Jaime died on a Saturday morning. The official coroner’s report says 12:59pm, but that’s just because the local ambulance crew did everything they could to try to save her for over an hour. I live in a small town, you see. Population 1,000. Really small. Everyone knew her and loved her, including the EMS crew, and nobody wanted to believe she could be dead. I still can’t believe she’s dead. Based on reports by her neighbor and her boyfriend, we know she left this earth sometime between 11:15 and 11:30 am on Saturday morning, March 15th, 2014.
How can that be real? How can I actually be typing that sentence about Jaime?
Those first few days are a blur of memories. Grief. Tears. Hysterical sobbing. Nonstop visits by friends & family. And the rare, early morning quiet moments. The horribly sad, painful, quiet moments.
She was only 27.
We didn’t let my in-laws go home those first two nights. They live just 15 minutes away up on the mesa outside of town, but we didn’t want them to be alone. We didn’t want to be alone.
That Monday morning I couldn’t sleep. After nursing my two month old at 3am, I laid in bed and cried and wrote this post on my phone because I was frantically wanting to not forget my final conversations with Jaime. Around 4am I still couldn’t sleep, so I came downstairs to read all of the beautiful messages people were leaving on Facebook. People can make fun of Facebook all they want for its shortcomings and tendency to incite pettiness & grandstanding, but I never understood the positive power of it until Jaime’s death. She had 1,286 Facebook friends, and we used to make fun of her that every time she left a party, she left with another Facebook “friend.” Then she died, and we spent hours and hours pouring over the beautiful messages & pictures that those same people were posting on Jaime’s page. It gave us comfort and brought us to tears more often than you’d believe.
On that particular morning, I quietly slipped downstairs at 4am. When I reached the foot of the stairs, I realized that my father-in-law was already sitting in the living room in my husband’s recliner, holding his iPad, looking through Facebook, and sobbing…quietly…by himself.
I didn’t say a word to him. We were about 40 hours into the nightmare at that point, and I just didn’t have anything left to say.
Instead, I pulled out my laptop, sat down on the couch five feet away from him, started reading the comments & perusing the pictures on Facebook myself, and sobbed in the dark with him.
We spent many, many hours locked in hugs with family & friends those first few days, but that quiet morning stands out in my mind as one of the most painful yet therapeutic moments of that first week – simply sobbing in the dark next to my father-in-law, a daddy who had just lost his little girl.