Hi, Laurie, and thank you for your email. I can’t believe how many people have said so many nice things about Bean. She had more than 400 people come for the visitation between last night and this morning.
We are still not entirely sure what happened, but I feel somehow responsible and so totally guilty. First, Bean was never the neatest, cleanest person. It was a battle to get her to remember to shower and change clothes. I guess I’m saying that to kind of give myself somewhat of a break – maybe that’s why I didn’t see things sooner. Anyway, we went to Orlando on 2/26, and came home last Tuesday. Brighid got sick with a bad stomach virus in Orlando, and it seemed to spread quickly to the rest of us. Fortunately, it was a 24 hour type thing – everyone seemed to get over it very quickly. By Tuesday, Brighid was better. Eilis got it on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, she was better. I got it Wednesday, and on Thursday, I was better. Because it was my first day back and the first day I could go out, Bean and I spent the whole day running around doing errands. We hit several stores, the post office, bank, etc. Brighid had drama class on Thursday night, and Bean was supposed to watch Eilis because Jim wasn’t feeling too well. Right about 4:15 – just as I was getting ready to leave, Bean threw up and said she was coming down with the virus and was going to bed. I was so pissed! She didn’t give me enough time to ask one of my parents to watch Eilis, and I didn’t want to take Eilis with me, so I had to get Jim up to watch her.
When I came home, Bean was still in bed, and I didn’t hear anything from her – like her getting up and down out of bed, into the bathroom or anything. Jim decided to sleep on the sofa since he was still sick and didn’t want to spread it around again, so Brighid slept with me. She got up for school on Friday and went into her room to get her clothes. Bean woke up and asked her for a glass of water, which Brighid got. Jim was feeling better, but decided to work from home, so I took Brighid to school. Bean had promised to make the snack for the girl scout meeting we had Friday afternoon, so when she wasn’t up by about 10, I went in to wake her. There was an odor in the room, and Bean was sitting on the edge of the bed. She had wet the bed. Well, I was furious. I yelled at her, I called my mom, who yelled at her, and I told her she had to get in the shower and clean up. In retrospect, I was frazzled after so much sickness and overwhelmed with the meeting – it was my first as a leader that I planned on my own. I attributed the accident Bean had to pure laziness, and that made me angrier. I ran around the house doing stuff – laundry, getting dinner stuff out, etc. I checked on Bean again about 10:30, and she was still sitting on the bed, in the pee, smelling up the room. I yelled at her again, and she said she was just tired. I asked her if she needed a doctor or something – hoping she would say she didn’t – and she said she didn’t. She got up, and got in the shower, then went back into Brighid’s room to get dressed. She put on a clean nightgown, which made me madder, because everyone else got over the virus in one day, but obviously, Bean was planning on taking two. At about 11:20, I had to go to the store to get the stuff to make the snack Bean was going to make, so I went into tell Bean I was going. Well, she had pooped all over herself – the smell was horrible, and I can’t even tell you how mad it made me. I called my mother again, she got on the phone with Bean and asked if she needed a doctor, and Bean said no again that it was just a virus. I told her she had to get in the shower again and get clean, and when I got back from the store, I would clean up the bedroom, so she would have to go downstairs. I should have known that Bean would never have peed the bed, let alone messed herself, if something wasn’t really wrong, and I should have called the doctor or an ambulance then. I didn’t. I left for the store at 11:30. Jim was downstairs on the computer and on a conference call. He didn’t hear Bean at all.
I came home at 12:30, brought Eilis down stairs to Jim, then went up to check on Bean. She wasn’t in Brighid’s room, the mess was still all over the bed, so I figured she had gotten up and went into the shower. I went to the bathroom door to call for her, since I didn’t hear water running, and she didn’t answer. I opened the door, and she was sitting on the toilet. Her head was slumped over on her chest, and her legs were absolutely purple. I just started screaming – screaming for her to wake up, screaming for Jim, and just screaming. Jim ran upstairs, then ran down to call 911 – I kept shaking her to try and get her to wake up. She was too big for me to move, and I was afraid to drag her and hurt her. The police were here in less than a minute – we live one block over from the police station. The ambulance was right behind them, and they said she was already too far gone for them to do anything. They left her here with us, my parents came, the coroner came, the priest came – it was totally surreal. I know this stuff happens, but not here.
We have not gotten the death certificate back yet, but her endocrinologist told police he would have no trouble signing it based on her overall health and medical conditions. We assume he’ll list natural causes or a result of her compromised system due to her acromegaly and the pituitary tumor she had years ago.
I’m so shocked. I’ve no voice from the crying and the cold I have, but I just keep wandering the house, asking why. We found so many bottles of medicine that she didn’t take – so obviously, she wasn’t taking her meds regularly. I’m so angry with myself for not seeing that something serious was going on so I could have done something to save her. I’m angry that I didn’t keep on her about her medicine more. I’m angry at her for leaving me, for leaving my girls, for dying in my house, after I told her not to (we had a conversation about her not taking her meds, and I told her if she was not going to take them and drop dead, she was going to have to go to my mother’s to stay).
Thank you for your note – I am so comforted by knowing how she touched other people. She got on my nerves quite often, but I feel like I’ve had a limb removed. I don’t know how I’ll function for the rest of my life without her.