The clouds are gray. The rain is lightly coming down. And slowly the snow is melting. Today is much different than yesterday. I have that large lump in my throat as I try not to let myself feel the heart ache, but my heart aches so much that no matter how strong I keep trying, I can’t help but to have moments today that are just tears.
I debated on if I should write or keep it all inside for the right timing, but it seems that writing is my therapy – my way to get out these thoughts, tears and memories.
Saturday evening our family received a prayer request from church and to my surprise it was a prayer request from our cousin – Our uncle Ted was in the hospital. The text came in: “Hello family, this is Ryan Moore. My father, Ted Moore is at St Patrick’s hospital in Missoula Mt. His heart stopped but they revived him. I don’t know the details yet just ask that my family please ask the Lord for his hand in this. His will. I love my father very much. He prayed me into the kingdom. Please pray for his soul and life. I love you all. Bless you. Thank you.”
My husband and I knew that tomorrow (Sunday) the only place we needed to be, is next to him. We knew that our visit would make him smile.
Uncle Ted is this amazing man that loved his family so dearly. You can feel it ooze from him as he was around. He talked to highly of his sons, his dad, his brother and my husband. He is an amazing storyteller and has this laugh that sounds like he is trying to whisper it as not to get busted that he was laughing. I got to have him in my life through marriage and that has been such a beautiful gift of life. I have seen his eyes when he lost his youngest son and I have seen his eyes when he was there when our last baby was born. My little Jack is actually named after him – Jackson Theodore Charlebois.
We have had the pleasure of him living with us for a short while and I watched him keep my hubby and other guys in line at work- keeping them motivated and enjoying life at the moment. He loves to tell you stories of when he was younger or even better, he loved to tell stories of when my husband was younger. Hahahah – his favorite story to share is the time he was swimming with my husband when he was young and his mom stepped inside for a moment. Uncle Ted was doing backflips off the diving board and Charley wanted to know how to do that. So,Uncle Ted taught him. Charley’s mom was not too thrilled when she came back outside to witness Charley’s new talent. He is so proud of my husband – so proud and happy of what he has done in life. He blessed Charley is to have his family be so proud of him. If you were to walk into a conversation they were having, you could bet you would hear them go back and forth on movie quotes – especially Harley Davidson And The Marlboro Man
Uncle Ted believed in working hard and he shared that very openly. He came from a family line of men that worked hard – told stories of a cowboy life. He holds his brother (my father in law) on a pedastool and has always been so proud of him and his time that he served in the military. You could troll Uncle Ted’s facebook page and see posts about his brother and songs that he dedicated to his wife, Erica.
He is so in love with Erika. She swept him off his feet and when you saw him, he just floated on cloud 9. He loves to share his heart through music and I think that is just amazing. Last month he posted this – “Could you imagine Erika and me 30 years ago. This would be us. She is till hot. I love that girl, let me tell you she is still hot!” and posted the song Somethin Bout A Truck by Kip Moore. Makes me smile so big because he is not afraid to tell you how much you mean to him.
My best birthday was actually the year we moved from Colorado back to Idaho. My hubby took care of everything during the move- my only job was to drive the extra car and enjoy the journey. One of our favorite family vacation spots is LoLo MT – and the long hike to Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. I always seem to complain of the hike but enjoy it once we reach the destination. I do not know how my husband deals with me most of the time, but he keeps on smiling. For this birthday, we made sure to stop in Montana. We actually made plans to have breakfast with Uncle Ted and Erika before making the rest of the journey. The kids were all excited and hyper to see Uncle Ted. They loved it when they got to spend time with him. He was like a magnet for them. The kids constantly wanting to talk to him, play with him, ride in his car with him, and sit with him. He is Uncle Ted- we all adore him.
Later that day after enjoying our family hike to the hot springs, we met up with Erika and Uncle Ted and actually camped the night at one of the campgrounds. It was wonderful. We BBQ’ed, had a bonfire and that evening him and I went across the street to the local bar and had a celebratory birthday drink together. We even played the slot machines but I can’t remember if we won anything.
Uncle Ted – he reminds you that family sticks together and loves everyone. I too, am so proud to call him MY UNCLE too.
Sunday morning we loaded up the car and headed to Montana, it was just a few minutes after leaving did we hear the news. On that Saturday evening he had taken a bite of a hot dog and choked on it. Erika could see that it was lodged and tried giving him the heimlich, but was not having any luck. Their neighbor came over and also tried. When the ambulance arrived his heart had stopped, but thankfully they were able to get it going again, but he was still not breathing. He shortly began having seizures at the hospital. He at that moment we were driving, was still on the ventilator and is in ICU.
We arrived at the hospital that afternoon to find out that after the brain scan, things were not looking good. Unfortunatly he was not responding to any of the tests. For the moment, all we could do was wait in the waiting room till the tests were finished so we could go see him. I have never been in that spot before – waiting to go back to see a loved one that was in a bad medical condition. Erika sat across the room and I could only think of what she was thinking – what could I do. I prayed. I prayed as hard as I could. I don’t even know if the words I was saying to myself were making any sense. My kids sat on the other side of the waiting room – not really knowing what was going on. We tried to give them enough information to not freak them out or completely upset them. Being the age that they are, there were tears and there were some confusion. A few didn’t understand how come they couldn’t go see him. After all, the plan was to go see Uncle Ted. Erika is there but why couldn’t he go see Uncle Ted.
My husband sat next to me and I could see him thinking a million miles per second. My heart broke in pieces for him. He is the strong one. And then I see Ryan, walking the hall. Waiting like we were just to go see him. Although he had been here since last night, he still wanted to be next to him- just like we all did.
We finally get to go back to see him. The room was small and filled with so many machines, tubes, buttons, monitors. But I was happy to go in and tell him we are all there and that we love him. I sat and watched the machine breath for him and kept an eye on the monitor. It almost did not feel real that we were there. In all of that chaos, I could just hear him laughing. Seeing him smile that we were all together.
There was a nurse in the room that was nice to tell us all what the machines were all for. Then it made me realize that it didn’t seem like any of the doctors or nurses were really trying to explain much to Erika. She is feeling helpless- powerless to do anything- to help in any physical way. The nurse updated us on his brain scan and tests and she said unfortunately it is not looking good. The reflex testing that they did – pinching the nail bed, touching the eyes – all came back as no response. They currently had to keep him highly sedated because he was just having seizures non stop and they kept his temperature low to give his brain a rest. From that point, all we could do was wait. That evening they were going on the 24 hour mark and had planned on bumping up his temperature slowly and hopefully start seeing an improvement in brain activity.
After a few minutes, I gave the room back to Erika and Ryan to be with Unlce Ted and I went back to the waiting room to sit with Charley and the kids. Together we both agreed that we did not want the kids to go back to see Uncle Ted – we wanted them to not have that vision of him with the machines – we wanted to keep the memories they already had the way they were. It was then that I realized that this was the way that Charley had last seen his mom. He has told me but some reason I never really let that sink in. Today we stood in that hospital thinking we were going to see our Uncle in a hospital gown with a tray of hospital food, cracking jokes, but instead…. just bringing up memories both good… and sad. I couldn’t help but feel helpless as I watched my husband with tears in his eyes as he shared his heart about not letting the kids see Uncle Ted and how he tried to erase that same vision when he last saw his mom. Nothing I could say or do could help or comfort him. Actually there was nothing I could do for anyone. Just keep praying. God is almighty and powerful and can do amazing things, we just have to wait now.
What do we do as parents right now??? Do we just go home??? Do we camp out int he hospital passed visiting hours to hear something?? Do I try to get Charley to stay to be there for Ryan and Erika?? Do we say our good byes??? Do we act like things are going to be different when the evening rolls around?? What is the right prayer?? What exactly do we share with the kids?? So many questions and no clear answers. Last thing we want to do is make our family feel like we abandoned them.
When Charley went to go talk to Ryan and Erika, the kids started coming up and asking questions- can we go home? Why can’t we go see Uncle Ted? Is dad ok?? All I could keep saying is that Uncle Ted is not feeling so well and right now only the adults can go see him. To the older boys, I had to explain that right now he has a machine to help him breath, but I couldn’t say any more as soon as he started to cry. My son that has the same love for everyone and life, I had to sit there and watch his eyes well up with tears. He stood there like a man would- trying to be strong and understanding. But with one blink those tears fell and when it landed on the chair, my heart just wept. As a mom, a wife and a woman, I want to just take care of everyone around me. How do I help them?? How can I bring them comfort??
So today as I am trying to help them and wait for an update, I will read back on memories, photos and facebook timelines and try to be the best comforter I can be to my children, my family and my husband. To all my friends and extended family, I just ask for you to pray for Uncle Ted, Ryan, Erika and Charley.
As many memories I have with Unlce Ted, personally, and as many as Charley has with him, I am saddened that we never pushed to record those simple memories on film. My Unlce Ted is a sneaky camera person, always trying to not be in the picture unless I gave him a hard time – we are a lot alike in that sense. The images that I do have… they make me smile and for that I am so grateful. And if we receive a miracle and he opens his eyes, I will grab my camera and get my photo of him and I together, because he is my family- my favorite uncle.
I had to go back to his timeline again and just listen to his music requests he puts on. I know I have told you that he is so in love with Erika – makes me wonder why I am so scared to tell or show people how much I love them- even if it is just a song post. A recent song he posted I want to share with you.
I can see why they’re all talkin’
Lookin’ back at my past
I’ve got a bad name, but a man can change
I’m livin’ proof of that
Til my last day
Til my last breath
Of everyone that can, I can love you the best
Til my last day, I’ll be lovin’ you
All the way up, til they lay me down
Six feet under, the cold hard ground
Til my last day, I’ll be lovin’ you
Baby I might meet all my friends
Shoot the bull, have a beer or two
But you know I’ll be the first one to leave
In a hurry to get to you
Somewhere deep inside your angel eyes
I found a place to rest, don’t ever doubt that
I’ll be around, and baby don’t you ever forget
Til my last day
Til my last breath
I am not sure if he is having a conversation with God – I imagine them sitting together in the sunshine of the mountains talking about the good times and laughing together. And I am sure his son, Kevin and my Mother In Law, Linda are all gathered around them too telling him how proud and grateful they are for all the love he has shown to everyone in his path. I don’t know what God’s plan is for my Uncle Ted, I can only trust in Him and pray so deeply for my family.
If you follow my posts or blog you have read about how passionate I am about documenting your life. Do it! It is so important to just do it- in any way you can. Take the picture- record a video. Then… get them off the phone and camera and PRINT them.Don’t let your memories get deleted or lost. You have so many people in your life that are special. Don’t put it off for another day.