I hadn’t done any Easter shopping for my other two young children so my mom and I went out to try to get some treats and toys for the kids for their baskets. Everything was picked over and I couldn’t find malted eggs. I don’t know why malted eggs are such an important tradition except that when I was a kid we would use the waxy coating to make pastel pink and blue and white lipstick and then threaten to kiss our brothers and they’d run scared. I don’t even like the taste of malted eggs but it was tradition so we went to three stores trying to get them. In the end we settled for jelly beans and Starbursts and some chocolate bunnies. It’s embarrassing now to think that I spent such precious hours prior to her death rushing through dollar stores to find cheap candy that I don’t even like in order to fulfill an artificial expectation of an artificial tradition.
That night I slept for about five hours and then helped the nurse give Jasmine a bath and change her into clean warm jammies. Mom helped get the kids ready for church and my ex took them to our ward Easter meetings.
I held Jasmine for a while and noticed that her skin seemed cool and she was quite weak. We put her heart monitor on and she reached up to me with her tiny arms and then her eyes rolled back in her head and I knew at that moment that she was dying. I screamed and the nurse and my mom started to give her CPR. The ambulance came in just four minutes and I climbed in the back with the paramedics while they tried to get a device into her tiny throat. They didn’t have one small enough and so just kept trying to breathe life into her as we careened through town to the highway.
They were doing major construction on the two lane highway and had cut the road deeply on both sides and were only allowing single lanes of cars to go through the 1 mile construction section. Sirens blaring and no where for cars to move out of the way made for a surreal waiting game as our line snaked slowly through the construction. Finally we were at the hospital and they rushed her into the emergency room.
My mom went to the church and picked up Doug1 and the kids and brought them to the hospital but by then they’d been working on Jasmine for 1/2 hr.. I went into the emergency room and demanded that the paramedics and nurses STOP. “JUST STOP! IT’S ENOUGH! LET HER GO!” I demanded. But Doug was not ready yet and told them that I was just too emotional and to keep trying. He and another LDS man who had arrived reached in and gave her a blessing and Doug commanded God to restore her health by the power of his holy priesthood. After 45 minutes of intense effort they finally had her hooked up to a breathing machine and they decided to life flight her back to Cedars Sinai where there were more skilled doctors. I think they just didn’t want her death on their books.
So we drove the 90 miles to Beverly Hills and discussed the situation with the doctors. They told us that all her vital organs were shutting down and that they could keep working on her but the odds were not good. They told us that we needed to make a decision very soon if they were going to keep trying heroic measures to extend her life. We asked them to leave us alone in the room while we made that decision.
I begged Doug to let her go and he reminded me that he was the one holding the keys of the Priesthood and he was the one closer to God and his will. He reminded me that I was too cynical, too full of doubt and not tuning into the blessings that God had for us. I got on my knees and begged him to let her go and after 1/2 hr. the doctors knocked on the door and told us that we had to decide now. Finally Doug relented and said, “Let this be on YOUR head”.
I walked into the ICU and the nurses guided me as I removed the tubes and needles stuck in her spent little body. They weren’t allowed to remove them due to California law but I could. It was so strange, so surreal and the smells and sounds were like something out of a science fiction story.
Finally she was free of the artificial anchors and I held her as she gasped and the air that had been forced into her escaped. In that nanosecond I feared that I had made a mistake and that she was actually still trying to live, but the nurses explained that it was normal and how the body released all that was forced inside during those traumatic hours before her death.
Mom, Doug, and I took turns holding her until rigormortis set in about 20 minutes later and her arms and legs started to splay out and her body stiffened. We had them put her in the morgue and then we came home to our two kids and hugged them close. The lemon and orange trees were blossoming and the air smelled so sweet. We had a Jasmine vine climbing up the front porch and it too was heady with intoxicating sweet blossoms. Finally there was peace. Easter should be about Peace.
- The name has been changed to prevent you from finding this guy and kicking the crap out of him for the guilt trip he put his wife on.