Mark James-Edition 2

Our blog thus far has been about our struggles and story of our infertility and our way to adoption, but today of all days I can’t just write about that. Today of all days is different….It’s the day I lost my Father in Law. A man that will never know we ever had struggles, a man that missed our wedding day, a man that loved his family to endth degree, a man that will always be missed. This day will forever be engrained in my mind “August 17.” I remember that morning it starting out as a semi normal day. Semi Normal because my soon to be bride was in Pittsburgh with her parents in ICU where her dad was currently residing. Trenae’s Dad had Polycystic kidney disease also known as PKD. He was going in for a biopsy of some sort to see about getting a kidney transplant. when they did that they nicked his colon and he became septic. I remember working down by the beaches that day and my phone rang. It was Trenae sobbing, I could barely make out what she was saying. She told me “you need to come up here now, get here as soon as you can.” I was disoriented because for a while we thought Mark might come out of this and make a recovery however I knew the last couple days had not been the greatest. I got off the phone with my then fiancé and started heading back home as fast as I could without getting pulled over. I made sure our three dogs would be taken care of and threw some clothes in a bag. It was at this point that it hit me; Do I need to pack a suit incase…… well incase Mark passed. I threw one in my bag just for safe measure having no idea what to expect. Keep in mind Pittsburgh is not just like a two hour drive from where we live its more like seven. Seven long hours in the car that felt like an eternity.  I called my parents to let them know what was going on and they tried to calm me down because at that point I was frantic I wasn’t going to make in time. They told me to take my time and to get there safely and that it will be ok. I tired my hardest to believe these words “It’ll be okay” but they just didn’t seem to be real to me. I recall being two hours in to the drive and I get another call from Trenae. She tells me that they have found a justice of the peace that is willing to marry us in the ICU so her dad could be present. I sat quietly when she said that because I had hoped it wouldn’t get to that point at least not yet. I wasn’t ready to say good bye to my father in law. Our relationship had just begun. We had to many things to do together before he could leave us. I was going to learn how to hunt and go out with the guys after thanksgiving and sit in the tree stand. He needed to be there to walk Trenae down the aisle and dance with her to “Butterfly Kisses” on our wedding day. It was too soon it couldn’t happen yet we weren’t ready. After what felt like an eternity of silence I pulled myself together and said ok honey that works we can get married in the ICU. I called my parents to let them know this was a possibility and of course they were supportive of it. Half way through the trip it dawned on me I never called my boss to let her know that I was going to be taking the day off and for that matter a couple days possibly. I made her aware of what could possibly be the worse case scenario, and she told me that’s fine but I want to make you aware that we don’t have bereavement at this company so you’ll have to take personal time (This company only gave two weeks of personal time and I was already close to the end). I said to her that’s fine I will do whatever I need to do my family comes before this job because to me that’s all that it was, was a job. Come to find out (after a call to HR) we most certainly had a bereavement policy and she didn’t want me out of the field because I was ranked number one n the country and making her a lot of money at the time. Needless to say this lead me to quit and find another job because she had no regard for me, my fiancé, or her family and what we were going through. Two hours left on the drive and I start to get sleepy and feel myself doze. I turned the air conditioning all the way up and my music to the max. This didn’t help. Luckily my co-worker and very close friend Suzanne called me to see what she could do to help and I told her just stay on the phone with me. It was like 10pm at this point and she told me she would stay on the phone until I got there. I remember telling her that’s two hours from now and she said two hours of my life to a friend is nothing ill be with you the rest of the way. Suzanne was my guardian angel that night because without her on the phone with me I fear that I wouldn’t have made it because I have fallen asleep at the wheel before. I pull into the hospital parking lot at midnight  and my brother in law peter comes to meet me in the garage. Peter was so young, too young to be losing his dad. He was at the impressionable age of sixteen years old. He came up to me hugged me and I could feel him put all his weight on me and just cry. I tried to console him but what do you say that will take away the pain. I walk up to the ICU and see my bride to be; bags under her eyes from lack of sleep and the look of pure sadness on her face that the time had come. After a couple hours of being there they make the decision to take Mark off the ventilator because he had told my Mother in law he didn’t want to be kept alive by machines. The doctor came and told us all to go and say our goodbyes. I walked in there and saw him laying in his gown. He still looked like the same man that I had asked eight months before if I could have his permission for his daughters hand in marriage. The same man that asked me what were my goals in life? to which I replied to own my own business and he said wrong… It’s to make your wife happy. I said naturally that was my first answer I was just testing you. The same man that told me if I hurt his little girl they had a lot of land and no one would find my body. I went in to Mark’s room and said my goodbyes. I promised him while sobbing I would always take care of Trenae and love her the way he loved Annette. I promised him to do my best to look out for Peter and to help Annette when I can. I remember leaving that room and feeling cheated. Cheated out of a relationship with my father in law, Cheated out of seeing him cry on our wedding day, cheated from seeing him hold our child someday and cheated for him to see us grow as a couple. So as you see I couldn’t just write today about our struggles with infertility because we struggle as everyone does with more. We grieve every minute of every day not being able to have a child but we also grieve not having you around Mark James Egan.

-Steffan

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