Saturday, January 7, 2012

A new day begins

Yesterday my brother sent out an email with a picture of him and Beth.He had been inundated with texts, phone calls, emails. It was an easy and fast way for him to let all those who were hanging on to hope to know that it was over. The email said "today at 10 AM I said goodbye to my wife." A short statement, but one packed with a lifetime of memories, and fresh, raw painful emotions. After four days of almost continuously being at her bedside, it was time for him to step away, to let her go, to pick up and go on. We stayed with him, but he insisted we all go in and say our goodbyes, and that he would be last. There would be no disconnecting of anything because she would be going up to the OR for the harvesting of her organs. We declined to come back later that evening to see her again when all the tubes would be gone, and her body would be lifeless and still. The neurologists had declared her brain dead, and that is officially legal enough for the death certificate even though her heart was still beating. She probably had left us long before, but there always has to be an offical time listed.

We left the hospital on a bright, sunny day. The world outside of the University of Pennyslvania hospital was bustling. The world was going on, even though ours had just come to a grinding halt. Last night friends and family went over to Ed and Beth's bringing food....lots of food. Sandwich trays for at least a hundred people. People want to do something, and the most obvious thing is to feed you. It's ironic how food is the center of everything. We sat around the house for hours. Friends dropped by, there was laughter, tears, and lot of memories talked about. It was joyous and painful all at the same time. The kids are devastated, and this was the hardest part watching them crying, and seeing them wondering how their world is going to be now without the woman who was the center of their lives. Oh how Beth would have never wanted this to happen to them, would have never wanted them to feel this kind of pain. She was a protective mother, and a devoted mother. She cherished her role as a mother and she loved it. She tried to protect them from hurt, and all the bad things of the world. Sadly, she is not here to protect them now, and her absence is the source of all their pain. A sad reality, but a true one.Life has dealt them a bad hand to play.

I think the funeral will be Wednesday. The weather has turned warmer here and it's sunny and beautiful today. She would have loved this type of day. I started to think about what to wear for the funeral. When you are not at the weight you want to be, I find that any social circumstance can cause a panic as to what to wear. I'm not at all panicked. I would go in my sweats. I don't care. But I know there is a protocol, so to my closet I go. Please God, let there be something black and funeral like. I don't have the energy to shop. So I find the dress, tags still on in my closet. I had bought it awhile back from a website that was offering it at a discount. A very steep discount. I think it was from Gilt. I bought it because it looked like the kind of dress everyone should have in their closet. Perfect for business, casual....even funerals. But when I bought it, it didn't fit. It should have. It was the right size. But to send it back would have cost half of what the dress cost. So I kept it.

This morning I put it on. It zipped right up. I don't love it, but it looks nice. Black, simple, but perfect for a funeral. I felt happy that it fit, and happy that I don't have to go shopping. I really don't want to go shopping right now. So unless something changes, I know what I am going to wear on Wednesday.
Even in these sad circumstances, this pleased me, because I am trying to eat the right way, and another stress is not what I need right now. I don't want to try on fifty things to see what zips, what looks okay, or what won't make me look like a stuffed sausage. I thought to myself, in good times or bad, there is always that stress. What do I wear, does it fit, do I look okay? I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I'm closer than I was. So one less thing for me to think about right now.

So now I am putting together photos, and planning to go over later and help me brother plan to lay his wife to rest. He is cremating her as that is what she wanted. And this summer we are going to scatter her ashes on a beautiful summer evening on the beach that she so loved. This makes it so much easier than picking out a casket, and cemetary plot, and tombstone. Anything to make it easier for him is a blessing.

Again, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kind words of support and comfort. I would sit in that waiting room and look at  the emails on my phone and read something from one of you, and my heart just swelled with love and comfort. Those little posts kept me going because you all had no reason to care or cry along with me, but you did it out of the goodness inside of you. So many people, so much goodness coming to us. It helps.  God bless you all, and God bless Beth.


  1. Hugs, Pattie...Hugs, hugs, hugs. I'm so glad you don't have to go shopping at a time like this. What a blessing that the dress you bought some time ago fits you at this moment.


  2. Im still speechless and just dont know what to say. You are in my thoughts. YOu are all in my prayers. Wrapping you in lots & lots of hugs! Be strong. What an immeasurable loss.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. She was so young:( I can only share that my Dad passed away at just 49. I was 23 years young. I made so many bargains with God for Him not to take him. Not one of them worked. I am sure your family went through the same emotions and feelings. Just one more chance.
    I pray that you have the strength and courage to get through this time. I pray that you take care of yourself so you can help those around you too.
    I can tell you that I talked at my Dad's funeral and it felt amazing. I was honoring someone that I loved so much. I will also always know that I had the last word! My Dad was a student teacher supervisor and had touched many young lives. It was a huge funeral. I often wonder what could have been.
    Bless you and your family Pattie.
    Hugs and prayers.

  4. What a blessing that you had something that would fit! I remember feeling the same way when it was time to say goodbye to Grandma, earlier this year. Picking out clothes to wear? Really? It felt so unimportant. So that you had something nice to wear without a lot of thought to put into it is really nice.

    I am so close to crying, Pattie. I hear my kids playing in the other room and it breaks my heart that there are kiddos out there without their mommy right now....

  5. Continuing to send you love and prayers Pattie.

  6. I bet Beth made sure that the dress fits you! It's her secret little hug to you :) Don't ever forget that she is still with you and smiling down on you and her precious husband and children. Her story hit me hard and I told my husband about her and about how young she was! You are so right when you say to treat everyone like it is their last day! Please give those beautiful children a tight squeeze from me! It's hard enough as adults to come to terms with death, but atleast adults realize that she's in a place where there is no pain and a place that's filled with beauty, love and happiness! Beth may not be with you physically, but she's doing all of the things she loves to do most up in heaven!
    Big hugs to you Pattie!

  7. Dear Pattie,
    I am stunned at this new turn of events. Please know that you and your families are in my thoughts and prayers. I'm believing that God will comfort you all in the days, weeks and months ahead. I just lost my brother in March and I know what this feels like. I'm so sorry for all of your losses. Love, Alice

  8. Oh Pattie, my heart hurts for you and your family. What an unexpected thing for everyone. I'm glad you have a dress that fits and you have lost weigth since you bought it. Big hugs to you.

  9. Tender mercies...
    good friends/neighbors and a dress that zipped right up.
    I send my friendship and support as well.Take care Pattie.
    With Affection,

  10. ((((hugs)))) to you. I can't imagine what your family is going thru. I'm sure as a mother more that anything else she wanted to spare them this pain. I pray for God's peace for you and your family.

    Glad your dress fits. It's nice to have a positive among all of the negative.

    My heart aches for you. So sorry for your loss.


  11. God Bless you and your family Pattie. I know that it's difficult, if not impossible to understand why good people that we love get taken away so young and so abruptly. I too would like to believe that her life here was finished and her organs are going to other "angels" here on earth who will carry on for her through their own lives and contacts with others. I thought long and hard about what you'd said, "If you had only known two short weeks ago that this was to be your last Christmas with sweet Beth, what would you have done or said differently?" I want for you to know that through your blog and the sad death of Beth, I've re-evaluated some things in my own life and plan on thinking and doing things differently because none of us ever know when today could be our day. I am so very, very sorry for your great loss. I continue to lift you and your family up in prayer. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I feel like God has spoken to all of us through you.
    With Big Hugs and much love,
    Linda in Western NC

  12. Pattie, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I feel bad that I have not been in touch with everyone over the past few weeks to be able to give you some support. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I know the pain that you feel from losing a loved one. I have lost both of my parents and my brother. I pray that her children are comforted by Gods grace.

  13. Pattie, hoping the next few days go as peacefully for you as possible. Glad the dress fit but also feel maybe shopping might have been a needed distraction from all the sorrow. Hate that this had to happen to your family, but am also happy that you had such a wonderful relationship with your sister-in-law. That is a gift not all of us have experienced. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  14. I am so sorry for your loss, I will keep your family in my prayers. Mary B

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how devastating this is. My brother and I lost our mother when we were teenagers. Unfortunately the pain never goes away, you simply learn to live with it. My best friend's mother and a couple of great aunts have helped fill the void. Beth is irreplaceable but remember that those children will need a strong and loving woman in their life. I know that you will be invaluble to your niece and nephew. Thinking of you.

  16. Pattie, I got your message. Thank you for taking some of your treasured time to to say hi. Thank you for opening your heart to us and allowing us to support you during such a personal and difficult time.


  17. Dear Pattie,

    thank you for sharing your love for Beth with us and the pain of her loss. Just as Linda in Western NC, I too am evaluating life from a different perspective. I understand what it feels like when life changes so dramatically but the world keeps turning.

    As you get ready for the funeral, I wanted you to know that I will be thinking of you - sending you strength and courage.

    Big hugs, Marion