The loss of my daughter, Darrian was a complete shock to so many of us. Our family has a strange cardiac history. If you’ve read my blog before, you know. Or if you know my family, you know. In case you haven’t though, I will detail what we’re talking about.
1988 – My sister Dianne died of unknown causes
1991 – My mom winds up in a coma for six months and then a persistent
vegetative state until 2013 when she passes away 8/27/2013
2011 – I had a cardiac arrest of unknown origin
2015 – My niece (my sister Dianne’s daughter) had a cardiac arrest while
at a punk rock concert
2015 – My daughter Darrian dies, two days before my 39th birthday
So, now you’re apprised of the time line. Thank you for catching up with me.
Writing my blog takes a heavy toll on me, and this one will be no exception to that rule. I felt like I needed to get it out there though. And no doubt this will be a long one because I have a lot to say.
Darrian had brain damage on both sides of her brain because of a lack of oxygen. Despite the attempts by the adult who was on site that gave CPR, and despite the EMT’s attempts, there was just too little oxygen to her brain. Before we knew all of this, there was just this hope that Darrian would be okay. I slept at the hospital for five days solid with hopes that Darrian would come out of the non medical induced coma that she was in. I had hopes that this neurologist that apparently is very well known in his field and has given talks in the field throughout the country would be able to give me something I could really work with. If Darrian was able to recover and we had to bring her home in a wheel chair, I could deal with that. And we could deal with any paralysis that came along with it. However, once he said the words that she would never live independently and the extent of the damage – I fell apart. I was watching Darrian slip into the same type of situation my mother was in for ages. And as much as it broke my heart, I was angry and feeling like I was just a large cosmic joke. I have felt like that time and time again over the years. Hell, one night I was driving back from home going to the hospital and it was late, so I took the opportunity to yell at God – I equated him to being like a bully on the playground. I was literally screaming! I felt like he owed me. I know that’s pretty bold to say, but I feel like I have done my time. I have suffered so much in my life. And now I’m here.
I was incredibly blessed with support from so many people. My brother Tim came from New Hampshire, my friend Karena came from Michigan, and a local friend that I grew up with in Michigan named Kelly came to support me while I was there. Among others. But Tim, Karena, and Kelly REALLY took over when I couldn’t be there. They held down the fort for me because emotionally, I was a wreck.
Over the weekend that I wasn’t at the hospital, Darrian had roughly 70 visitors. There were people that had waited for an hour. It was incredible the outpour of support that we were given. My husband went up there quite a bit too when I wasn’t there and he was able to report to me the goings on too. Eventually we had to stop the visitors though because the breathing tube was coming out and once that did, we were going to have the doctors/nursing staff remove the feeding tube and fluids so she could pass on.
The process seemed to last forever. Darrian didn’t pass away right away. As a matter of fact, she was breathing just fine. Which gave her friends hope that she was going to make it through, and that was hard to explain. It didn’t mean that she was going to be fine. It just meant that the primal parts of her brain which said to breathe were working. Not the more complex parts of the brain. Those were gone. How do you explain that to a teenager? I mean, honestly. One of the kids she was with that night, whenever he came to the hospital to see her before we stopped visitation, you could see the absolute despair in his eyes. He was absolutely torn up. When we got hospice set up for Darrian, I offered the hospice grief support number to his family as a means of helping cope with the situation.
My sister in law Karin (my brother Tim’s wife) created Darrian’s Caring Crew so people could be updated as to how she was doing. What we heard. And it made things so much easier. Social media – it has it’s downfalls, but this was a perk. We have people from all over and we had phone calls up the wazoo to make. So instead of calling people one by one to repeat the same story over and over again, they could read it on Facebook and we could communicate that way. My brother Tim set up the GoFundMe account to help us with the cost of burial. Granted, the state will cover $1500 for the funeral home, $1000 for burial, and $130 for the obituary – but we have more costs, especially once it comes to the headstone. We’ve gotten a quote for anywhere between $1500-$2500.
I have had an especially hard time. That Tuesday, December 15th, I planned on bringing the movie “Anne of Green Gables” up with me to watch in the DVD player in her room. I was going to go down to the gift shop area and get a less expensive peppermint mocha from the Starbucks they have in the hospital. Despite feeling dirty for ordering a fancy schmancy drink – I do enjoy that. When I woke up that morning though, Eric was looking at me with that face, the face that you just know. So I looked at him sorta blurry like saying, she’s gone, right? And he just said “Yep”.
I can’t express how much grief a person goes through. I hope to all that is Holy that no one that reads this ever has to bury their child. If you have, you have my most sincerest of condolences. A parent should never have to bury their child. Ever. The way it should be is: the parent goes before the child. But death is not age discriminatory.
Knowing Darrian was going to die, it was an easy decision to make to donate any viable tissues, eyes, etc… for anyone who needed it. When the organization that handles that called me, she said Darrian could potentially help between 50-70 people. And I almost cried because despite Darrian not being with us, she could help so many people live more functional lives. Granted, I would take Darrian back in a heartbeat. Play one more game of Call of Duty Black Ops 2, go to the DePere Walmart and go shopping for groceries. Maybe get her a new shirt. And I was so angry because she needed a new pair of shoes so badly. She had a hole in the top of her shoe and she covered it with this bright almost neon green duct tape in the meantime.
Darrian didn’t get the life she deserved. We were looking at getting a restraining order against her sister for Darrian because of the seriousness of the harassment. Darrian suffered from PTSD from the emotional and physical abuse that she suffered at the hands of her sister from years prior. She was stressed to the gills about growing up. And near the end confided in me and told me that she didn’t think she was going to live past 18 years old. I don’t really know what to think about that. But now, here’s where I stand.
I go to the grocery store and I see the corn dogs she liked or the cotton candy grapes that I couldn’t afford to get for her and I wanted to run out of the grocery store. I have yet to really do any considerable grocery shopping. I have gone for immediate necessities, but that’s it. The grocery store is hard. And I refuse to go to the DePere Walmart right now because that was her favorite one out of all of the Walmarts in and around Green Bay. I look at pictures, or the brief goofy videos that were taken of her – just being herself and I cry. When I went to my in laws to do laundry and realized that all her laundry was down there, I cried. I go into her room, I cried. When I was paring down all her writings and such (notes from school for different subjects, etc….) and brought them to the recycling bin, I felt guilty. Because in that handwriting is a key to her personality. And I felt like in throwing them away, I was throwing her away.
And now, two days from this moment there is Christmas. And then eight days from now is Darrian’s 17th birthday that she’ll never see. And I’ll never see her graduate, or get her drivers license. I’ll have my memories, but to me that’s just not good enough. And now I understand the grief of a parent who has lost a child. And I wish I didn’t. I’m walking what feels like a thousand miles in their shoes. It’s a terrible burden, and it’s like I’ve lost half of my heart because she’s gone. I know she wouldn’t want me to express myself that way, but it’s true. I know Darrian and I butted heads a lot, but I love her. Everything that I intended was only to try to help her. To make her a more functional human being than I ever had the opportunity to. She wanted to either be a hair dresser or a nurse. She was good at math and science. Her Spanish teacher said she really was quite proficient with it and could really use it to her benefit.
Her items are still at school in her locker, and her meds are still there that needed to be distributed to her throughout the day. I just can’t go get them yet. I told the school that I would get them after the new year started. Knowing that I will be walking into that school for the last time is devastating to me. I always knew that one day there would come that day. I never knew it would come so soon. I thought that I would leave that school on better terms. Not carrying her belongings that she’d never wear again, or anything. I’ll never get to hear her laugh, or to get into a petty argument again because both of us are just alike in many ways. She was so unique in ways I can’t express. And as much as I miss her. Oh God I miss her, I am so grateful for the 16 years she was with me.
I will admit wholeheartedly that I feel cheated out of what could have been her growing up. I feel like I should have had that opportunity. And anyone who tells me everything happens for a reason has a punch to the throat coming via me. Just saying. (Sorry, I hate that saying to the very core of my soul)
I will probably watch Red vs Blue at some point in memory of Darrian. Eric wants to contact the guys that do the Vanoss Gaming videos on YouTube because Darrian loved them and everything they did. Despite the fact that hearing it made both Eric and I just angry. Especially when it was like eight hours a day, straight. The funeral is planned, the burial is planned. Everything is set. And now for the rest.
I don’t know how I’m going to do it, I just don’t.
Darrian Seppanen’s Obituary
She was incredibly special and will be missed by so many. I can only say to her now:
Darrian, I’m sorry I wasn’t a better mom. But I swear, I really did try my best. I know I failed you in probably many ways. Just please understand, whatever I did I did to make you better. It may not have felt like it at the time, but it was. Your dad and I miss you so incredibly and I just wish we had one more chance. I LOVE YOU.