We lost Max's Mom

lsr2002January 30, 2010

Helen, Max's mother, died very unexpectedly on Jan. 22. We are both unbelieving and devastated. She went in to the hospital on the 21st for an elective pacemaker, although her cardiologist said it would not be elective in another six to twelve months. There was a complication during the surgery and her ventricle was perforated by the screw on the pacemaker wire. She started to bleed and a drain was put in immediately and the blood put back into her leg. The tiny hole clotted over and the procedure was finished with the pacemaker working perfectly. My cardiac surgeon was on standby in the OR but advised against open heart surgery because the problem appeared to be resolved. She was taken to ICU overnight for observation and a drain had been inserted in case there was further bleeding. She was alert and talking and able to eat a liquid dinner. There was no bleeding in the next twenty four hours and the drain was removed. An ICU nurse was with her at all times.

We were at the hospital throughout the day and talked with her. The next morning Max went to see her before going to his office. She was joking and talking about the Dinner Theatre plans we had with her for the following Sunday. In the afternoon, several hours after the drain had been removed, they were finishing the paper work to move her out of ICU, she was talking with her nurse and suddenly slumped over and arrested. They tried for forty five minutes to restart her heart, both in ICU and the heart cath lab.

Her Dr. has done almost 800 pacemaker procedures and never lost a patient. He has been her cardiologist for years; he spent nearly two hours with us and with our son and his family when they arrived at the hospital. Her death was just impossible for any of us to comprehend.

There was a Rosary and Mass of Christian Burial at the church she had attended here for sixteen years. We found a large tray of her Christmas cookies in her freezer and served them at the luncheon afterward and at our house for those who stopped by later in the day.

Max's DB and SIL flew up from Santa Fe and stayed for a day and a half to help us start to go through her things. They flew back home and Max and I and our son and DIL flew to Chicago for her interment in a mausoleum next to her husband and younger son. A priest from the church she attended there, before she moved to Boulder, did the Rite of Committal at the mausoleum Chapel.

We all flew back last night. We will miss her very much. Thank you for reading this - I guess I needed to write it out because I'm still trying the absorb the reality of losing her.

Please mention Helen in your prayers.

Lee

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riverrat1

Lee, I'm so saddened to read this. Please know that Max's mother and your family are in our prayers. It is so hard...

Tomorrow starts our Catholic Schools Week with a beautiful Mass. I will be thinking of your family as we go through the week of Faith, Knowledge, Disipline and Morals. Please know, that special intentions will be sent to the alter for you and your family.

I wish there was something else I could do. I will be thinking of you and will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 7:22PM
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loagiehoagie

Lee, I am so very sorry. Today is the 4th anniversary of my mom's passing so this hit me extra hard. We have so much faith in our doctors and technology but sometimes God has a different answer/path. My mom's heart surgeon had never lost a patient in surgery. She didn't die in surgery but couldn't recover from heart/lung/kidney problems.

Sometimes things happen outside of doctors control. I am so very sorry and understand the heartbreak. We as humans must follow the cycle of life/death that everything does here on earth, but it sure is hard. There is no precription to make the hurt any less. We somehow have to endure and figure out a way to go on...but it sure the hell is hard...and hopefully someday we will learn the reason for this pain we have to endure on this earth. We have joy, but we also have unbelievable heartache.

Bless you and the family. My tears and thoughts are with you in this difficult time.

Duane

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 7:41PM
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canarybird01

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss Max and Lee. I can't imagine what a terrible blow it must have been to lose her when she seemed to be recuperating so well.

Sending you both my sincere condolences and wishes for your strength through these sad days.

SharonCb

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 8:00PM
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lindac

Oh my....so hard.
But dying with a freezer full of cookies...amazing.
My thoughts and prayers are with you as you come to the reality of your loss.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 8:48PM
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ann_t

Oh Lee, I'm so sorry. I know that Helen was a big part of your lives and how much you loved her.

My thoughts are with you and Max.

Ann

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 9:05PM
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jojoco

I am so sorry for your loss. Please continue to write about her here if it helps you in any way.

Jo

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 9:51PM
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annie1992

Oh dear, Lee, I am so sorry to hear of you and Max losing Helen so suddenly.

You will all certainly be in my prayers, for peace and strength.

Annie

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 10:30PM
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caliloo

I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is always so difficult, but when it is completely unexpected like this it seems to be even harder. We are all hear for you.

Alexa

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 10:46PM
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kathleen_li

I am so sorry Lee. I will certainly remember her and all of you in my prayers. My sympathies to the family.
I hope you are well!
Kathleen

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 11:19PM
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daylilydayzed

I am so sorry for your loss of Helen. I will be praying for her and you and family. My condolences to every family member.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:36AM
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centralcacyclist

I'm so very sorry to learn of your loss. It seems incomprehensible even to read of it. My thoughts are with you and Max. Hugs.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:48AM
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mitchdesj

What a shock, my condoleances to you and your family in this difficult period.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 6:15AM
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ArabellaMiller

I'm so sorry Lee. What a devastating loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

AM

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:17AM
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jessyf

I am so sorry about your loss. Its been ten years since my mom and MIL passed. (((hugs)))

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:57AM
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pkramer60

My sincere sympathies on your loss.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:05AM
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shaun

I'm so sorry Lee. It's heartbreaking..... sending my thoughts to you and your family.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:05AM
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stacy3

Lee - I, too, am so so sorry. I love that you shared her cookies with those who loved her though...my heart goes out to all of you.

Stacy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:40AM
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wizardnm

I am so sorry to read about the loss, my heartfelt sympathies.

Nancy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:01AM
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doucanoe

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Lee and Max. I can certainly understand your devastation.

Healing thoughts coming your way.

linda

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:48AM
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compumom

My condolences too, what an awful shock! Sending hugs to you, Max and the family. We lost my MIL a couple of months ago, I understand your sorrow.
Ellen

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:03AM
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woodie2

Lee, I am so very sad to hear this news. I know how close you all were, enjoying her company and sharing meals so often. Sending my condolences to you and Max.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:31AM
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dlynn2

Lee, I'm so sorry for you, Max, and the family. I think it was lovely that she was able to share her cookies with friends and family at the celebration of her life. I'm sure she would have been pleased.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:40AM
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chase_gw

Oh Lee, I am so very sorry for you and Max. What a shock no wonder your devastated.

Helen will be in my prayers as will you and Max.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:45AM
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teresa_nc7

Lee and Max, I'm so sorry for your loss. These things can happen so suddenly and unexpectedly especially when the person is older. Do post here often if it helps you deal with your loss. We're all here for you.

Teresa

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:46AM
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dedtired

What sad news. I am so sorry to hear of He;en's loss, and so unexpectedly. I suppose the only consolation is that she did not suffer a long and drawn out death. Most people hope to go that way -- participating in life until the end.

Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me remember to enjoy every minute with those I love. It can be over in an instant. How wonderful that she lives on in your good memories.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:47PM
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lsr2002

Thank you all for your support and prayers.

Christmas cookies were always a huge project for her, fourteen kinds, and dozens and dozens of each. Everyone looked forward to them each year and the plates, trays and boxes of them that were given away were always stacked high. Our son and DIL have already said that when I find her recipes (which I know are in her recipe box) that they will carry on the tradition. That is an especially wonderful gesture because our DIL already makes dozens and dozens of Italian cookies and huge stacks of pizzelles for Christmas. She told me that she and Michael had talked about making cookies with Helen next year so that the tradition would not be lost. I'm glad we have the recipes. I will take on the pies that she made for family gatherings through out the rest of the year. I haven't made more than half a dozen pies in all the years of marriage because hers were so good. I'll probably need your help with the crust.

I know she got excellent care but it was still hard for me to be in the same ICU where I spent too many weeks a year ago. Max was told several times that it was uncertain if I would survive the night but each time they pulled me through. We did not even consider a different outcome for Helen.

I am grateful for this group of friends.

Lee

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:51PM
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cotehele

Lee,
I am so sorry for your loss.
Judy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 1:30PM
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publickman

You have my deepest condolences and are in my thoughts and prayers. This must be doubly difficult for you, considering the situation you were in earlier this year, especially since you were in the same ICU. I hope you are getting all the help you need to cope with this loss.

Lars

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:11PM
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compumom

Double hugs going out for you all after realizing that it was the same ICU, but a year apart.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:12PM
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mustangs81

Very sincere condolences for your loss. Know what a fine and gentle man Max is, I can imagine his mother being equally as wonderful. It must have been rough on you have to go to the the same ICU.

What a shock going from making dinner plans with Mom to making the "other" plans. I can't imaging your pain.

(((Cathy)))

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Georgysmom

So very sorry for your loss. What a wonderful legacy your mother-in-law left behind. Prayers for Helen and your family.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Bizzo

Oh, Lee, I am crying over your tragedy. Please accept my prayers for your family.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:45PM
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foodonastump

Prayers from me, too. What a sad story; it's not supposed to go that way. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 3:27PM
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claire_de_luna

I too, am so sorry for your loss; it's especially hard to hear that it was unexpected. I'll be thinking of you in the days ahead.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 3:34PM
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Carol Schmertzler Siegel

Lee, I am so sorry for your loss! Please accept my heartfelt condolences and sincerest sympathies. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 12:15AM
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sally2_gw

Lee, I am so saddened by your and Max's loss. The cookies and pies will be such a wonderful way to remember and honor her memory. My heart and prayers and hugs go out to you and Max.

Sally

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 7:53AM
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jessyf

Lee, couldja post a picture of her.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 8:07AM
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eileenlaunonen

Very sad....My condolences to you & your family!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 8:22AM
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mtnester

I'm very sorry for your loss.

Sue

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:18AM
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sheshebop

Lee, my heart is with you and Max. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your dear mother in law/mother. No matter what age they are, is is very hard. Especially when it is so sudden.
(((virtual hugs)))
Sherry

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 4:19PM
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BeverlyAL

Lee, I'm so terribly sorry for yours and Max's loss. It would have been bad at any time, but to be so sudden and unexpected must be horrible. I'm keeping you both in my heart.

Beverly

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 5:35PM
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lakeguy35

Lee and Max, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Know that you and the family are in my thoughts and prayers.

David

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 8:50PM
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petaloid

I send prayers for your strength in getting through this tough time. All the best to you and the family.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 9:22PM
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KatieC

I'm sorry, Lee. My condolences to you, Max and your family.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:37PM
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trixietx

I am so sorry, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 7:47AM
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