The past few days have been tough for me and I have tried to stick it out.
Today I am comfortable enough to talk about why.
There are not a lot of new triggers that send me into a nosedive.
But it happened.
After my mom first died, some sounds used to send my mind spiraling out of control; ambulance sirens, a heart monitor beeping on the television, watching true crime stories to hear an operator say “911, what is your emergency?”
All of those things used to cause me despair, immediately triggering the memory of the night she died.
Replaying the night over again in my mind until all possible outcomes are exhausted, only to think about how there is nothing that I can do to change what happened or how it did.
The thing that triggered me was hearing a child call 911 for their dad who was having a hard time breathing.
I thought I had desensitized myself to what I thought were all possible triggers until this happened.
The child told the operator that they were going to get some clothes on; very similar to my experience as I was in underwear and a t-shirt when I called 911 for my mom.
The operator told the child to stay there and not to worry about dressing.
The child stayed and their father lived; I left and my mom died.
I left for 42 seconds, according to the phone log from calling my dad to tell him to meet us at the hospital.
Why didn’t my operator tell me not to leave?
Why did she let me hang up the phone?
Why didn’t she tell me those were symptoms of dying?
Did she know? Was she incompetent or just unaware?
How could I be so stupid to leave her?
Mom NEVER would have left me!
She died alone instead of in my arms and it kills me.
It fucking kills me.
I can go on and on about the questions; I have for years and sometimes they don’t stop.
But in order to live any quality of life, I have to forgive myself for that.
And forgiving myself for that is difficult.
The thing is, despite the outcome, despite the tragedy, despite my constant wondering and wishing, one fact holds me together:
She would not have wanted me to suffer the rest of my life no matter what happened.
In my heart of hearts I know that to be the ultimate truth and I grasp that for dear life some days; days like today.
It is not always easy; some days are exceptionally difficult.
So today I am trying to be extra gentle on myself, will take some time to meditate and have a hot cup of herbal tea in the bath to hit the reset button.
Tomorrow will be a good day.
The most important thing I want to share with others is to remind you that if you experience a similar situation, stay beside your loved one.
The paramedics won’t care if you are half naked; they see bodies every day.
Keep your CPR and first aid training up to date.
When I panicked in the moment I had a hard time remembering how many compressions or breaths; if I can remind just one person to stay calm, stay there and do CPR until help arrives, then I can die peacefully knowing I might have saved someone else the grief I experience today.
I take some comfort in the fact that she knew I was with her, but deeply regret leaving her side during her final moment on earth.
Until next time, thank you for your support as always.
by Kaila A. Notto
Business Name: Gardein Plant Based Foods
Service Type: Meat-Free Meat Product Line
Location: Various Grocers
Experience: Longtime favourite meat-less meat brand! My toddler absolutely goes bananas for the chick’n nuggets and fishless sticks! We fry most items in coconut oil and pat dry before frying again in the sauces that accompany the meats and it is so good. We use Gardein products as a household pantry staple for most weeknight dinners as the protein option for our vegetarian family. 10/10!