May 15, 2019
This time last year Aily and I were shopping for decorations for my dad’s birthday (which is tomorrow). We went to the dollar store to get lots of silly stupid decorations to put up around the house for him. Ailish had suffered a severe GI bleed at the end of March last year and was in the hospital until the 2nd week of April. We thought we had cheated death and that we had a lot more time. Little did we know, time was not on our side.
When Ailish was hospitalized at the end of March with the GI bleed, we really thought it was the end. For the first time she cried to my parents and told them how scared she was, how she wasn’t ready to die. She went into the hospital on oxygen and was wheel chair bound due to lack of energy and ability to breathe on her own. She received two blood transfusions and a stent to open up the bottom of her stomach so the food could pass through to her intestines. She walked out of the hospital on her own two feet and was off the oxygen, which she had been on since February due to pneumonia and blood clots. She asked me, do you think I have a lot more time? Regretfully now, I said, “Yes, God wouldn’t have let you survive this, only to let you die soon.” Boy would I eat those words a million times over. Since she had gotten out of the hospital, she would wake me up early every morning, telling me of things she wanted to eat, places she wanted to go, things she wanted to buy. She would wake me up super early, 6 or 7 am as her brain was constantly trying to come up with new exciting things to do. You couldn’t shut her up. May 15th 2018 was no different. We woke up early discussing upcoming trips, places we wanted to eat, and things she wanted to buy. We went about our day thinking we had so much more time together, so much more to do and see. I didn’t see it coming, no one did.
May 16, 2018, we woke up and Ailish was strangely quiet, not saying much at all, not making much eye contact with anyone, seemed like she was just really tired. No biggie, I thought, she had chemo the weekend prior, so maybe it was a delayed reaction. My brother and I spent the day putting together a gazebo Ailish and my Dad had purchased so we could enjoy the upcoming summer outdoors. Ailish was still very quiet, almost reflective that day, not saying much to anyone. I think we all chalked it up to the chemo catching up to her. I cooked dinner and made dessert and even my dad noticed how quiet she was. Aside from that, nothing else seemed that off. She had been forgetful of some words, but it wasn’t much different than her normal chemo brain. We went to bed and just assumed things would resume to normal eventually. It was the next morning I awoke to a very quiet Ailish and thought, wow yesterday was just weird, not normal, compared to how she was after her last hospital discharge. We were watching a tv show and then I left to run errands with my brother. I came back and asked her what happened in the show, and she couldn’t verbalize a sentence. I knew then something was off. I started to point to things around the room, like a chair, or candle, or her cellphone, and she could not tell me what anything was. I knew she knew what it was, but she could not get the words out. I immediately called her oncology team and told them what was going on. They told us to get to the hospital to get MRI’s and CT scans to see what was going on. I thought it was the cancer spreading, but we later found out that she had 11 strokes, 10 small ones and 1 large stroke. Another hospital stay was in our future, but I thought, maybe we can beat this, we beat the GI bleed, she is such a fucking warrior, she’s got this.
After a week stay in the hospital on heavy blood thinners, her blood continued to clot, and it was towards the end of the month that the doctors told us that there was nothing else they could do. They asked her if she wanted to stay in the hospital and she said she wanted to go home. Hospice came into talk to us, explaining their services and how they would do everything to keep her comfortable. Two days after coming home from the hospital and being on hospice, she passed on June 1st. This time last year was truly the beginning of the end. The strokes as horrible as it sounds, were almost a blessing. After May 15th, she was no longer Aily, she didn’t really seem to understand or know everything that was going on, most of the time. I think that allowed her to escape a lot of the fear and anxiety of what was happening around her. I am grateful for that. These next few weeks are going to be rough and I am allowing myself more time to grieve and be sad. This first anniversary will definitely suck, I know, and I am expecting to cry a lot.
I didn’t write a blog post in April, I had meant to, but between traveling and trying to find myself, I just didn’t have it in me. Have I found myself, what makes me happy? Hell no, I have no idea what I am going to do yet, where I want to live, anything. I am just going to try and survive these next few weeks and get past the 1-year mark. I swear its nuts, sometimes it feels like she’s been gone forever, and other times, it feels like it was just yesterday. I need to do this one day at a time for now. Yes I know I need to get back into the land of the living, find a job, find a place to live, but right now I just need to get past these next few weeks, that’s all I can do.
I miss her so much every day, she is in my dreams every night and I wish everyday that she was still with me. Losing my twin is losing a huge part of myself, and I still have to figure out how to make myself whole without her.
We always tried to find the fun in her treatments as much as they always sucked!!
She was the strongest, toughest, bravest, person I ever knew!!!
This is what I woke up to one of our last days in the hospital, I would give anything to have her still with me. God, I miss her more than anything in the whole world!!