I’m Nicci…Cindy’s (or as I call her Cin’s) little sister.
I know that over the last few months, Cindy’s posts have been getting fewer and far between. As Cin deteriorated more and more, everyone was focused on just keeping her alive. Its still such a fresh wound in my heart that this is incredibly hard for me to talk (or write) about…but I know that Cin wanted her story shared.
What a lot of people don’t know about, are her final days. I happened to be one of the lucky few who spent considerable time with her during those days. So…here’s the ending to my sisters amazing journey.
I got a call one morning. This was about a week before she passed. It was about 6am or so from Ricks cell phone. Immediately I woke right up to answer. What I heard on the other line was unbelievable. Apparently Cin woke up that morning…climbed out of her hospital bed (located in her downstairs living room, and climbed all the way up the stairs to the master bedroom and crawled in bed with Rick! Up until this point, she had little to no energy…so all this was a major accomplishment on its own! Rick was crying as he was telling me over and over “She did it Nicci! She climbed upstairs on her own!” I couldn’t help but shed some tears myself. At some point during the call, Cin ended up taking the phone from Rick and literally demanded that I bring her all sorts of body sprays and girly-girl stuff that I wasn’t using. I kinda laughed and then proceeded to gather up some nice body sprays etc. that I thought she’d love, got dressed and headed over.
Now before I go any further, let me explain what the time I saw my sister before this occasion was like.
The last time I had seen my sister, was while she was in hospice. She was constantly turning blue from lack of oxygen and was literally not herself. During the visit to the hospice that time I had my fiancé Heath with me. I literally walked into her room and once I realized how far from herself she actually was, I burst into tears and walked out. It took me almost 10 minutes to calm down enough to be able to go back in her room. So when Rick called me that morning saying that she was acting like her old self again I was both grateful for the time I’d have with her, but also terrified that we were nearing the end. I’ve seen several loved ones who were sick and twords the end get all sorts of energy and act like their old selves. As I left to go to Cin and Ricks that morning, I told my fiancé my fear. He reassured me that regardless…this was quality time with Cin. And I planned to spend every minute I could with her.
So after our “girly girl” events…Cin decided she didn’t like the meds she was on and wanted to go back to the Dilaudid. In order to do this, she’d have to go back into hospice. This was supposed to be a routine trip but turned out to be anything but. A few weeks before this time, I went in for surgery on my ankle. Since my ankle was listed as “non weight bearing”, they had me in a cast and wheelchair. Lets just say that gave my sister the most excitement and fun I had seen in QUITE a while! Since she’d been in a wheelchair for most of my life, I used to walk behind her pushing her chair which REALLY annoyed the hell out of her. Once she saw that I was now wheelchair bound…LOL…I knew I was in for it!
As the nurses, our Mom and my fiancé Heath stood bye and watched…she proceeded to push ME all over the place just laughing and laughing that “You pushed me around for YEARS! Now its MY turn!” Lemme be the first to tell you…That girl could get some speed in her chair! We had to have looked like goofballs racing all around the hospice in our wheelchairs but Cin and I were just laughing and giggling like school-girls (With Heath and my Mom off to the side laughing)! When we were done, I went and asked one of the nurses if they had a Sharpie so Cin could sign my cast (bright pink of course!) Cin laughed and said “I’ve never signed a cast before…” So even now as I write this, I have Cins signature with “Think Pink!” written on my cast. On days I’m really down, it helps to be able to have a visual reminder of the fun we had the last few days…a reminder that even at the end…Cin was still there with me. I left that evening with my last words to her being “I love you Cin…” and her response being “I love you to Nic.” I was going to come back the next day to see her, but at 130am Heaths cell phone rang…and that was it. My sister was gone.
Those last few days we had a lot of time to talk. About life, about love, old boyfriends, our kids, about fears and regrets. We shared a lot of tears the last day I saw her. She was heartbroken that she wouldn’t see her new grand daughter Aleeyah grow up. I promised her that I’d check up on her kids and make sure I told her grandbaby all about Cin. I promised her I wouldn’t let her grandbaby not know who she was. That conversation is where we left off the last time I saw her before she passed.
After I got to the hospice the night she passed, I went into her room just her and I to say my goodbyes. I wont go into too much detail because it was such a personal moment, but I told her I loved her like crazy and I hoped her pain and suffering was finally over. I also promised that I’d make sure that Aleeyah heard all about Grandma and all the crazy things she did…but mostly I promised that I’d make sure that baby always knew how much she was loved.
So…this would be the end of Cindys journey. I hope that in some way her journey has helped you with your own.
In loving memory of:
Cindy Rose Phillips
July 1, 1971-October 4, 2013