First, I want to say that the apology comes before the news, not because it is in any way more important, but to preface why I will probably be MIA for a while and to assure people it has nothing to do with the recently debated 'state of the forums.'
Recently I received an e-mail from a very good friend here calling me on my actions. I like to think that no one really takes me very seriously and, since I get away with murder a lot of the time, I tend to act with impunity. While I still feel sincerely about many of the sentiments, my method of communicating them is, in retrospect, intolerable. I've been very sarcastic and unkind to a few people lately, and I'd like to apologize to them for any hurt, insecurity or feelings of unwelcomeness that I may have caused. It's absolutely not my right to cause these things in anyone, and I'm sorry that many of the things I said came with barbs attached to them.
Sarcasm is the cheap and easy way out for me, and I have no real excuse for indulging in it. I hope I can be forgiven.
If I am MIA for a while, though, please know that it's not due to Hatrack in the least, but rather a very recent family tragedy.
My sister died this morning at around 10:50a from complications of her epilepsy.
While it is still not really known what happened, it seems that in the middle of the night she had two Grand Mal seizures back-to-back and the second one caused her involuntary muscles to stop. Most notably, her heart and her lungs.
My sister and brother-in-law had been staying the weekend with friends of theirs, and fortunately the husband knew CPR. He administered CPR until the ambulance could arrive, but sadly they were about an hour away from any real hospital.
It probably would not have mattered, anyway. By the time the ambulance showed up she had gone around ten minutes without breathing (though Lang had kept her heart beating) and the brain damage she suffered was most likely extensive. She never really breathed on her own after that without the assistance of a machine. But even if her body had decided it could survive on it's own, she would not have been Tina anymore.
What Lang did was prevent her from dying in their house, and it gave us an opportunity to say goodbye to her. We decided to stop the life support systems, and she died within fifteen minutes. I held her hand while she died. I could feel her heart beat slow down. On the monitor the beats briefly went up, and then the line was flat. And she was gone.
It was the most surreal experience of my life.
She was 31 years old, and survived by her husband, Eric, and her 8 year old son, D'mitri who (as some of you know) is the light of my life.
Eric is a mess. D'mitri is being a little trooper. I worry about him and his need to be so strong and internalize his pain, but I have a feeling he deep down inside felt this was inevitable. He's watched her have countless Grand Mal's in the past, and I think the violence of each seizure prepared him for the concept of 'what if it was the last?'
Slash has been a rock, and Dan hasn't really left my side the entire time.
My theological beliefs are that she is sleeping in death, and that I hope to see her again in an earthly resurrection. I do not believe she is in heaven, and so any well-intended sentiments to that effect will give me no comfort.
Hatrack is amazing, and I want to thank you for the out-pouring of kindness that is inevitable. I most likely will check this thread soon, but that's probably it. I love you guys a ton, and so please understand that I'm gone out of necessity, not desire.
Oh... Lady... I'm so sorry. I hope you do see her again, in some earthly incarnation. I hope you can find it in you to come back to us someday. In the meantime, you have my hope, my love, and my prayers. Goodbye and good luck..
Posts: 4816 | Registered: Apr 2003
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I don't know you very well - really at all, just through what I have seen at Hatrack while i've been here for the past two months.
I have to say that I had, recently, wondered what the 'Ralphie lovin' was about. I didn't get why so many people on this forum idolised you so much. I didn't think you were overtly rude, but I did consider you sarcastic at times.
And then two days ago I was browsing through the landmark threads, and I read yours. And suddenly, I knew why so many people love you here. You shared some of your life, some of your childhood, and some of your most difficult moments - and you did so with grace, humour, intelligence and kindness. Those qualities are what earn you both respect and admiration.
Part of that sharing was to do with your sister, and her illness. So, I don't know you too well. I've shared maybe 3 threads with you in all. But I am very very sorry for your loss, and I know that all the kindness and love that you will receive from this forum will be because of who you are, and is completely genuine.
There's nothing I can say to make this better for you. Take comfort in your family, and in your beliefs. Know that everyone here wishes the absolute best for you, and your family. I know that your nephew will find it probably hardest of all - but I'm sure from what I've seen of you that you will be a great auntie, and help him through everything and anything.
Ralphie and Slash, I wish I could be there to help take care of you. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I'll be remembering you in my thoughts throughout the day, today. Sometimes grieving is hot and angry, sometimes it's quiet longing, sometimes it's cold and frozen. Whatever happens for you, I'll be with you in any way I can.
Much love to you both.
[PS: I don't know if you believe in coincidence, but all yesterday I was playing Leonard Cohen, who helped me get through the loss of my mother.
*hug for Ralphie, breathing a puff of fire on Slash]
Toni, I suck at this sympathy stuff. I feel like anything I say will sound awkward and insincere, but I feel like I aught to say something.
I, too, have lost people very, very close to me- some even by their own hand. I understand the immediate shock of young death and the mourning that follows. I know how you're feeling right now.
I wish I could come over and give you a hug or a pat on the back or something, but that isn't possible. Stupid Internet. Well, the sentiment is there anyways.
Posts: 4753 | Registered: May 2002
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(I'm not trying to be facetious with the hugs. I just can't think of what to say at a time like this, and I don't want to let that prevent me from posting to let you know how much I care, and how sorry I am for your loss, and how much I would do just about anything to make you feel better.)
Posts: 13680 | Registered: Mar 2002
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((((Toni)))) I've not been on the forum much lately, and I've missed you. I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you will be back with us soon. Karl
Posts: 6394 | Registered: Dec 1999
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This is one of those times when I wish I had you sitting next to me rather than on the other side of a computer screen. Take care, Toni. Take all the time you need.
Posts: 3243 | Registered: Apr 2002
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I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I cannot imagine what this experience must be like for you, but I am so glad that you have such a supportive family that will help each other through this. I hope your faith will be of comfort to you and, for what it's worth, I, too, know you'll see her again. I'll be praying for all of you.
Posts: 5879 | Registered: Apr 2001
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Take good care of yourself Ralphie. Take good care of Slash, We've been missing him too. I think. (I don't merely think we miss him, you just never know when someone is posting under another name ;-)
Posts: 11017 | Registered: Apr 2003
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Toni, Ty, you have my sympathies. I didn't even know your sister, yet I'm sitting here crying for your loss and D'mitri and Eric's loss, though I don't know them either. Love you kiddo, and hope you will be okay in time. Your nephew is lucky to have you at this time in his life. If you need to talk, I'm always here. (Those last three sentences were for Ralphie, but I like Ty a whole lot, too. )
Posts: 9871 | Registered: Aug 2001
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Toni, I'm so sorry about your sister. This must be so hard for you. The thing that sucks about stuff like this is that words on a screen are nothing compared to a real hug and a totally lame joke that for a moment might make you smile. I'm glad you posted as you did, sharing just a little bit more about the sister we at Hatrack didn't get to know directly.
Since I can't do it in person, here's a big hug *big virtual hug*, and a pot of skittle soup and as much love and care as I can put in a post.
Posts: 5948 | Registered: Jun 2001
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I dug this up from Ralphie's 5k post. It's all I knew of Tina and, while it may be presumptive of me to be the one to place it here, I think it a fitting tribute to her courage and strength.
quote:Let me tell you about my sister. While Slash and I have always been "buddies," Tina was the odd man out. Emotional, melodramatic, bossy, self-consumed... I could never do anything right, unless I was doing it exactly to her specifications. I was continually labeled a "brat" for not accepting my role as indentured servant, and any form of torture Ty passed to her was immediately handed down to me. Actually, from both of them. Bastards.
But my sister is crippled. While Slash took Dad's abuse head-on and became stronger, if not more cynical from it, Tina just became more and more broken. She couldn't handle not being able to win the approval she so desperately sought from my father, and I honestly wonder if she was even born with the emotional tools most people develop to be able to handle stress. As she grew older, lacking imagination she turned rebellious, and added to her burdens an entire list of emotional and physical scars from her lifestyle. She was left with little to no self-esteem, and the immature attitudes that often accompany abuse, both from outside influence and self-imposed.
When Tina turned 18, she developed extremely severe epilepsy. I was called at school to be informed that my sister was in the hospital, and she had had some kind of seizure. It ended up being a Grand Mal, and the beginning of what would be a daily series of them until they could find medication that worked for her.
This was tragic, but most especially for one major reason: Tina had begun asserting her independence. She had her license. She had a job. She was planning on moving out. She had friends she was moving in with. She was becoming an adult.
And with one condition that came out of freaking nowhere, it was all taken away. She couldn't drive, because what if she had a seizure in the car. She couldn't work, because they had to call the ambulance every other day and it was an embarrassment. She couldn't move out, because now she had no money and no car. She was stuck. She was a little kid again. She was embarrassed.
The first time I saw my sister have a seizure, I cried like a little sissy-bitch. We were home alone in the very beginning days, and she just started shaking violently. I held her as best I could, and she threw up on both of us. She urinated. It lasted for, maybe, ninety seconds. I held her as she slowly "woke up," dazed and unable to talk. She didn't know where she was. She knew who I was. She didn't know what had happened. I told her she had vomited and urinated, so I was going to change her clothes. She nodded slightly.
And I cried while I changed her clothes.
It wasn't fair. It wasn't bloody fair. I was the youngest, I was smart, I was loved. I had every advantage Tina hadn't had. And here it was SHE that had developed epilepsy. Her, when it would have been so much more fair for me to have. She couldn't take it. She could barely handle soap operas, how was she going to handle something like this?
In those moments, I hated myself. I hated my advantages and everything that had ever been give to me. I hated that I wasn't Tina, and if I could have shoved a butcher knife into my gut to prevent her from having another seizure, I would have.
But she dealt with it. She made it through. Marriage, a child. Friends. She carved a life for herself, and she's as happy as she can be. She works hard and she's motivated. She's compassionate.
Between the two of us, as we grew up, things got better as they often do. Sometimes we go shopping and talk on the phone. She gave birth to my gorgeous nephew D'mitri, who is the love of my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful. She's also turned out somewhat cool, in her way, and she takes care of her immature husband and her kid. While I don't seek out her company, I respect her. And that's a whole heckuva lot more than I used to say.
She makes me feel like a coward. From her I take away both superiority and extreme inferiority. Her marks are on both sides of the pendulum.
Toni, Dan, and Ty, my heart is heavy for you and your families. Be well.
Darling Ralphie, Whatever you may have done, and whatever you may do; you are always a part of us. Your loss doesn't make our love for you stronger, but our love for you makes your loss ours. I sit here crying at the keyboard, sending strength to you and Ty and your family. Don't leave us for too long, but leave us for as long as you need. (((Toni)))
Posts: 1545 | Registered: May 2002
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