Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest post from my sister Shannon: Getting hit with the news

Today's and tomorrow's posts are from my sister Shannon. In this post, she shares what she went through those first days and weeks after Aimee's death.

I can still see the moment in my head… was a Sunday. I was sitting at the desk in my office when the phone rang. It was my mom. I don’t remember her exact words, but she said something like “I have some bad news”. I thought she was going to tell me that something had come up and she wouldn’t be able to follow through with her plans to take me and my kids to the Nutcracker for Christmas. I thought, “well that would suck, but it’s not the end of the world.” But when she said ”Aimee was killed today”, I didn’t believe her. I thought, “what a horrible thing to say….that’s not funny”. But I knew she wasn’t joking; she would never joke about something like that. I don’t remember much after that. I know she told me it was an accident on a scuba boat, something about the boat flipping. I screamed, and screamed, I walked upstairs and vomited several times. I just kept thinking about my brother’s Facebook post that morning. It still sticks in my head: “Taking Rowan to the Aquatic center today. Aimee is going scuba diving, crossing it off of her ‘bucket list’. I’m happy for her, but I will be happier when she comes back safely.” Those words haunt me to this day.


I have never had anyone close to me die suddenly, and I was totally unprepared for dealing with the flood of emotions that has followed. It is all still such a blur of emotions that I have never dealt with and that overwhelmed me on many, many occasions.
Here are the memories that really stick with me:
~ I remember the last time I had saw Aimee. It had just been on Thanksgiving. Patrick had gone to work that Friday. Aimee and I were in the basement playing with Rowan. We had a tea party. She was such an amazing mother, balancing her conversation with me, while never letting Rowan feel like she was bothering her, but still somehow staying completely engaged in whatever it was we were talking about. We talked about them coming for a visit after Christmas and taking Rowan sledding. 
Shannon picked this photo. It's Aimee, Rowan
and I at her house, Christmas 2009
~On the day she died, I was Christmas shopping for my kids, I bought them sleds….I also bought one for Aimee and Rowan for when they came to visit….I later found out that she probably died at the same time I was buying that sled. It is still in my garage, never been used. I took it out once when we went sledding, but I couldn’t bring myself to use it. It just sat there next to the truck like a blaring reminder of her not being there. Every time I see it I am reminded of that day. The future plans that will never come.
~Going to my brother’s house the day he returned from Florida, and everyone leaving to go here or there.  I'm left alone in their house - her house. Taking a shower... is that Aimee’s shampoo? Her razor? Her body wash? I had to get out, I didn’t even finish. I came out of the bathroom, and what's staring at me? Pictures on the wall: wedding pictures, pictures of her and my brother, her and Rowan... oh my God!!! I have to get out of here. I left.
~Going back for my first visit after the memorial. We went to dinner at Olive Garden and my brother looked terrible. My heart ached so badly for him.  We went back to his house and played with Rowan in the basement, where I had last seen Aimee. I thought, "I can’t lose it in front of my brother, he has enough to deal with." I left his house around 9 and started crying the minute I got in my car. When I got back to my hotel. I can honestly say it was the loneliest I have ever felt. It was like that night lasted forever. Alone with thoughts of my brother, my 4 year old niece, and of Aimee dead. Horrible thoughts were swirling through my head - visions of her drowning. What was she thinking about? Was she scared, or did she find peace in God? Did she think of Pat and Rowan? Every time I closed my eyes I saw her drown, over and over and over again. I hope that is the closest to hell that I'll ever come.  I was up all night crying.

~I had a meeting for work the next morning at 7. My boss told me I looked like hell and to go home. On my way back home, I got stuck in a snow storm going over the mountains, and they closed the mountain pass. I got to sit there, alone with my thoughts again. It was literally like spending 2 days in hell. I kept thinking that I must have done something to make God angry and this was his way of punishing me. Probably two of the most painful days I have experienced in my 38 years of life.

~When I got home I collapsed from exhaustion, and I had a dream. Aimee was standing next to my bed saying “It was just a bad dream….I’m not dead….It was just a bad dream.” I woke up screaming and couldn’t go back to sleep.

~On a more recent visit we were watching “Tangled” and the main characters were trapped in a cave filling with water. They were going to drown, and I couldn’t handle it. All I could see was Aimee and what could have been her fear while she was drowning. I had to go outside. I sat in my car and cried. I couldn’t stop. When I did come back in, I said I was tired and went to bed in the guest room. I laid there staring at the closet where Aimee’s coat still hung. I cried more.

Every time Rowan talks about her mommy, my eyes swell with tears. My heart is not breaking for Aimee. She is in heaven. My heart is breaking for my brother who must live without his wife, for Rowan who must live without her mother, and for Donna who must live without her daughter.

1 comment:

  1. Altho I have not met you or your brother, my brother Joe Monto is a friend of Pats and was a friend of Aimee's. These posts have filled me with sadness and hope. The love you all had for Aimee is breathtaking. Through my tears I read the posts and hope for you all.