The horror movie playing in my head of finding my daughter stone cold dead on her couch is starting to fade. I am thankful for that because that's not how I want to remember her.
Yes, I freaked out. After calling 911 and giving them info in-between out-of-breath sobs, I started to scream. I just screamed and screamed and begged them to send someone to help. I have no idea how long it took for the cops to show up, but they did, and the dispatcher said I could hang up. Shortly after the cops arrived, an ambulance drove up....for me.
The cops led me outside and the EMTs took me inside the ambulance. The Washington County Medical Examiner was called. They all told me my daughter died peacefully, with no sign of distress or struggle, but no one could understand why. "Why, why did she die? How did this happen? Why?" I sobbed repeatedly. They asked permission to do an autopsy.
They wouldn't let me call my husband or my daughter in Indiana. Finally they sent three policemen to my husband's work and called him into HR. He freaked out not knowing what happened. They told him and he cried and HR cried. HR drove him home. After hubby and I were calmed down enough to talk they let us call others. Hubby called my older daughter's husband, thinking he might be able to tell her in person. That didn't work out. moments later my daughter in Indiana was calling me. I didn't know how to tell her. Finally I blurted out, "Your sister is dead!" I heard her shriek. Thankfully her long-time co-worker and friend rushed to her side. It was about 1:45 pm when I found her. I talked to my older daughter at 4:02 pm, and other people after that.
Later that evening, about 9 pm, my hubby took me to the ER, because I couldn't stop sobbing. After crying for over 7 hours I had a massive headache. They got me calmed down with a shot so at least I could sleep.
Let The Guilt Begin
It hit all of us. Guilt. My younger daughter was a grown woman of 41, yet we all beat ourselves up imagining different outcomes had we stepped in to take care of her.
Take care of her? How could we know?
Years ago, many years ago, when she was a young woman, she told me she thought she has PCOS.
She had no insurance at the time but I insisted to take her to the clinic and insisted I would pay. A doctor ordered a blood test, which came back normal. Some time after that she married and moved to Australia. She had health insurance there, and talked about getting checked out. I would remind her that she might have cysts on her ovaries. She never went.
Back in the USA 6 years later, she divorced and married again. Again I encouraged her to see a doctor, at least for a baseline mammogram and wellness check. I also reminded her that low thyroid runs in my side of the family, and to get that checked as well. Nope, never went.
My older daughter had some milder issues along similar lines. She also could not get pregnant. However, as she aged, her symptoms started to go away. She did get regular health checkups and she was and is healthy to this day. So when my younger daughter started loosing weight and telling me she felt great (and she looked 28), I didn't worry. That's how she was when she left her second husband and moved to Wisconsin to take care of me after my surgery in May 2016.
It was sometime around the beginning of this year that I noticed she was looking thin in the face. However, she told me she was fine, and was loosing weight by eating Oriental style. Occasionally we would shop together, or visit one another, since she lived in the adjacent apartment building. She was tired, but she was working full time and even some overtime. She was making new friends.
We took a walk at Harrington Beach State Park, her, me and hubby. She and I took tons of pictures. She seemed normal, but she ate slowly. I thought she wasn't eating enough. She said she was fine, but her tummy had been upset.
On May 29th we got together to eat here at me and hubby's apartment. She wanted to go out to eat, but our account was low and I wouldn't let hubby touch the savings, as we were trying to buy a house.
The discussion mostly revolved around what house we were going to look at and about the down payment. I had leftovers for her but forgot to send them.
May 31st was a bright, sunny day, breezy, with that fresh Wisconsin air. The blue sky was dotted with those puffy Wisconsin clouds. I texted her that I had leftovers for her and that I would bring them over. She said she would meet me. She took pictures of the sky. She took videos of the wind in the trees and the birds singing. She talked to the property manager for awhile. She came over, we all chatted awhile, looked at houses online, made plans. That evening we texted about plans to look at a house, the Lake House. The tenants were refusing a showing. It seemed Saturday would be the only option. It was a one hour showing....crazy. She didn't think she would be able to do that on her lunch break. My hubby made arrangements to switch days with someone so he and I could go together. Our realtor would be there because if it looked good, we would put in an offer.
The last text I got from my daughter was at 9:06 pm. It was not unusual for her to fall asleep mid conversation. She had done it for years. Her friend told me that was about the same time their conversation dropped off. Still not alarming. They had been making plans for my daughter to come down for a visit in July.
I went back to bed after my husband left for work at 6:30 am on June 1st. I was tired. I woke up about 9 am. I noticed my daughter had not texted "Good morning", usually about 8:30 am, on her lunch break. Maybe she hadn't taken it yet, I thought. She didn't always text me in the morning.
I had exciting news to share about a home loan and the down payment. I started texting her the good news.
Should I be concerned? Not really, it happened before, she forgot her phone in her car, or the battery ran down, or maybe she dropped it, or she was really busy at work.
Later that day I noticed it was past the time she should be home. I felt concerned. I grabbed my phone and her extra keys and decided to walk over to her building. Her car was parked. Suddenly I was scared, because how could she be home but not answer?
I knocked on her door. No answer. I went downstairs. She wasn't doing laundry. I ran back up and pounded on her door. No answer.
At 1:58 pm I texted, "It's mom here at your door. Are you ok?"
I unlocked the door.