Carmelia's Story

I don't really know where to start or how to explain but so many things happened to our family in one week in May/94 that I truly know there is a GOD and Angels. I am a Catholic and attend church regularly. I am always saying thank you to GOD for the scenery, nice day, family, etc. I don't feel I have really heard him, but maybe I don't know how to listen to him. Anyway here goes my story.

In November of 1988 my Mother suddenly passed away of a heart attack. At Christmas of 1993 my sister Tammy and her boyfriend announced they would be married that year. We (my sisters Adele, Glory-Jo and myself all said please not the May long Weekend (Third weekend in may to Celebrate the Queen's Birthday in Canada). Adele was pregnant and her baby was going to be a month old then and Tam had said she wanted to get married on the family ranch up in the hills.

Glory-Jo has a band and they already had a booking for that weekend. My husband Kevin was a groomsmen at a wedding in Regina, Sask. that weekend. Around Valentine's day Tam told us they had decided on the May Long Weekend and she wasn't going to change it because every year a group from Lethbridge (where she lived) to a first camp out at Waterton Park and this year they would do it at our ranch and witness a wedding. We sisters were very disappointed in the decision but Tam had said she was going to marry that weekend if it was the last thing on earth that she did. Adele found a sitter for the baby for the weekend, and so she was going to the wedding.

My husband fell off a step and broke his ankle. He could no longer be in the wedding party. He decided to go to the Regina Wedding and catch a ride with his parents. The kids and I would go to Tam's wedding. Glory-Jo's band was canceled on the Wednesday before the wedding due to a double booking. Amazing we were all going to the wedding.

On the Friday before the wedding Kevin could not stand the pain in his ankle and went back to the hospital. They had to reset the bone. He could not travel! He went to the wedding in a wheelchair.

Getting ready for the ceremony Tammy was nervous. She said she had a dream that her and Greg were going to Thailand again and on the way something happened and she was not on the plane. All her friends were, Greg was and she wasn't. She thought she was dead. Killed in a plane crash or something. The Wedding would be perfect she said if the clouds would clear up (it had been raining) and if Mom was alive and could be at the Wedding.

The ceremony started and as Tammy & Greg kissed and everyone applauded the clouds broke a ray of light shone and Mom was standing there looking very happy, radiant and younger than I remembered. I was not the only one to see her, my Aunt Gasped, My GOD, it's Glory. She was only there for a short while. Only those that knew her seemed to see her. Many weren't sure if they really saw her or not.

As the day went on and toast went around the campfire, some friends of Tams and Greg's announced they were getting married next year in Thailand. A group of friends had saved and went there a few years ago. They all decided to save money and go to the wedding. Even Tammy & Greg! Tammy then repeated her dream and said it was just foolish nonsense. The Wedding was beautiful and a great time was had by all.

The Monday came and everyone was packing up camp. Tammy had a headache and she went to lie down. We all said from the stress of the weekend and lack of sleep. She lay down about 2:00 in the p.m. and we all packed up. Adele & Glory-Jo had already gone. As I was leaving I arranged to have them come to my house for supper, a shower and watch the wedding video about 7:00 p.m.

At 8:00 no one showed up and I thought they both were sleeping. At 8:30 Greg phoned from the hospital, something was wrong with Tam. I hurried down there after phoning my sisters and dad. She was semi-conscious, knew me but not Glory-Jo or Greg. She said she had a terrible headache. The Dr. said it was only a bad migraine and was doing nothing. I had a fight with the Dr. and asked him to phone a neurosurgeon in Calgary. He said it wasn't necessary and walked away. Mom had suffered an aneurysm at the age of 38 and we saw the same symptoms in Tam.

At 9:15 she had a massive seizure. The paramedics bagged her all the way to Calgary, a 2 hr. drive. We all went to the Foothills hospital to here that Tam had indeed suffered a deep cerebral hemorrhage. She had earlier in the day said she felt a pop in her head. A classic tell tale symptom but she was climbing a steep hill and thought it to be her ears. She functioned well through most of the day because of it being so deep. It was a slow bleed and took a long time for the brain to dysfunction. Which caused the seizure.

We had several options for Tam. 1) wait until morning and see if she comes out of it as the bleeding had stopped, or do surgery immediately. Her chances of survival at that point was about 1% with the surgery as her brain was traumatized. The Tammy we saw right then (a vegetable) would be the Tammy we saw for the rest of her life, which could be years.

The next day she was no better. Our options, keep her on life support until brain dead and then donate her organs, do surgery and remove pressure, (thus the vegetable still), or remove her from life support and let nature take it's course. If she survived 24 hrs without life support they would do the surgery as she would then live a long while in a basically vegetative state.

We knew she could hear us and there was some response in facial movements. We told her the options and tried our best to get an answer from her. I prayed like I never prayed before. I did not pray for Tam's recovery for as a nurse I new what recovery meant at this point. I prayed to GOD that we made the right decision for Tam. Not a selfish one for us.

I finally had my answer. Take her off of life support and let nature take it's course. By facial gestures and gentle hand movements Tam and I talked. She agreed with me and I asked her to forgive me for praying the way I did but I did not want to see her suffer anymore. I really believe she understood and did not want to live that way either. We all agreed to remove the life support on Friday at 4:00 p.m. It gave every relative and friend a chance to come and say good-bye.

Her Godmother came, my husband, me, Adele & her husband, Glory-Jo and her husband, Greg's parents, and Tam's best friend Betty. There were many others. Dad came and was with her but could not stay when we took her off of support. The above mentioned people were there when the apparatus's were removed. She passed away peacefully at 4:55 p.m. after we all said we loved her, gave her permission to leave us, and yes we asked her to give us a sign that all was O.K. if such was possible, just to ease our minds.

Shortly after she died and we all shed a few tears in the room, Greg sat up and said Tam's going to the Motor home (We brought our motor home for everyone to have a break in as we did not know how long we would be there.) She apparently was going to say good-bye to Cesar her dog. Greg didn't know that Cesar was in the motor home, only Greg's mom & I knew. Greg also said that Tam wanted all of us to have a beer and rejoice in her memory.

I asked Kevin if he would run to a nearby liquor store as there was no beer in the MH. He said sure, but stopped at the motor home as a vehicle was parked beside it for him to drive to the store. We got to the motor home and sitting there was a cooler filled with beer & ice! No one knew, honest.

Everyone was jovial and happy and discussed Tam's funeral, and her life, we discussed the now canceled trip to Thailand. In a bit Greg said Tam has to go now. We all said Good-bye and the clouds rolled in it was dark and everyone became almost morbidly sad. Two hours earlier an uncle of ours was killed in an accident. A double whammy for the family.

The best man at Tam & Greg's wedding (Gregg T.) was a teacher and had to take his class on a hike. He knew Tammy was not well but she died on Friday and Sunday we, were at Tam & Greg's house discussing funeral arrangements when Gregg T came flying through the door. Did not knock or anything. He said he had just left the school and was on his way home to ask his wife about Tam when he was passing Greg's and saw our vehicles.

Before we could say anything her started to talk. He was glowing, full of energy, and really excited. I will never forget what he said. "Gu's, I had a dream, Tammy's all right, she is going to be O.K. It was such a beautiful dream, wish I never woke up. I was sleeping in the tent. A bright light woke me up and it was so bright but it never hurt my eyes. It was warm and very loving. I was not scared. I saw Tammy sitting at a table, a big table. There were a lot of people there. She was happy and laughing with all of them. She had no pain or anything. She said to tell Greg she was O.K. and everything is all right." He described quite clearly my mom and other deceased relatives. Even the recently deceased uncle playing the Banjo! We all starred at each other unable to talk. Greg said he would go to see Tam in the hospital that night.

We told him she was deceased and he did not believe us. He felt the dream was real and Tam was really O.K. He was so excited by the dream. We feel we had our sign.

I miss her terribly and it hurts she is gone but when I die I hope my family has a chance to say good-bye to me. As sad as death is her death was beautiful and it only gives us peace that death is not scary, or horrible, but a beautiful entry into another dimension with a love that we can not appreciate as human beings.

After Tam's death other little things have happened but none as amazing as that week. A friend gave me the book Within the Light by Betty J. Eadie. As I read the book I knew everything in there. How I know, I do not know but I know it's true. Please believe me that this story is true. I really believe in Angels and a better place. I believe in unconditional love and try my best. I do not know how to end my letter. Maybe there is no end.

Carmellia Saretzky. Email: saretzky@agt.net

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