Saturday, March 24, 2007

1 year today

1 year ago today life as we know it ended.
1 year ago today my heart broke into pieces never to be whole again.
1 year ago today my son became an only child again.
1 year ago today my baby became an angel.
1 year ago today my little angel went to heaven.
1 year ago today.

What else can I say about that Friday? It was a scary day. Kendra's temperature started fluctuating madly around lunchtime I think. Then it dropped and she became very cold. They used this blanket on her which had hot air pumped into it to keep her warm. It was attached by a great big pipe to a machine that looked like a vacuum cleaner which made a bit of a racket and pumped hot air in. She was still moaning all the time. At one point and I still see this in my mind all the time, she opened her eyes and looked straight at me for a few minutes and I could see so much pain in those eyes. When I remember that look I can actually sit back and think that I am glad that she does not have to suffer any more. Such pain.

At about 5pm she seemed to be doing a bit better. Her temperature had stabilised a bit so I went and had some tea in the canteen with a friend. Then the doctor came and told me that she thought she was improving and that she was happy with her condition. They had finally pinpointed what they thought she had and the treatment she was getting was correct for what she had. It is called Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome and is apparently very rare in SA as it is more commonly found in the UK. Go figure! Trust Kendra to have another rare syndrome! We could probably beat ourselves up about where she may have contracted this bacteria but what would be the point. What's done is done and we will never know. Just as I could say it was my fault for taking her to Branston's carnival the week before in the cold wind and stayed much longer than I should have. That type of thing is pointless.

Anyway, the doctor left, happy that she would not worry over the weekend as she was happy with Kendra's progress. Little did she know. At about 6pm one of the nurses turned Kendra over into a different position and she seemed to be much happier. She stopped moaning and actually seemed to be peaceful for the first time all day. This is why I decided to quickly go home and have supper with Gathry and Branston. Poor Branston needed a bit of attention. So I went home and Gathry picked Branston up from school and went to KFC to get some food. I phoned my mom to update her and while I was on the phone with her my cellphone rang. It was the hospital. I will never forget that nurse/sister. Obviously she was stressed but she just made as if how could I not be in the hospital? 'Where are you? You have to come back right now. Your baby has taken a turn for the worse'. So I said goodbye to my mom (heaven only knows what she must have been thinking) , phoned Gathry (he had not ordered food yet) and rushed off to the hospital. I put on my hazards and went through a red robot to get there.

Gathry and Branston were already there when I got there but they could not go into ICU because of Branston. I went in but halfway across a nurse turned me around and took me out again saying that the doctor and trauma team were busy with her. They took us to a waiting room, then friends came and fetched Branston and it was just the 2 of us, waiting. That is the worst wait you can possibly have, when you know in your heart that the news is going to be bad but just hope against all hope that it will be ok. Well, it was not ok. After what seemed like a lifetime, the doctor arrived and said 'I have some bad news for you'. I just looked at him. I think I was thinking it must just be that she worsened or something, she can't possibly be dead! It is impossible. Not my baby. He then said that she had thrown up blood and then her heart stopped and they tried to resuscitate her for about 40 minutes. Then it started to sink in. She really was dead. We were in the waiting room for a while longer, I can't remember what else was said. Then I said 'I want to see my baby' and a nurse came and her and the doctor took us through. I still remember everyone staring at us because it was visiting hour and of course we were in a state. I feel sorry for the other people in ICU actually. It could not have been pleasant for them, but then ICU is not pleasant is it?

Kendra was in a little room at the end of the ICU ward with glass walls so you could see in and hear everything. They had curtained it off but did not close the door. My little baby was lying there on the bed, still with some tubes in her. The doctor removed them, I don't know why they did not take them all out when they cleaned her up before we came in. I sat holding her in that armchair for a long while. She looked so peaceful.

We phoned my sister and she came over. I asked her to phone my mom. Gathry phoned his parents. His dad was, by coincidence, in hospital in PE for a minor op. Then he had to convince his mom not to come down to CT until his dad was out of hospital. The nurses cam and asked us if we had a funeral home to call. Of all the stupid things! Like we normally keep the name and number of our chosen funeral home in our wallets or something. So they gave us a few options and we chose one in Bellville as there apparently wasn't one in our area (found out later that there was). They said that the funeral home would fetch her immediately, do we want to wait until they get there. Well, I certainly did not want to see them take my baby away. So eventually we left. Breaking the news to Branston later was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. How do you tell a child that his beloved sister is not coming home?

It is amazing how the feelings of those months afterwards have come flooding back this week. I never realized how much better I have been feeling this year until those same old feelings came flooding back. And physically how it has hit me. I have been feeling weak, nauseous and tired all week. Maybe the stress of weddings and new cars had something to do with it too. But I think writing it all down has helped. Does it make a difference that other people are reading this? Would it be better to do it all in a private journal? I don't know. I think sharing is good, it's cathartic. Later today we are going to the memorial park and then we are having some friends over to watch world cup cricket (SA vs Australia, big game today). It might seem strange but I think we need to have something to take our minds off the day for a bit. Thank you for reading.


Anonymous said...

Dear V
Been thinking of you and your family all week.
much love to you all.

Catherine said...

Love and peace to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. Reading the blog the last few days feels like it happened the other day. I'm glad you are sharing with us what happened that day even if it brought back a lot of old feelings it has been easier than wanting to ask you. Our thoughts are with you on this day and always. Joanne, Peter and the girls

Anonymous said...

Dearest Kendra, Vanessa, Gathry and Branston
How selfish we are - those of us that have not experienced the heartache and loss of loosing a loved one so young. V, I admire your strength - your writings has made me experience your pain and suffering first hand. May God bring you peace over this difficult time. Your family deserves happiness and love and the bonding familiarity of togetherness. Kendra's passing is so sad, yet she is still very much a part of the family. She will live in our memories forever.
A big hug to each of you. Love Y

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog through Tertia's. Your post on the anniversary of Kendra's death is just heartbreaking. I'm so sorry for you and your family. I hope getting all down on paper helped. I think the first anniversary is probably the hardest one. I hope the coming days are a little bit easier.

Anonymous said...

Hi VM,
A year away, and hopefully writing this down has helped you. Good luck for all the next anniversaries, we are thinking of you.
Tony, Kirsten and Carl

suzanne said...

I am so sorry. Thinking of you and your family as well as your beautiful girl.

Tertia said...

oh my dear friend, i am so sorry. no one should ever have to go through the loss of a child. everything about it is just wrong wrong wrong. so wrong.

I can't believe its been a year, it feels like yesterday.

my heart is aching for you.

sweet baby girl, wish it was different. wish you were here.


Rosepetal said...

Vannessa, I'm so sorry. Thinking of you and your family.

Anonymous said...

No-one should have to go through what you went through. No-one, ever. I am so sorry.

Sweet Kendra will live on through your writing, and in your memories. Sweet, gorgeous girl.

louann said...

Allow me to offer you a hug. I have been reading your blog (came across it thru Tertia) and I am sorry I never left a comment before.
This post is heartbreaking. I admire the strength you have to relive this very sad experience.
Your precious little girl is in heaven. In heaven there is no pain. In heaven there are no tears.

Lucy said...

23/04 - Vannessa, I'm sure you're already working on a post for today but I thought I would leave a birthday message for Kendra in the meantime.
Happy Birthday to Kendra! I'm sure she is dancing with the Angels and having a wonderful party while she watches over you.
Thinking of you,Gathry & Branston and sending big hugs, Lucy, Mike & Jordan XX

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