I Know the Show Must Go On

After waiting for what seemed like a year from the Medical Examiner’s office, we finally received Torey’s cause of death this past Monday:

Cardiovascular Disease in conjunction with Cardiac Hypertrophy

Heart disease.

I’m sad we didn’t know sooner … I would have done whatever I could to help him live longer.

It’s not fair.

Yes, there’s a little sense of closure, but at the same time …. it’s just not fair.

I took some time on Tuesday morning and forced myself to take the same route I did that awful November morning. I bought some flowers: white Hydrangeas and Tulips (he loved buying those types of flowers for me). This would be my third trip to the site since November. The first time was with Das. The last two times were on my own.

I cried the whole way there, remembering every moment:

After getting ready for the day, we got in our truck to begin our morning commute. It was unusually warm and windy to be so close to Thanksgiving.

We remembered the night before where we had some friends over to talk about the website they wanted for their new business venture.  Torey had cooked dinner for all of us. He made spaghetti and poured drinks, making sure everyone was well fed. It was a nice evening, but he was under a lot of stress, too. We both were to be honest, but the night went well and we made the most of it.

As I drove that morning, Torey nodded in and out of sleep as he usually did. Das was in the back listening to his music while I listened to the Shan and RJ Show on 105.3 The Fan. I wasn’t really listening though … I was in my own thoughts and was acknowledging how bad of a year 2019 had been so far. Torey’s stress from work was a lot to deal with along with the loss of my Willy Chinanna (Uncle). The words “janky ass year” kept going through my mind.

After I dropped Das off at school at 8 am, Torey reclined his seat to take his usual nap.

He noted, “Well I guess I’ll go to sleep since you’re not in the mood to talk.”

He covered his face with a fleece blanket – again, something he always did in the mornings. Normally it was a royal blue blanket, but this time he used the ugly cammo-printed one.

I wanted to say that I’m normally quiet in the mornings because for starters, he knows I’m not a morning person and secondly, he always naps around that time so why bother him!? I let him make it and didn’t get sassy. Kinda wish I had though … just to have some more words with him. 

I’m sad this was the last verbal exchange we had. I wish I had told him, “I love you” instead. 

I was at a stop light off of Preston and Alpha heading towards 635. Then it happened. I’m not going to go into detail because I relive that moment multiple times a day. I’m not going to describe the physical details of what he went through, but I will describe the other moments.

I screamed, shouted his name, smacked his face to wake him up while I pulled into the closest parking lot. Trembling and fumbling with my phone to call 911, I jumped out of the truck and ran to the other side. It was just in time for me to see and hear what seemed like the longest exhale anyone could ever release as he slumped over.

I unbuckled his seat belt. I remember the 911 Operator was coaching me to check for a pulse, I did what he told me to do while trying to keep it together. It was just too much. Panic set.

The EMS crew showed up 5 minutes later. They tried CPR, they tried the defibrillator several times, gave him a shot of adrenaline… all of this was happening too fast and not fast enough. I wanted to see him open his eyes and gasp for air again. That’s all I wanted. They asked so many questions, I just don’t remember what all they asked.

They rushed him to the ER while I rode in the passenger seat of the ambulance… they didn’t want me in the back with Torey. The whole time I could hear them yelling terms I didn’t recognize while trying to get a pulse. The blaring siren was overwhelming, but necessary. The hospital was 4 miles away and we got there in 5 minutes through the thick of morning traffic.

I quickly followed them and was told to wait outside of the ER room. They sent for a Chaplain which I thought was too soon, but okay. I sat there praying and hoping that all he would need is some kind of surgery to help him regain his breathing. That’s all.

I expected them to wheel him off to an operating room. I was more than willing to live in that hospital until he was better. In that moment I was thankful for having health insurance. I just knew he would be okay. I just did, but based on what I was hearing coming out of his room … it didn’t sound okay.

Nurse Kelly asked me if there was anyone close that I could call. Anyone who I could use for support. She told me the doctors were doing everything they could for Torey, but also made it clear that it wasn’t looking good.

My mind went blank. I didn’t want to alarm the family, yet, because I had the intention of informing them when he was in the operating room. I believed he would be breathing on his own again.

The first person I called was Joe. I couldn’t speak coherently so I asked the nurse to talk to him for me. I’m so thankful for the decision to contact Joe.

15 minutes went by and nothing changed. Nothing improved. I could hear them trying and trying.

Dr. B. Singh walked out of the room, got on one knee, held my hand and asked me if there were any known health problems.

“No, there weren’t – at least not to our knowledge.”

“Does his family have any heart related disease?”

“No, not that I’m aware of. He started smoking cigarettes recently…”

He thanked me and went back into the room. I felt helpless. Absolutely helpless and losing my mind. I wanted to be able to do something – anything.

Dr. Singh walked back to me and as he put an arm around my shoulder he gently said, “You don’t have to do this, but it’s important you know that we have done everything we could. His heart is simply not beating on its own. We have tried several times to encourage it to beat on its own, but nothing is working. Do you think he would want us to keep trying any further?”

Sadly I knew the answer to that question. We had talked about moments like this several times before. “Anita, if I’m ever in a situation where it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it – just let me go and be at peace with it. I don’t want to be hooked up to any machine that’s breathing for me. Just let me go.”

I had requested the same from him in return – it was a promise we both wanted to uphold, however I told myself that I would be long gone before him. I just felt like he had so much more to offer to the world than I do. It would only be fitting for him to live longer than me. It just made more sense to me. Even though we talked about it, I wasn’t ready. No one ever is.

There I was … in the position we had talked about. My heart told me what I needed to hear. He wouldn’t want any more of this. He just wouldn’t. I could hear his voice in my head telling me what to do…

My knees buckled. The doctor had to hold me up. All of the ER noises, the doctor telling me how hard this has to be on me … all just went quiet. I saw Torey laying there while they used the defibrillator. I couldn’t speak at first. Too many tears already.

I whispered it. They stopped. One of the other doctors called the time. 9:08 am on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Yes, 2019 was truly a janky ass year.

I got to the parking lot and parked the truck. A cold front was blowing in, it was gloomy and windy. I unwrapped the flowers as I shed more tears. I talked to him and told him how much I miss him, how much I love him.

I walked over to the spot and laid his flowers on the ground. It literally started to rain. This was the second time this happened within two days –Flowers for Torey Mitchell it had started to rain after I talked to the Medical Examiner’s office the day before as well. I stuck around for a few minutes and went about my day.

It’s always a treat to see his smile in my dreams now. I asked Das if he dreams about him, too … he said he usually doesn’t remember his dreams. I share mine  with him whenever I do.

The last one I had was of the three of us. We were at Twin Peaks ordering some food. Torey kept saying how he wanted to split the foot long Philly Cheese-steak sandwich with me and I was fine with that. He encouraged Das to get half of the portion for himself.

Das responded, “Dad, we’re not at Subway!” and all I could do is laugh.

I miss seeing the connection they had together – it was an amazing father-son relationship. Sure, it wasn’t always easy, but when is it ever? The bond they shared was so sweet and I’m so grateful Das knows Torey down to his core.

I know I fell in love with the right man.

I know I chose the right man to get married to.

I am honored to be the mother of his only child.

I am so lucky to have experienced his love and shared so much time together.

I am proud of the man our son is becoming. I know Torey is, too. I will do everything in my power to make sure Das is healthy, happy and taken care of.

I know the show must go on.

Now I’m gonna close this out with a song that’s running through my head because of it’s chorus… Torey absolutely loved this track (lyrics are listed below):

The Show Goes On

Lupe Fiasco

La-ser
Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Have you ever had the feeling
That you was being had
Don’t that shit that make you mad
They treat you like a slave
With chains all on your soul
And put whips up on your back
They be lying through they teeth
Hope you slip up off your path
I don’t switch up I just laugh
Put my kicks up on they desk
Unaffected by they threats
Than get busy on they ass
See that’s how that Chi-Town made me
That’s how my daddy raised me
That glittering may not be gold
Don’t let nobody play me
If you are my homeboy
You never have to pay me
Go on and put your hands up
When times are hard you stand up
L-U-P the man, ’cause a brand that the fans trust
So even if they ban us
They’ll never slow my plans up!

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder
When they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder
When they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

One in the air for the people that ain’t here
Two in the air for the father that’s there
Three in the air for the kids in the ghetto
Four for the kids who don’t wanna be there
None for the niggas trying to hold them back
Five in the air for the teacher not scared
to tell those kids that’s living in the ghetto
That the niggas holdin’ back that the world is theirs!
Yeah yeah, the world is yours
I was once that little boy
Terrified of the world
Now I’m on a world tour
I will give up everything
Even start a world war
For these ghettos girls and boys I’m rapping round’ the world for!
Africa to New York
Haiti then I detour
Oakland out to Auckland
Gaza Strip to Detroit
Say hip-hop only destroy
Tell em’ look at me, boy!
I hope your son don’t have a gun and never be a D-boy

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder
When they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder
When they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

So no matter what you been through
No matter what you into
No matter what you see
when you look outside your window
Brown grass or green grass
Picket fence or barbed wire
Never ever put them down
You just lift your arms higher
Raise ’em ’til your arms tired
Let em’ know you’re there
That you struggling and survivin’
That you gonna persevere yeah
Ain’t no body leavin’
No body goin’ home
Even if they turn the lights out the show is goin’ on!

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder
When they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

Alright, already the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder
When they would see the sun up
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on!

2 thoughts on “I Know the Show Must Go On

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