I had been told just over 2 weeks ago that she had end-stage liver disease (a result of her alcoholism, but not an important fact at the moment.) I had originally been told "up to a year", but her deterioration was so rapid. Every day something else new was wrong. Every day she lost another capability. "Up to a year" became "a few months", then 2 days ago "a few months" became "a few days, maybe a week".
This morning I was at her bedside at her apartment. I had just relieved her roommate/best friend at 7:30 so she could get some sleep. I gave her her meds (only pain killers and sedatives at this stage) at 8, talked to her awhile (no idea if she could hear or comprehend anything I said. By this point she could not move on her own--was only breathing erratically and opening and closing her eyes (which were often rolled up in her head). One of the things I told her was that it was ok to let go. She didn't need to suffer, just let go and be at peace. I soon noticed longer pauses between her breaths, then around 8:35 they stopped altogether. I woke her roommate, who immediately checked for a pulse--there was none. The DNR stated no CPR, although her roommate was trained in it. We told her we loved her, kissed her, touched her, held each other and cried, then called hospice.
I found out later that not only her roommate, but several of her friends had also told her it was ok to go, to die. Maybe she was waiting to hear it from me, I don't know. I know she died peacefully, her mom at her side, and her best friend with her immediately. There had been so many visitors in the past few days. My daughter always said she didn't have many friends, but the number of people who came to be with her at the end, she sat at her bedside and told her how much they loved her, who told me so many stories of how good, and giving, and sweet and caring she was--there were so many.
I had told her several times in the weeks before her death that the most important thing to me, as a parent, was that my children be good people. And that she hadn't failed me, although I know she always thought she did. And that through all the frustration and aggravation she put me through over the years I was so proud of her. For she was a truly good person.
I can't begin to think about the many ways I will miss her. All the times I will think of her I started thinking about that shortly after her terminal diagnosis and the pain was far too intense--I needed to function for her, so I suppressed it. I know that soon, maybe not until all the preparations have been made, until she is laid to rest, it will hit me like a tidal wave. I fear that, but she deserves that. She knows me well enough to know this will be devastating to me. But I assured her that it will, it will be the worst thing to ever happen in my life, but I will survive it. And carry her in my heart, my mind and my soul everyday of the rest of my life.
Leslie, I love you so very much.
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