First Heaven Anniversary

Today is my sister’s one year anniversary in heaven. Happy one year of eternal bliss my lovely sister! You must be rocking out to some of your favorite 80s hits with grandma, enjoying heavenly fresh air and most likely hanging out with the Cranberries star Dolores O’Riordan. I do wish I was there to see that joy. However, you have sent me beautiful dreams this year to show me your happiness. Twelve dreams to be exact which gave me a glimpse of your life on the other side. And that number is quite impressive for being in heaven for only one year. Thank you my sister angel.

I promise you that those divine moments will be shared in upcoming posts…
Here is the tough part…

Today my heart drowns in tears as I replay your last day with us in my mind. I am going over the hours, minutes and those last raindrops we watched together as your breathing got worse. The overflow of tears on my cheeks as you held yours in. The stomach knots. The dizziness. The clouded thoughts. The prayers. It is all coming back. Today just hurts so much. Mostly because it feels like you JUST died hours ago…

I have been crying for hours and continue to cry as God speaks to me. I am seeking Him and praying to get through this day. I am praying for comfort and for the heartache which is lingering to subside. I am praying for strength to make it through today.

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“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

Many say the one year anniversary of someone’s death is the hardest. It is still fresh in your mind and clear as ever. You remember every detail that bonded you til the end. And here is an excerpt of it below. A short journal entry. Because if I were to include my feelings and thoughts from that day, I’d fill up hundreds of pages. The tears alone would keep me from publishing this post. And as much as it hurts writing this post, in some angelic way I feel closer to Iza. The spiritual connection is enlightened. And that is why I am sharing that bittersweet day with the world. Because I love her so much and want others to know how cancer ends for a young soul.

I hope lives will be touched in some way. Mostly because journals are meaningful and the depth of those words truly ignite your soul…
April 5, 2017

The death of my sister.

The night before was unbearable. Intense crying and stomach cramps visualizing a possible miracle.

10:00 a.m. Oncologist told me: “Iza might not make it home. She’s in her last hours of life.”

11:00 a.m. We drove home together in the ambulance. “She made it! Of course she would. She is the strongest woman I know. I love her so much. She is my sister angel and if she passes, (which I don’t think she will) God will be waiting for her with a smile.

12:15 p.m. Last words spoken. “Najlepiej jest w domu.” Home is the best place.

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1:30 p.m. Slight panic, heavy breathing, a bit of calmness. We talked about love, heaven and grandma. (I did the talking and Iza nodded with her cute half smile.)

3:00 p.m. Morphine

3:10 p.m. Haldol (to ease with panic when intense breathing set in)

3:30 p.m. Another dose of Morphine (Emily and I reassured each other that more is probably better than not enough. We really felt like Iza was suffering and this was the only drug left to administer using our best judgement.)

3:35 p.m. Serene peace was upon her. Iza wanted to be propped up with pillows. This helped with breathing. Cool air helped with breathing so we opened the window just a bit. Emily’s friend, Julie gave Iza a massage.

4:00 p.m. Iza remains alert, smiles gently and eyes are still open.

6:30 p.m. Weakness set in, started to get tense. Became panicky, breathing got dense, very hoarse and loud. Didn’t want the oxygen mask on. Kept taking it off. Was pushing us away. (We were worried so much at this point. We called the nurses with hundreds of questions in mind but there were no answers.)

6:40 p.m. More morphine (Gosia made sure Iza is comfortable with more pillows)

6:50 p.m. More Haldol

8:00 p.m. Looked at the picture of us at IKEA. Smiled for the last time as I broke down. And this crying continued for weeks after.

8:15 p.m. More morphine. No speech. Heavy breathing. Eyelids began to droop down. Less blinking. Very focused stare. Connectivity with the world is becoming fragile.

9:30 p.m. Iza looked left at the stairway, as though she was looking for someone.

10:00 p.m. Our aunt (ciocia Wiesia) came from work using Uber (thank you Emily). Body calmed down. Eyes began to close slowly. Heavy breathing. Strong hand grip. Dug nails into my skin. Eyelids began to cover eyes. Complete calm. Her mental health was detaching from reality. Heaven was upon her. God was ready.

The final moment…

10:30 p.m. 10 deep breaths, then 8, then 6, then 5, 4, 3, 2, then HER LAST FINAL HEAVY BREATH and she was gone. GONE. Her heart stopped and her body turned cold. Blue and stiff. Her suffering ended. God took her from us. Breast cancer lost and heaven won. It gained my sister’s presence and that is quite beautiful.
Final thoughts…

I really believed my sister would live beyond April 5, 2017. I didn’t think that day would be her last. I thought she would beat this invasive cancer demon. Maybe she’d live on and somehow survive. I was hopeful in the most helpless way. I was thinking the most irrational things but God knew better. He had great plans for my sister. And that’s why He freed her from cancer. And I’m grateful for that. We all are and always will be.

And lastly, thank you for those who surrounded Iza, kept her comfortable and provided peace the entire April 5. She died exactly as she hoped for because of you…

My father Jerzy, my cousin Emily, my sister in law Margaret, my brother Adam, my husband Kyle, my aunt Wiesia and the kids, Lidia, Dylan and Lana. Also, thank you Candice and Roy for watching our kids during those difficult hours when Iza and I connected the most. The time leading towards her death and the day we were planning her funeral.

You are all amazing and I love you so much! Without you, I’d be a lost soul…

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24 thoughts on “First Heaven Anniversary

  1. Dear Ewelina, I am so sorry for your loss. The words of St. John Chryrostom have been a great comfort to me: Those we love and lose are no longer where they once were; they are now wherever we are. You carry your sister in your heart and her spirit continues to live. I wish you peace.

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    1. Such a great saying from St.John. I strongly believe that our loved ones never leave us. They are with us forever until we meet in heaven. Thank you for reading ❤

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  2. A beautiful tribute Ewelina, I love your blog and thanks for following mine. I am so sorry for your loss and pain. May God give you peace in the midst of the sorrow. I know from experience the pain subsides but you will always have a hole in your heart (read my about page for my own experience). I pray grace and comfort over you as I know the first anniversary is tough. God bless!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mark. I am definitely hoping God will bring me peace as my heart continues to heal in the months and years to follow. The first year is very tough but I do hope it gets better. Hugs 🙂

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  3. Many blessings to you. You know our loved ones never leave us they are just beyond reach, watching over us and continuing to love us. I am glad your sister sends you news from beyond. I am very sensitive to the world beyond and I can tell you, you are blessed to have at least had final moments and final memories. It is worse when you are thrown into something suddenly like when my husband suddenly passed away last August. It was like being thrown into a whirlwind and realizing you had no final moments and you are now all alone. I am now faced with selling the house we had here in Riga, Latvia and heading back to my homeland the U.S. I just have to change around what life I have left and I tell you it isn’t easy. We were together for 20+ years. So I tell you what I tell myself to hang in there and be thankful for those precious memories. He has been back to see me to know I am alright and I know your sister is ever with you.

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    1. Thank you for such encouraging words. I am so sorry about your husband. As you already know, he is loving heaven and enjoy his eternal bliss. Grieving over a loved one is definitely the hardest thing to do. I still cry and try to make sense of it all. Yet I understand that everything in life is way planned before we even know it. God knows all our moments to come. I am praying for you as your heart continues to heal ❤

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  4. Evvy, hopefully your posting of these painfully heartfelt moments with your sister have helped you heal. I’m sure they’ve helped others get through a similar ordeal with a loved one. Peace be with you.

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    1. Thank you Debbie. Writing and sharing her story has opened up my heart to others and helped me heal in so many ways. Her memoir has also connected me with God and that spiritual growth is amazing. Thanks for supporting her life story.❤

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  5. I have never heard of the idea of a First Heaven Anniversary, but I love it. It’s so much more hopeful and positive to celebrate the eternal happiness of our loved ones who have gone on before us, rather than to continuously remember their parting and our loss. Since I’m an only child, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a sister. Thank you for sharing your experience. My prayer is that God will feel more closer to you than ever as you take it one day at a time.

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    1. Thank you. My kids actually helped me pick my blog name. They miss their aunt so much so one day they picked up a house phone and started talking to her. They had such cute conversations with their aunt in heaven. After hours of crying, I realized that life in eternity is just an extension of life here on Earth. Thank you for your kind words.

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  6. It’s incredible how well you were able to keep track of your last day with Iza. The picture of you and her together is nothing like I’ve seen before. The blend of love, peace, and sadness was all expressed so beautifully in it and your writing. Your strength and courage to share her story is inspiration to all of us. God bless you Evvy ❤️

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    1. Thank you. Honestly, it was the most difficult post to write. I walked away several times because I couldn’t hold it together and continue writing. That day was incredibly difficult and I’m not really sure how I made it through. Even writing about it one year later was tearing me apart. Losing someone in your arms and watching it happen minute by minute is so painful. Words cannot describe it. However, I am grateful she was surrounded by her family. There’s so much more to her journey and I will share it all with you. ☺

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  7. It’s good to journal all of this and let it out. Just keep praying and asking god to continue to give you peace. Because I’m the end, only god can in a time in your life like this. Love you.

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