It’s been 6 months since the death of Riley. I was not sure I would see this day. (Because of Trump, not because I have been suicidal) These months have flown and dragged by.
It feels like yesterday and a life ago when I walked in the hospital room to visit my ‘dead’ partner for the first time. Laid my head on his still beating chest.
My day consisted of the following all activities interjected with crying.
12-4am I sat there staring at my ceiling so many thoughts and feelings running through my brain. When I couldn’t bear it any longer I went back to the hospital where I was not allowed to see him because they were organising tests for him.
We (Me, his sister, her partner, my mother, and his parents) sat round in MPH until 9.30am when we got told to go get food. We went to go get food while his parents waited around and would keep us updated on any news. We walked through the streets of Dunedin in our comfy clothes. I had my dressing down, hair was a mess, eyes puffy yet shrunken like I had been doing meth for like 10 years. We went and got Tank (A refreshing smoothie to boost our spirits)
By the time we got back from our breakfast trip (10.30am) he had been pronounced dead. Time of death 10.05am. What a rollercoaster ride. From being told he was in an accident and he was going to be fine at 10pm on the 13th of August, to stroke and less than 24 hours to be with him at 6am on the 14th of August, to just over 24 hours later to the death of the man I loved. I was in such a state of shock. I sat down at my computer and made a slideshow of photos of Riley and I and posted it on Facebook. No real reason. Just because it kept my mind busy for half an hour while they finished some red tape and got the ACC lady to come down to talk to me.
I was allowed to go back in and sit beside him. It didn’t seem any different. He was still breathing, his heart was still beating. He was perfectly healthy apart from being completely brain dead. While I was sitting with him, the ACC lady came up to me and asked me questions. I don’t remember these questions. I don’t remember my answers. I only remember watching Riley as his chest went up and down as he breathe. He couldn’t be dead. It didn’t work like that. If he was dead then he would be cold and white. I had read books, I had seen movies. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end. Maybe I was being punk’d? Riley would suddenly sit up, there would be cameras and people everywhere. I would win lots of money for not murdering everyone in sight. He would apologise and then we would fly to Iceland. Not quite how it turns out though I’m afraid.
After the ACC lady left the nurse (Rosie) talked to us again about donating his organs and we went over what he could donate. I didn’t like thinking about them chopping him up and taking all his bits. (They don’t really chop them up but when you are sad you get a wee bit unreasonable) But it was the right thing to do. He would want that. At some point during the day his family went home. I don’t really remember because around 11.30am Rosie moved Riley over so I could get some sleep. They could see I wasn’t going anyway and they wanted me to have some rest. All day I lay beside him. Sleeping on and off, only getting up to pee. He had always been comfy to lie on, his shoulder was so warm and I felt cocooned from the outside world. So safe.
I remember waking up not long after 7pm and finding Riley’s night nurse Florian doing his usual checks. I asked him if we were ready for surgery. Not quite he told me. Waiting on the coroner. Around 10pm Riley was taken away to another room to get his surgery and I went home to my bed in another desperate attempt to sleep. I had been told to return around 4am to see him one last time if I wanted and boy did I want to. I cuddled up with my cat and tried to sleep but once again my thoughts and feelings were not going to let that happen.
Again I watched at the clock struck midnight. No trumpets, no carriages turning into pumpkins, there was no night of beautiful dreams just the cold rush of reality as I carried that one glass slipper, that one memory of the man I love.
There’s still a lot going on in this wonderful overfilled brain of mine. There is so much unorganised emotion. Slowly but surely I am working through this mess. Just like I did with his clothes, his stuff, the paperwork. One t-shirt at a time, one question at a time and one part of my emotions. Last week being my abandonment. This week’s being the 6 month anniversary.
As I go on with my life I am glad that I was around for all of it. I could hold his hand, I could ramble at him and most of all I could carry out his final wishes and make sure they did something good with the important parts of his insides.
Donating the organs is a long process, the paper work is fine but the waiting for the go ahead is a mission, from if they can find matches for the organs to if the coroner will let them. But it is well worth the time. Somewhere six people are living their lives more fully then before because of the organs with Riley’s name on them and (selfish as it seems) I would have much preferred to keep Riley around but it is nice to know that these six people get a second chance at their lives.
Make sure you know what your partner’s final wishes are. And as long as they aren’t too absurd (Like a space burial, no Riley I cannot afford that) try to fulfil it.
But finally if they want to donate. MAKE SURE THEY DONATE!
A couple of nerds hanging out and drinking together. Me wearing his very warm hat.