My beloved husband, Errol, died Wednesday afternoon in the liver transplant ICU at UCLA. A doctor called in the morning and explained that nothing they had done to try to curb the very vicious and highly unusual bacterial infection and sepsis had worked and, because of the infections, his new liver had now failed.
She said he was on the maximum of all drugs and still getting worse. I agreed that they not resuscitate him should his heart fail. Then I drove, once again, through the desert into the Los Angeles traffic jams. It was a cold, gray April morning, with clouds hanging low over the mountains, matching how I felt perfectly.
Errol's brothers, his sister, Debra, her daughters, a newborn grandbaby, nieces and other relatives and a few friends were gathered around his bed. I spoke to one of the doctors and we agreed that when we were ready, they would begin to remove the various medicines, the kidney dialysis machine, and finally the breathing tube. I held my husband's hand the whole time. Debra sang Amazing Grace, in her hauntingly beautiful voice, his brothers sang another song, we prayed, I said my favorite old Hebrew prayer in Swedish, we told stories of Errol's life, laughed even.
He was heavily sedated and it didn't take long. Once the four - at max - medicines to keep his blood pressure up were removed, his blood pressure went down fast, his heart continued beating for a while, then stopped. It was very peaceful and beautiful. You know, I always liked to hold his hand. It made me feel secure and loved, somehow. His hand was still hard and calloused from all that contracting work, building all those houses he did all his life. Now I had to let go, let his hand go.
Errol touched many lives, even in his final days in the ICU. The social worker came up and asked if she could stay. Of course she could. She kept her hand on his shoulder and told us she had loved him since he was in the hospital last summer. She said they became friends then, he was going to make her gumbo. The ever optimistic attending physician, his surgeon, I told you about earlier, was devastated. He came in and talked to us, said he thought the last surgery had done it, said the last CT scan looked good, said he was so sorry he couldn't save Errol's life. Said he was some guy, so strong, such a fighter through it all, said he had been so inspired by him.
I believe my life for a long time to come will be filled with both tears and joy. I have so much support from family and friends. Monique and Kenny were here yesterday with their girls and Subway sandwiches. That helped, family will help with everything. I don't have to go through this alone.
I have much to do, of course, and will take a blogging break for a while.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support this past year. You have helped me so much, you have no idea. You have shared your own losses and showed me that life can go on; you have sent me gifts, cards, incredible drawings you made of Samson and Faith, beautiful stories you wrote, and you have left wonderful, encouraging comments and emails.
P.S. Don't worry, we'll take good care of mommy.
~ Samson and Faith