Two weeks ago my aunt, whom I’m very close to, got in a terrible car wreck. A large truck broadsided her, and the only reason she made it to the hospital was because on off-duty fireman happened to be on the scene and began CPR almost immediately after the accident.
Once at the hospital, she was admitted in critical condition, with so many significant injuries we had a difficult time keeping track: She had broken all of her ribs on the left side, her entire blood volume had to be replaced twice, her arm was broken in several places, they had to remove her spleen and a kidney, two vertebrae in her neck were broken, her pelvis was crushed, and she had a severe brain injury. Her doctor told us she had a less than 50% chance of making it, and he would be surprised to see her make it through the night.
Amazingly enough, she did make it through the night, she was a fighter.
As the family sat in the waiting room praying, we weren’t quite sure what we were praying for. If she survived and her quality of life would be miserable, if she wouldn’t be the same mentally and would need constant assistance … we knew she would never want that. She was a very active, strong woman, and I had a conversation with her in the past where she told me that if anything happened to her, like this, she wouldn’t want us to struggle with the decision to let her go.
Yet when you love someone, it is so hard to pray for the option of losing her too — even if it was what she would have wanted.
My aunt’s son was recently married, and he desperately wanted her to live to see her grandchildren when that time came; and her daughter still young, not married yet, and she wants her mother to be there, to help her plan her wedding someday.
My aunt and I spoke almost every week for the last 15 years. She made me Barbie clothes and fur stoles when I was little, and took me to my first midnight movie when I was 9, making me feel like such a grown up. When we talked, we discussed trivial things like who we wanted to get kicked off So You Think You Can Dance and who should win American Idol.
Then there were the things we had in common. We would chat about what our latest garage sale finds were for the week and what we were both doing to update our homes. I would go with her to pick out doors and pick out tile — things I didn’t always think I had time for, but looking back I’m so glad that I did.
Our family would gather for holidays and play games, and my mom and my aunt were always so competitive, trying to take out the competition in Scatagories. My mom and my aunt have always been close too, so this was incredibly hard on her since my grandparents passed away years ago.
Each day after the accident was filled with stress, worry, and, sometimes, traces of hope. It seemed like every time the doctors fixed one problem another one arose. Last Thursday, though, the doctors told us her brain injury was so severe that she would never be the same. Her other kidney had failed also, and infection had set in.
Friday night, her family decided to take her off of life support. Surrounded by her husband, children, siblings, nieces and nephews, she passed.
Sitting and watching her gasp for breath was one of the hardest things I had ever experienced. It broke my heart. And those broken pieces crumbled further watching what her husband and children were going through … and seeing my mother so devastated.
I wish now that I had taken more time to do fun things with her. This last year, she had asked me a few times to go to some movies with her, but with my furniture business and starting my blog, I felt that I was always too busy to go do fun things I could do later.
Please learn from my mistakes my friends, the later you always take for granted isn’t always there.
My aunt came to my house about a month ago and dropped off some little ceramic dogs for my collection. She said Here is your early birthday present.
My birthday was this past Friday (the day she passed). Maybe she subconsciously knew somehow?
Thank you to all of you who have sent your sweet comments and prayers to me. I feel blessed to have you all in my life.
No matter how busy your life is, please take the time to spend with your loved ones.
Things can change in the blink of an eye.
My heart is breaking for you and your family. My deepest sympathy goes out to you all. It is so hard to lose the ones we love. Words cannot express the pain. Praying for you all.
That is heartbreaking. I’m crying just reading about it. I’m so very sorry for your loss and your family’s loss. You aunt sounded like a wonderful woman and a great friend. I know you’ll miss her very much. 🙁
Patricia Ann says
What a huge loss for you and your family and what a huge blessing your aunt was to all of you over the years. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for the reminder to take advantage of every moment we have with those we love.
So sorry for your loss.
Nana Diana says
I am so so so sorry for you and your whole family. It is so hard to lose someone-especially when it seems like such a senseless accident. You know that she is in a better place, beyond all pain and suffering, but that doesn’t make missing her any easier.
You are so right- we need to enjoy the here and now because tomorrow is an uncertainty. We have only the time that is in front of us- God bless you~ xo Diana
ps. I often think people have premonitions…you know-like the pieces she gave you as an early birthday present. I have seen that happen many, many times in my life.
My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I hope this quote will bring you some comfort:
She has taken her light and has gone now to a room I cannot find,
But I know that she has been here, by all of the light she left behind.
I am so sorry for your loss
Tisha Williams says
My deepest sympathy to you and your family. My heart is breaking for you. May God shower your family with peace and strength to get through this difficult time. God Bless you all.
Bonnie Schulte says
You certainly have my deepest sympathy. Reading your story, of the deep friendship you shared with your aunt, is so very special. It also makes me realize that life can change in an instant, and never should we take one another for granted. I am so happy for you that you have amazing memories to carry with you for the
rest of your life, and memories that you are able to smile about and share with “us”. Her life here is complete, God has other plans for her in heaven, and I am positive she is smiling down on you and the rest of your family…You are in my prayers….
Brenda Gilbert says
So sorry Honey, please know I have been praying fervently that God’s will be done in Diane’s life so she would be at peace. She was a lovely lady and I know you and she were close..this is such a cute photo of you and her. Sending love my dear daughter in love…Mom Brenda
Oh Shanna. I remember you posting several weeks ago about her accident. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thinking and praying for all of you right now. -Holly
Laura @ Inspiration for Moms says
So sorry for your loss, Shanna. You are in my prayers.
Mahdi M says
I am so sorry for your loss. It really hit home for me. My mother had a bad stroke a couple years ago, and to say things have changed would be an understatement. Not only do I feel I’ve lost a part of her, but I know she feels the same way about herself and it just gets so hard sometimes!
Laurie @ Vin'yet Etc. says
Oh sweetie! What a tragedy! I am so very sorry for your loss, for you and your entire family! Your words have painted a beautiful picture of who this lady was to her family, a guiding light for sure! You are so right with your message, live in the here, live in the now and take the time for those that are special to you. I think your Aunt is giving you a very big message in passing on your birthday, forgive your self, she knows how much you loved, admired and respected her, a few missed movie dates don’t show that! ((((((HUGS)))))) xo
I’m soooo sorry for your loss. I’m reading your story at work and trying not to cry. I’m praying for you, your family and your aunt.
Shanna! I meant to check in with you this weekend about how your aunt was doing. Sweetie, I’m so sad to hear this news. You two were lucky to have each other, and I’m so sorry for this loss to your family.
Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint says
Shanna! I am so sorry for you loss and I know the heartbreak of losing someone you love. Hold on to your memories and let them guide you during this time of sadness. Hugs and prayers to you and your family!!
Thank you so much Denyse!
Jalynn Patterson says
Praying for you and your family.
Thank you Jalynn!
Shanna, I’m so sad for you and for your loss. This post was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. The loss of a loved one is never easy, but I think when it is because of a shocking, senseless loss of someone so young, it makes it more difficult. I’m sure that your weekly telephone chats meant as much to her as they did to you. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. laurie
Thank you so much Laurie!
Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique says
How incredibly sad for you and your family to lose someone so special to you all Shanna. May you treasure your beautiful memories of your aunt and take comfort in the knowledge that there is no more pain or suffering for her. Thinking of you.
Thank you Kerryanne
This is such a touching and wonderful post. What a great way to honor your aunt! Thanks for the reminder to love our family every day!
Amy @ StowandTellU says
Shanna, I never know what to say, or how to say anything to someone going through something like this. My mom passed away a few years ago at 89, and that was hard enough, so I can’t imagine what you all are going through. It seems like everyone is in such a hurry these days, that even a phone call can put us off, so I think it’s amazing that you and your aunt spoke as often as you did. There were so many instances with my mom that I wish I could have given her more of my time, in turn I have stopped to give more time to my friends and family, even when I feel I should be doing my own thing. I believe it to be a gift from my mom and when I think of those moments when I shoulda… I embrace them because it keeps me close to her memory and close to my heart, and that’s okay because that is right where I want her. Prayers and thoughts to your whole family. Take care ~ Amy
Thank you so much Amy, I appreciate it!
So, so sorry ~ my friend.
Big hugs & lots of care and sympathy to you!
Thank you Teresa!
Cash Annesley says
Oh Shanna, I am so very sorry for your loss. The tears are flowing down my face as I was reading this. I am glad that you were able to spend the time with her that you did. You said it best that we never know how much time we have, so make it count. Is sounds like you did. I know you are hurting, but just remember all of the happy times you had with her. Love you friend and I am praying for you and your family in this difficult time.
Thank you my friend!
Maxine Simpson says
I am so sorry for your loss. Diane was such a sweet, kind person. I had not seen her for many years, but always enjoyed seeing her at different gatherings for you and Chad. I know your mother must be devastated as they were always so close. Remember you have your memories to hold on to and they will bring you comfort. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. Love you. Maxine
Love you too! Thanks Maxine!
Terri Hughes says
So sorry for your loss. May God Bless and comfort you and your family!
Thinking of you.
I am SO sorry for your and your family’s great loss. But, what a beautiful mark she left behind. We can only hope to leave such a mark ourselves on the world around us.