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Geri Richard

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In October 2008, about a week after a family reunion we hadn’t done in over a decade, my mother, Geri, started to feel under the weather. This wasn’t unusual, Mom was always getting colds and bronchitis, she was unlucky like that. She didn’t think much of it and neither did we. Another week went by and Mom wasn’t getting better, in fact she was getting worse. She was barely getting out of bed and sleeping most of the time.

I worried but I was young and ignorant and thought maybe she was also depressed. Another few days past and still she deteriorated. I remember looking at her and saying “if you don’t do something you’re going to die.” She shrugged me off. She was a proud, stubborn woman and despite barely being able to keep her eyes open, she persisted.

It was my brother who finally decided to take action when she wouldn’t wake up. He called an ambulance and she was rushed to a local ER. We were told Mom had a very serious case of pneumonia. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) I came to the hospital to see her and give moral support. My mother, the powerhouse, dancer and gymnast, was a shadow of herself. Pale and gaunt, slurring her words and dazed. They told us they’d hold her for a few days but she’d be okay. I believed them. I hugged her, kissed her and told her I’d be back in the morning to see her before heading back home.

Sometime in the early hours of the morning they called “Geri had a heart attack and we’re trying to resuscitate her.” The words had meaning but made no sense. She was supposed to be fine! She’s only 49! We rushed back immediately but by then her brain was gone, all that was keeping her alive was a ventilator. The doctors said things like “renal failure,” “heart attack,” and that word that still haunts me, “sepsis”. They said they didn’t realize it was that bad. I was so angry. I begged with her, pleaded, “don’t leave me”. She was my soulmate, my best friend, my mother. By noon she was gone. She was 49 years old. I wish I knew then what I know now about the insidious disease so few know still kills. I tell her story in hopes that it’ll save a life, save a person from feeling the pain I still feel every day. Tell her story, say her name, save a life.

Source: Lisa Wynn, daughter

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