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Gone in the Night

I need to interrupt my "story" due to circumstances that, while predictable, I couldn't have predicted. We're all in West Virginia now, having arrived on the earliest flight we could get and landing yesterday afternoon. Rita passed away Friday night at two minutes before ten.

When Eric spoke to his father on Thursday, Ronnie told him that Rita was "worse," but neither Eric nor I knew just how much worse she was. Apparently, though, it still took everybody by surprise; Eric's aunt said that when she visited on Thursday, Rita was supervising the wrapping of Christmas presents and seemed to be as well as could be expected. By Friday morning, though, she had slipped into an unrousable state, breathing very slowly, and they called hospice.

I had just brought the boys home from the playgroup Christmas party, and Sam was playing outside in the snow when my sister-in-law called. "Oh, hi!" I said. "I was going to call you about Christmas!"

"Carrie, you need to get Eric home, and then tell him that Rita is probably going to pass in the next couple of hours."

I was stunned, and I started to cry. Linda wanted me to make up something to get Eric home safely before delivering the news to him, but I knew that nothing I could say would get Eric home, short of the truth. I also knew that he would be very angry if I tried to "handle" him. I tried to compose myself, paged Eric (I had been on the cell phone with him when Linda called the land line, so I knew he'd be wary that I was calling him back so soon, anyway), and told him. He was equally stunned, and immediately jumped into action with his company's travel department to try to get us there as quickly as possible. I started packing.

After struggling to get us on a plane that night, though, and running low on options, Eric's brother told him he might as well just come in the morning; we weren't going to make it in time, no matter what.

I was sleeping when we got the call later that night to tell us she was gone. She just drifted away, stopped breathing, and left her body without a struggle. It was fast and peaceful, the way we were had all hoped it would be.

Eric is handling it too well right now. It hasn't "hit him" yet, and it probably won't until tonight, when we have her viewing and he sees her. We've all cried, but it hasn't sunk in that she's gone.

Sam understands what's happening on a sort of unilateral way. "My grandma is already dead," he informed everybody in the car on the way from the airport. "She's in heaven with Jesus. I miss her, but when Daddy and I die, we'll go to heaven and see her again!" He keeps trying to tell Eric not to be sad; that's the part that's bothering him the most, I think. We're planning for him to attend a small part of the viewing, but we're not sure about the funeral itself. Linda's leaving Hailey with a sitter for the funeral, and Gabe will stay there, too, but I wonder whether the prayers would actually comfort Sam, who's been working so hard to process this for a very long time.

I'll update as I can. The hotel we're using has internet access in the room, so I'll try to keep up. It's a hard, hard thing, though. She's been dying for so long, but now that it's finally happened, we're all floundering to figure out what comes next. The house has been inundated with food, which seems to be making Ronnie feel a little uncomfortable, as he's handling it in a very private way.

If you pray, please send a few in the direction of this family. Light candles, think comforting thoughts, keep us all in your hearts. Tonight, especially, will be a tough time for everybody, and I only wish I knew how to ease their pain - my pain - everybody's pain.

previous one year ago:
Today he found the book with the map of the United States, and he's been running through the states and asking bizarre questions. "Is Daddy Texas? Is Texas blue?"
two years ago:
Whine, whine, whine. Get over it, Carrie; nobody wants to hear the teacher complain about the tests.
three years ago:
Oh, no, it first bent, and then in sprang upward and jammed itself deep into the meaty pad of my right index finger before detaching itself in a long rip downward through my flesh.
four years ago:
There's something very wrong when he dreads going to work in the morning because it will mean starting the car, and he's terrified that the engine will either not start or make horrid noises if it does.
five years ago:
The library sent me to a Mock Caldecott panel, and I got to participate in a limited version of what the actual Caldecott panel will do in January.
six years ago:
I used to be one of the most insatiable green-eyed monsters on the planet.
In the ears:
Christmas carols

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam

Extra Gabe

On hold until we get back


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