At about 2 pm, her husband Phil called and said the nurse had called and said it would be soon. I said I was on my way. As I pulling out of the parking lot my husband was pulling in; he parked and got into my car after I told him. As I pulled into the hospital parking lot our friend Tricia called and said she was just leaving work. We walked into the hospital and went upstairs. The sign saying "Check in with Nurse" was still on Diane's door; I ignored it. As a opened the door, the nurse came out of her chair to check who we were before allowing us in the room. We hugged Phil and sat down. Diane's breathing was shallow, but steady for the most part. We alternated between crying and quiet. Tricia finally got there; yes, the nurse stopped her too! Phil says to Diane, "Well, the gang's all here Diane." In my mind I kept seeing Diane, Tricia and me almost four years ago, in a different hospital, holding hands over her hospital bed and promising to stand with her and beat the odds of a 39 year old woman surviving almost stage 4 ovarian cancer. We didn't. But Diane, Tricia and I became like sisters by God's design and the journey.
A little before 4 pm the nurse came in and said she had orders to drain the fluid from Diane's belly to keep her comfortable, so we all left and went into the family room. Another friend was there waiting and praying. Phil got up after a bit and wandered back to Diane's room and we waited for the nurse to call us back.
Tricia saw the nurse motioning to us and got up, telling us to come. I'm not sure what Tricia said to the nurse, but then I heard "she passed" and Tricia saying, "what, she passed?" And the nurse nodding and touching our arms. We all began crying, and then moved to go to the room. Phil came out and we then we went in together to see Diane.
She was at peace. We cried, prayed, said good bye to her body. Another dear friend of hers came in to say goodbye. She and her husband had seen Phil as he was leaving the hospital to go tell the children.
In the end, she did not die alone, as was her desire. We were with her until almost her last breath and then she was alone with her husband, as is right.
I suppose by now, Diane has met God. My husband asked me last night, "Do you think Diane is done yelling at God by now?" I said, "She never had a chance to yell. She was overcome with such love she couldn't." She has maybe learned a few things and seen her family and friends already in heaven. Maybe she is in purgatory or maybe after all her earthly suffering it just took a second. Who knows? Time in heaven is not time on earth.
There are more stories to tell, but not now.
It was a journey I would have rather not taken, but would not have missed for anything.
|Tricia, Diane, me on Easter Sunday 2011|