy! I got so confused at this time because as much as I cared for Will, I still loved Jim. And to add to the confusion, Brian came into my life, being this really great friend and support I needed. Within a 2 weeks period I left Will because Jim had kissed me one night. I stopped him only because I didn't want to cheat on Will and have Jim think that I would do the same to him. I think Jim misunderstood why I stopped him because he left quickly after that. I broke up with Will that night in hopes that that kiss meant Jim wanted me back. But Jim never called. And I'm not sure why I never called him. My sister and at this point,grandmother just died. I was so confused with everything. I didn't hear from Jim for 2 weeks and during that time Brian showed his interest in me. Brian was being so incredible by helping me keep up in school and seeing that we all were doing things together to get me by this. It was easy to have feelings for him more than a friend. Even if I still wanted Jim. I ended up with Brian. I thought that Jim wasn't ready for all that I wanted to share with him yet anyway. I thought we were still too young and he probably still wasn't ready to settle down with me for the rest of my life, which is what I wanted with him. Jim was an amazing guy to me. Not my first boyfriend, but the first person I ever really loved and who taught me what love really was. I never thought that Brian and I would last so long. I did think at some point I would still end up with Jim, but Brian and I ended up with this incredible bond that has only gotten stronger over time. Which is why I ended up marrying him. He was my best friend. He is my best friend! ANd I adore him so much. As much as I had loved Jim, I think I ended up with the person that was best for me.
I felt after time that this was God's way of maybe making up for taking my sister, by not giving me what I had wanted, but giving me the person I would need in my life. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to get married on the anniversary of when Missy died. I felt that Brian was a gift to me to help me deal with her loss. I've gotten so much happiness and have lived so much life with him. He helped me do the things I have wanted to accomplish before I die myself.

Anyway, the funeral home was packed full of people. It meant so much to us. During the evening I took a break and went outside. I saw Missy's friend Mike, sitting on the ground in the parking lot crying. I sat on the ground with him and held him and craddled him, rocking him back and forth. He had a hard time with Missy dying. He had a hard time with other things in his life and 6 months after Missy died, he killed himself. He was a really sweet kid. Missy had touched so many people, and it meant so much to see that love she gave being shown back to us through the community.
The day of her funeral was so beautiful. The most beautiful warm day ever I think. At the church I gave a euology. It was hard, but I focused on her casket and my love for her. I saw Jim sitting with Robert, my mom's boyfriend and I pulled strength from seeing him there. I loved my sister and this was my last way to show it to her and the world. I planned the whole ceremony. 2 of Missy's friends read a poem at her funeral. It was hard knowing that soon, this was the end of it all.
We left the church to go to the cemetery and the Perry Police Department lead the way for us. THey all knew her. She worked in the local deli. They all knew us as well. It was a touching processional. As my sisters friends placed flowers on her coffin to say good bye, I stood and watched. I couldn't cry anymore. Jim was standing next to me. Then right in front of me, the funeral director walked in front of me and tripped over the corner of the railing that was holding my sister's casket. I started to giggle because I felt like that was her way of saying goodbye. Something to make eveyone laugh. Which is always what she loved to do, make people laugh. Her friends looked at me I think to lead, because they were shocked, then they saw me laughing and they knew it was alright to giggle too! I started to cry while laughing, but it was something I needed.
That wasn't it though. That night, me, Dana, Alessa, Will, Jim, Christy and her boyfriend at the time (I don't even know that guys name) went to Friday's. Then at 11pm we all went up to the cemetery. Missy's funeral was the day of Perry's homecoming. Her friends didn't want her to spend the first night in the cemetery alone, so after the dance, I would say a good 100 kids went to the cemetery. So did me and everyone who went to eat with us at Friday's. It meant so much to see how her friends loved it and it touched us that they didn't want her to be alone that night, buried in the ground. Jim, tried to cast his head lights over te grave by turning his car to face it and accidentally ran over top of a grave! There was no damage to it, his car was just over it. But it made me laugh. Missy's boyfriend Jimmy was there too with his friends and his brothers and sisters. Over the next few weeks, people were stopping over and checking on us.
I had a good support with Will, but not what I really needed. I had Nicole, Chad, Dana, Jim and Brian and other good friends. My family tried to support Missy's boyfriend Jim the best we could. But the lawsuit got in the way of that relationship. I wish it didn't have to. You know it is hard to get over the loss of someone you love no matter how much time goes by or how well you deal with it. The pain never goes away and some people can be insensitive and just not understand that. People have said, "Why don't you just get over it? It was a long time ago! " Tell me how would they or even you feel if someone was ripped from your life without warning. You don't really get to say good bye or say all the things you wanted to say to them. I was lucky because I did get to tell Missy what she meant to me the night before the accident when we were standing in the kitchen wtih my friend Nicole. Nicole I know remembers the conversation. What if you don't get to say those things? What if your last images of someone is how I described Missy laying in the hospital room? What if it was like my brother's last images of someone lying in a coffin that doesn't even look like your sister? It's a pain no one can describe unless you go through it yourself. It's sad to think other people have gone through what I have.
I feel her with me at times. But that isn't enough. I miss her so much! I know I'm suppose to take comfort in the idea that she is watching over me, but that doesn't always help. I want her here! Selfish I know. God wants her with him. How unfair to me though. I just wish I could've gotten more time with her. She was my best friend , not just my sister. I love you missy!