December 24-26, 2016

aka "why I haven't felt like listing for the past few months" .... oops I wrote a novel, you don't have to read it, my b
  1. DECEMBER 24
  2. Christmas Eve is my mom's parents' anniversary. We call them Granther and Grey. 2016 was their 62nd year of marriage.
  3. Because it's their anniversary, our family always celebrates Christmas with them on the 24th instead of the 25th.
  4. So that morning, Grey vacuumed their house in preparation for the whole family to be over there, and went to Costco to get some ice. And my mom got up to run to Target and get some last minute things she needed for dinner that night.
  5. There was a wreck in the intersection by Target, and as she was about to turn into the parking lot, she realized that one of the cars was Grey's.
  6. She parked her car in the middle of the street and jumped out and ran up and asked a cop, "Who was in that car?!"
  7. Having to physically restrain her, he said, "Ma'am, who are you looking for?" and she said "James Barton, I'm his daughter!"
  8. He said, "Stay calm, but, yes, that was him. They just put him in that ambulance and you need to get in there with him." So she gave him her keys so he could move her car out of the road, and jumped in the back of the ambulance with Grey.
  9. Grey was not breathing when they found him. They had resuscitated him, but he was still unconscious.
  10. In the ambulance, my mom called her mom and then my dad and said "I just drove up on Grey in a wreck, I'm in the ambulance with him, it doesn't look good, get the family together and meet us at the hospital."
  11. Then Grey coded again, so she hung up while the paramedics brought him back for a second time.
  12. My dad woke me up and said "Grey's been in an accident, your mom is with him, get dressed right now, we're going up there."
  13. On the way to the hospital, we called my sister, who had spent the night at a friend's house the night before and told her what happened.
  14. When we walked into the ER, one of my aunts was already in the waiting room. She had driven Granther up there. Granther and my mom were in the back with Grey still.
  15. Another aunt and a cousin showed up, and between all of us, we kinda pieced together what had happened from the various phone calls.
  16. In the ER, Grey's heart stopped again, and again they were able to resuscitate him.
  17. My mom's best friend showed up.
  18. We were updated that he was stable and they were moving him to the Cardio ward, so that they could put in a temporary pacemaker, until they could put in a permanent one on Monday.
  19. We got our own private waiting room in the Cardio ward, and eventually all the aunts and uncles and cousins had arrived.
  20. We all waited as the doctors struggled to get the temporary pacemaker in.
  21. When they eventually succeed, we all took turns going in pairs to see Grey and squeeze his hand.
  22. Around dinner time, we were all hungry, not having eaten anything all day. So my cousins, Grace and Caroline, and I drove to my grandparents' house to get all the food that was prepared for Christmas that night and bring it up to the hospital for us all to eat there.
  23. It was really weird walking into that house. There was half-mixed cake batter in the kitchen and half wrapped presents in the back office, from where my grandmother and aunt had jumped up to get to the hospital. I went back there to get some wool socks for Grey that he was supposed to open as a present that night anyway.
  24. Grey's best friend, Wes, stopped by while we were there with his Christmas present for Grey. We didn't know if we should/how to tell him what had happened, so we just said "we're the only ones here right now, but thank you, we'll make sure he gets it!" And called my mom to tell her that somebody should call Wes and tell him.
  25. We headed back up to the hospital, with boxes and coolers full of food and drinks. Our family had really made ourselves at home. But hey, it was Christmas Eve.
  26. We ate and laughed and cried and played cards and played Catch Phrase and continued to take turns going to talk to Grey til it was almost midnight.
  27. My mom and one aunt and my Grandmother stayed up there all night, but the rest of us went home to sleep and come back in the morning.
  28. Even though Grey was stable, he was still intubated and unconscious and the doctors were not giving us any hope or good news.
  29. My sister and I slept in our parents bed with our dad. I couldn't sleep for a long time and I wrote this in the notes on my phone around 2 AM:
    In my head, I know that my grandparents are old. Logically, I know that they will pass away in the next few years. But in my heart, I cannot fathom that. My soul is not ready to live in a reality without Jim or Pat Barton. I can't understand how the world will keep turning. I do not know what our family will do without them. I know it's inevitable, but, dear God, I don't want it to happen.
  30. DECEMBER 25
  31. We all woke up to find missed calls from the people who stayed at the hospital, that Grey had woken up around 3 AM!!! They extubated(?) him and he was breathing on his own! He was alert and totally himself again!!
  32. It was a Christmas miracle!
  33. All the doctors and nurses had never seen anything like it, they were shocked and so happy to celebrate with our family.
  34. The doctor said "He's gonna be fine! Jim, you're gonna be okay!"
  35. So throughout the day, the whole family went up there at different times and hugged him and talked with him and laughed with him and assured him we didn't mind postponing Christmas til he was home.
  36. Getting to talk to my grandad again was the greatest Christmas present ever.
  37. That afternoon, my dad and I went to Christmas with his side of the family, while my mom and sister stayed at the hospital.
  38. Afterwards, we went to my cousins' house where some of the family was having a mini Christmas, mostly just to eat some of the food that people from church had already started bringing our family.
  39. We all went to bed, so thankful for our Christmas miracle and thinking that it was all going to turn out okay.
  40. DECEMBER 26
  41. In the early hours of the morning, Grey coded again and they brought him back again.
  42. He was alive, but re-intubated, unconscious, and this time the doctors said there really wasn't any hope that he would improve again. His 86-year-old body had been through too much.
  43. And so my grandmother signed the Do Not Resuscitate papers.
  44. At this point, my mom and the family members who had stayed up there with her that night, began to call the rest of the family.
  45. My dad finally woke up on about the 15th call at like 5:30 AM. And he woke me and my sister up. We each had at least 10 missed calls as well.
  46. We drove up to the hospital, knowing that this time we were driving up there to say goodbye.
  47. We spent the morning taking turns holding Grey's hand and talking to him, not really sure if he could hear us.
  48. I think there were 22 of us all packed in his room together.
  49. In addition to the family, TONS of friends came throughout the morning to hug us and pray with us and talk to Grey one last time.
  50. Shortly after noon, the doctor came in and even though we could have kept Grey's body alive, we knew that wouldn't really be a life, especially not for him. So the decision that we all knew was going to happen, was officially made to turn the machines off.
  51. The doctor apologized and said "I never tell people 'it's gonna be okay.' I know that I can't make promises like that, and I am so so sorry that I said that to you all yesterday. I just really did believe that he was going to be fine."
  52. His sweet nurse told us that she wished she could have known him, that she could tell he was an amazing man, and that she was blessed by our family.
  53. When it was just the family and that one nurse in the room, we sang "I'll Fly Away" and "Blessed Assurance" and "It Is Well" while the nurse got everything ready.
  54. She turned the machine off and we sang "Amazing Grace" and Grey passed away at some point during the song.
  55. I immediately left the room, because he was gone, and for me, there was no reason to stay in there and cry over his body.
  56. The rest of the day was a blur.
  57. It was the hardest day of my life, but I'm so glad that he went peacefully, and it wasn't a long drawn-out struggle. And I'm weirdly glad that it was the holidays because that meant the whole family was able to be there and be together.
  58. But it sucked so bad, and these past few months I really haven't been myself.
  59. I heart still aches and I miss that man more than I can express.