WARNING: This post took me a while to actually get through. I started it a couple months ago and had to leave it for a while before finishing it up tonight. The tears are flowing. I’m not saying they will for you, but I thought it might be fair to throw out the warning just incase.
I think about the day Quinlan passed away a lot. I thought maybe getting it down on (figuratively speaking) paper, may give me a sense of peace in a way to see the emotions and descriptions in front of me. Or not. I dunno but I guess we’ll see.
I think about it on random days, not just anniversaries or holidays. I don’t think about it every day all day, but I think about it often. Not always in depth, but enough that it sometimes makes me stop what I’m doing and take a deep breath.
January 30, 2017 – I remember the night nurse yelling my name. He had done that a couple times before this day. We had even called 911 before. But this time was different. It was 5:30am, Bear had gotten up to use the bathroom and said he remembers hearing some of the alarms going off (which wasn’t an uncommon sound in our house at the time). But when the alarms are going off and the nurse is yelling “Lindsay, Lindsay!” you know something is wrong. I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to see Quinlan unresponsive. I remember the nurse saying “Call 911”. Bear called 911 and I just remember yelling Quinlan’s name over and over. I was shaking him. I remember thinking “is this really it?” It felt like forever before the first responders came. They laid him on the living room floor and I couldn’t watch. I remember him looking so old for some reason. He looked older then my baby had ever looked before. Bear and I sat downstairs trying to figure out what was going on. Crying, pacing, shaking. My sister, who was most definitely a nurse in a previous life, was in the midst of it all. I kept yelling up to her asking if anything had changed and she would look down at us and shake her head. I remember saying I had to call someone. I didn’t know who but I needed to tell someone what was going on. I called my brother to come pick us up and drive us to the hospital because, how could we drive. I remember the paramedics carrying Quinlan down the stairs to put him in the ambulance and all I could think was that it was cold out, make sure he had the blanket on him so he wouldn’t get cold.
They took him away in the ambulance, we were left with the police and our nurse. Our poor nurse who was so traumatized and all he wanted to do was go home to his family, understandably. I remember trying to clean up the mess left in the living room but were told immediately to leave it incase a further investigation needed to take place. I remember sitting on our front step when my brother pulled up, giving me a hug, and taking us to the hospital. I remember texting my boss to say that something happened to Quinlan and I wouldn’t be in work today. I remember saying that I don’t want to go if the words that the doctor was inevitably going to say were actually going to come out of his mouth. We walked into the ER, told them who we were, and they immediately took us into the dreaded room off to the side. Bear, my sister, my brother and I were sitting there when the doctor came in and said the words that no parent should ever have to hear. I remember screaming, crying, not knowing what to do, wanting to again call someone, wanting to throw up.
I called friends. Every one of them dropped everything and came to the hospital. I called nurses who we had grown close to. Our social worker. She came. I remember having my brother and sister call family members. I remember my brother telling us that detectives were going to come ask us some questions but that it is very routine in cases involving a child. I remember the doctor telling us that we can go in to see him but I wasn’t ready. I don’t remember how long we were at the hospital. But I remember people kept coming and it felt so nice to be surrounded by them. I remember finally being able to walk into the room to see him for the last time. I remember I kept telling him that’s he’s ok. We said a prayer, I asked if we could take some locks of his hair (he had the most amazing hair), and that was it. It wasn’t Quinlan in there. It was his shell and I didn’t feel the need to be in there any longer. I remember saying that I didn’t want to be at the hospital anymore and so I left. My brother drove me to his house and I remember saying something to the affect of “this sucks” and him telling me that nothing would ever be the same again. I remember needing to hear that.
We got to his house and people kept showing up. It was what we needed. I know I’ve said it a million times before but the amount of people that came to be with us that day was everything. Knowing how much every one of them loved Quinlan felt so comforting.
Doctors calling us. Nurses coming to visit us. Family and friends from all over bringing food and whatever else we needed. The rest of the day is somewhat a blur. I remember people reminding me to eat. I remember feeling so thirsty.
There was a lot of tears that day. But also A LOT of love. I remember I kept getting what I can only describe as signs throughout the next couple days. They seemed to be nods from above that he was in fact ok.
The days and weeks after that were not better, nor were they worse. They just were.
It’s been a year that I could never have imagined. A year that has changed my life forever. A year that has taught me almost as much as Quinlan did.