On Tuesday, June 12, I was online when I received an email from Jake telling me if I was still up, to call him. We talked for a little while, and that is when he told me that they decided that they would not be treating Jackson's newly found problems. They would be letting him go. His little body had been through so much already, and with so much more that he would have to go through, they decided that it was enough, this was his time to go. I cried, of course. There really wasn't anything to say, except sorry, and that I will do anything they need to me to do. That was the day that Jackson turned 9 months old. Jake asked me to give them some time and not put their decision on the web site just yet.
On Wednesday, June 13, I went to visit Jackson after work. It was hard to see him, not knowing when I left, if I would ever see him again. I talked to him for a while, held his hand. I stayed late, and cried on the way home.
On Friday, June 15, I went to see him again. This time, I was able to hold him! Of course, Sara got to hold him first, and I got some family photos of the 4 of them, and Jake and Sara with him. Grandma Barb held him for a little while also, and I got a picture of Grandma and Grandpa with him. When they were all getting ready to leave, I asked if I could hold him for a little while. It was almost 10 by this time, but in PICU they don't enforce the visiting hours, especially for a patient like Jackson. Molly was with them, so they had to get her home and in bed. I spent about half an hour with him by myself, and I had a lot of messages for him from his friends. I gave him hugs and kisses, and let him go to bed.
On Saturday, June 16, we headed to Scott's parents' house to spend Father's Day with them. It was evening, and we got a little bit of rain on the way up, just getting to the Wisconsin border. The sun came out again, and I started looking around for the rainbow I was hoping to see. I found it. We were heading north, and the rainbow was to the east. It was so pretty, so of course I had to take some pictures of it. I really felt like that was a sign, Jackson will be ok. He has lots of friends and family members where he is going, and they sent the rainbow to show that they are waiting for him. One of the pictures is used in the background of my collage picture of me and Jackson. I cried again, but felt ok this time. He would be ok.
Father's Day weekend
On Monday, June 18, I was back at the hospital. I got to hold him again! He had a lot of visitors in his last week, and a lot of people holding him. I am glad I got to spend so much time with him. It was this day that Jake and Sara made the decision that they would be removing his breathing tube on Wednesday. I left the hospital that night knowing that they made the right decision, that he was ready to go and that breathing tube was the only reason he was still here. I also knew that I would have to go back on Tuesday, to say goodbye (again).
Tuesday, June 19, To the hospital, one last time. This was probably the hardest drive to the hospital ever. Also the hardest drive home. As I was exiting the highway to go to the hospital, a song started playing that made me cry. "In the Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics. It says, I wish I could have told him, in the living years. So when I got to the hospital, I did. I told Jackson all about the people who would be waiting for him, and about the people that would like him to be their special Angel. I told him that he didn't have to be afraid, that although we will be crying for him, we will also be rejoicing in his life, the amazing, short life that touched so very many people. He will never, ever be forgotten. On my drive home I decided that I would not be going to work the following day, I just didn't think I'd be able to handle it while I knew what was happening. My mom followed me home from the hospital and stayed the night.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007. I woke up around my regular time and called my boss to tell him that I wouldn't be in. I spent some time on the computer, looking at pictures and reading some of the new messages that Jackson's family and friends have left. I woke my mom up around 9. It was hard being online that morning, because I knew the time (11:00 am) that they would be removing the breathing tube, but they had decided to keep that private, so I couldn't say anything yet. They had also decided to wait until they got home and were able to be by themselves for a while, and make some phone calls, before I would be putting the news on his web site. One of the things I always questioned about Jackson's web site, I knew that sometimes they would just want to be by themselves for a little while, so I made sure to accommodate that whenever they wanted. I knew everyone would understand that.
Around 10:00 I started to make my collage of me and Jackson. It was my first time using the photo program, so my mom helped me figure it out. I was watching the time, as every minute clicked closer to 11:00 am. We knew when it hit 11:00 and we were both quiet for a little while, minus the occassional click of our keyboards. At 11:17, I went to my MySpace profile, and clicked Play, and played my profile song, "Held" by Natalie Grant. I started crying at 11:18. The song continued to play. At 11:21, my mom got up, came over and put her arms around me. At 11:22, she asked me if I thought it was over, and I replied yes. We did not find out until 11:40ish that his final time on earth was around 11:20. I didn't realize it at the time, but it sure appears that I knew it as it was happening. I finished my collage, one with the date and one without, and posted the one without the date on MySpace, for everyone to see. It was hard seeing all of the new messages that day and knowing that he had already passed, but I couldn't tell anyone yet. As soon as I received, read, and cried through Jake's email, I passed on the news for all of Jackson's friends and supporters, so they could share in the sorrow and grief, and Jake and Sara would know they are not alone. They will never be alone.
I still cry once in a while, I'm sure I will for quite some time. I made a photo album for myself, of some of my favorite pictures of Jackson. Tomorrow, Monday, is Jackson's funeral. I will be doing one of the readings. I know the church will be so full of love, and I know that Jackson will be there, watching us, and comforting us. He will be ok, and so will we. We will cry for him, and smile for him. Mourn for him, and rejoice for him. It will always amaze me how much one little person can affect so many people, in such a short time. I will look at my pictures of him, and smile. I will frame the collage I made, and put it on our fireplace mantle, for everyone to see. I will continue to wear my heart pin, for Jackson's Heart. I know where he is now, there is no pain, no needles, no surgeries, none of that. Jackson will be ok. I will be ok, with my new angel watching over me.