intro by Di…
Pete found it deeply painful to write this account about the death of his daughter, Maryann. It’s the first time he has told this deep hurt he has carried silently in his heart.
I know Pete well, such a loving man, a life devoted to responding to the needs of others, a soul full of compassion.
May our loving community here reach out arms of healing to you, Pete!
We are so thankful you stepped into your courage to share your deep hurt
My Beloved Maryann. The Silence is deafening!
“Maryann was the elder of 3 children. Because of this, she held a special place in my heart. That does not mean that I loved her more than my other 2 children, I could not love anyone more than I love each of my kids.
Shirley, my present wife, and I were sitting at home watching television in Florida. The phone rang and it was my son, calling from New York, telling me that they rushed Maryann to the hospital. Knowing that she was an asthmatic, I did not immediately think it was that serious. However, when Shirley called the ER and talked to a friend that she knew when she was riding the ambulance. They were “Bagging” Maryann, she was not breathing and they were essentially breathing for her. Things were starting to look more serious than I thought.
The next morning, I had to find out who her doctor was and I called him. I asked him what her condition was. Instead of answering my question, he asked where I was calling from. When I told him I was in Florida, he stated that I should get there as soon as I could. I got myself booked on the first flight out of Orlando in the morning.
I have flown many times into La Guardia Airport with little or no problems. This time was different however. Waiting by the carousel to get my bag, I waited and waited and my bag never showed. What to do? I was tempted to just leave and forget about it; but I went to the airline’s desk and told them my bag was missing and my daughter was dying and they could send it to me when and if they found it. They were very nice and asked me to hang around for just a few minutes. After just a short while it was found and my best buddy, Alfred, and I were on our way to see my daughter. I have to say that Alfred was the kind of buddy everyone should have. He met me at the airport and stayed with me for the entire ordeal. THANK YOU ALFRED.
Arriving at Hudson Valley Hospital Center, I went directly to Maryann’s room in ICU. There she was with tubes coming out of every opening in her body and the resuscitator was running by her side. The heart monitor was going beep, beep, beep… She was still my beautiful daughter but somehow I knew that there was a great part of her missing. I held her hand and it was still warm and full of life. I felt maybe a miracle would occur and she would sit up and say “Hello Daddy”. I prayed that she would.
I met with her doctor. He had nothing good to tell me. He told me however that I should go home and be back here early in the morning. He said that there was a big decision to be made. I knew what he meant and I was absolutely devastated. For the first time that I could remember, my eyes filled with tears and I began to cry. These were the first of many tears I would shed during this awful time.
I was in a daze. Alfred and I left the hospital. All I can remember about that night was thinking that tomorrow I would have to tell the doctors to remove the life support from my Maryann and she was going to die. I said to Alfred let’s get a bottle of scotch. He told me that there was no way I would be drinking tonight. AGAIN THANK YOU ALFRED.
After a long and anguishing night, Alfred picked me up and we went to the hospital. I went to see my daughter. She was the same as I left here last night. No miracles had occurred and the heart monitor was going beep, beep, beep… Her hand was still very warm. I said a rosary by her side. The nurse came in and told me that I was to meet the doctor shortly.
Eventually my ex-wife, Aileen, Maryann’s husband, Michael, and my ex-mother in law appeared. We were taken into a private room and we discussed harvesting organs from my daughter. No earthly words can express how painful this ordeal was. I will not even try. The outcome of the meeting was that everything was subject to donation with the exception of her eyes. Michael for some reason would not agree to this.
I went back to see Maryann one last time. The heart monitor was silent.
It now fell on me to make all the arrangements for the funeral. I contacted a funeral director that I knew from my days living in New York and made arrangements for him to come and get the body. I met him in the funeral home and picked out a casket and made the plans for the wake that we were going to have. Just 1 night, that is all I could take. There was a myriad of other details that had to be worked out. I was kept very busy during this time and in reality it was a blessing.
My wife and my other daughter arrived after driving up from Florida. I was so great to see them. I felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I would now have some support through this ordeal.
The day of the wake had arrived. Looking at my gorgeous daughter lying in the coffin was heart stopping. There she was, still as beautiful as ever but I knew that it was just a small part of what she once was. I must have stood there and looked at her for quite a while. I prayed that she was with the Lord and very happy. I knew she was. It was surprising to see the number of people that came to the wake. Maryann in her last job was working at the school with young children and she must have touched a lot of people.
Every time I went to the coffin to look at her, my grief would be so much that I actually could feel a pain in my chest. Now I know the meaning of a broken heart.
The funeral was anticlimactic. The most painful part was before we went to the church and before the final closing of the coffin. I stood there looking at her for the last time. I took her in my arms and gave her a big goodbye kiss. The coffin was closed and it was over.”
“THE HEART MONITOR WAS SILENT”
wrapping up by Di …
There is One Love, and we are that Love..The heart of this loving
community is not silent, Pete. Thank you for opening your broken
heart to share with us the devastating pain you have held for years.
Perhaps that is the only way you have been able to “hold” your
precious Maryann. We hold you now, ever so gently, along with all
parents who have had this kind of broken heart.
Let our One Love “raise you up on eagles’ wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the Palm of Love’s Hand.”
invitation to chime in…
I know at least 5 parents who have lost a child. Some of you
may be reading this. Can we gather more names in this space?
Is there a way we can just “sit with you,”
heart to heart, in a sacred communion of souls, surrounding
you with love and sacred partnership as long as you must grieve?
If anyone can speak at all, please share your heart in the comments
below. If you cannot find words, please share your living
heartbeat. For we are all the visible image of the invisible,
Loving Life that “raises us up to more than we can be.”1
1 from the song “You Raise Me Up” by Rolf Løvland and Brendan Graham.
(Your comments will be included in the Ebook Keepsake you will receive after the 12 days are done.) 😜 “wink”
links to previous pages
(in case you missed it). . .
DAY 1 – Magenta: Waiting in Darkness
DAY 2 – JFP: Living after Heart surgery and 5 strokes
DAY 3 – JANE: Visiting Family – Layers of Love and Grief
DAY 4 – JFS: Loss of Someone to Care For
DAY 5 – SANDY: Allowing my Beloved Partner’s Memory to Live on