Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nicholas William Raitt

...born January 17th, 1989, earned his angel wings on June 2nd, 2011 at the age of 22.

Tuesday didn't start out well for Nick as he took a tumble trying to walk from his bed to the bathroom. Gave himself a bloody nose and gave us quite a scare, but he promised to ask for help when needing to walk somewhere. By Tuesday afternoon, he was on his cell phone talking to one of his buddies, "Just waiting for dinner, so if you come over, come hungry!" I was cooking spaghetti and he could smell it. Turns out he invited a few of his friends over to watch the NBA playoffs. He was mostly confused and sleepy but contributed to the manly conversation of statistics and athletic skill sporadically throughout the game. He would look at his cell phone often with a curious gaze, not sure what that contraption was supposed to do. How he actually made phone calls is beyond me. He declined eating anything and started to drink less and less water. He was so alert at some points, I kissed the top of his head and told him he looked down right healthy. He'd respond, "I know!"

By bedtime Tuesday, I told him I may or may not sleep in his room, but if he needed help, he was to call for me. He said, "Ok, I'll call for you, or... (lowers his voice softly) whisper for you if you are sleeping next to me." He ended up needing help often - we were up four times for restroom runs. Then about 4:00 a.m., he began throwing up - a lot! We finally just got up at 6:00 a.m. and moved to the couch and he said he was having severe pain in his left shoulder. Hospice came over Wednesday morning around 9:30 a.m. His vitals were just barely beginning to drop and we gave him some liquid morphine for the pain. And then he took quite the nap.

I sat by him all morning and afternoon, as did Lee, Todd & Carly. By 8:00 p.m., his breathing became a little labored and I couldn't get him to respond to me if he was in any pain. I became upset and called for the hospice nurse again. His vitals had dropped significantly and she advised us we had anywhere from now until 72 hours left with him. Lee gently carried him back into his own bedroom so he could be comfortable. Lee was able to have a special conversation with Nick while I consoled the girls. Then Lee, Carly, Kelsey and myself all went into his room and had a family prayer. Just as we said "Amen", Nick opened his eyes and said, "Hey, what is going on in here?", just like he had walked into an intervention. We smiled and said, "We are praying," and he said, "Oh, ok."

Todd came back and we all sat in Nick's room, recalling various stories while holding his hand or touching his arm. One particularly sweet moment happened while we were trying to scooch Nick up closer to the headboard so his long legs would fit on the bed. Todd was on the side of the bed and I was behind Nick on the bed. Todd was trying to lift Nick and put his arms around his body, while Nick draped his arms around Todd's neck. Then all of a sudden, Nick said, "Oh, hug..." and embraced Todd. Todd was so surprised as Nick never likes to hug and embraced him back. Nick didn't want to let go. It was such a touching gift Nick gave his dad. It is amazing how blessed we all were to have our own special one-on-one moments with Nick.

By midnight, we were all pretty tired and decided to take turns. Todd took the first shift and we all went to our own beds. At 2:19, Todd called for me and I came into Nick's room just as he had taken his last breath. Todd said it was very peaceful. We woke the rest of the family and called hospice again.

Nick's dog, Scooter, is so sad. He sat by Nick's spot on the couch, placed his face between his paws and just looked towards Nick's bedroom with the saddest eyes. He stayed in Nick's room when we were all in there together and he came out just after Nick passed looking for some love. This is unusual because he is such a teenager when it comes to sleeping - he needs about 12 hours a day.

I know our angels are still here as when my hatred of cancer comes boiling over for taking Nick away, the rage dissipates immediately and I only have an overwhelming feeling of love for my sweet boy. There are so many more stories but will keep them with our family for now.

So much to do... Funeral information will be decided later today. Thank you all so much for your love.

With enormous gratitude,

Lori, Lee, Carly, Kelsey and Todd
and Scooter, too


Indigo RAYN said...

The first song that came on my pandora this morning was We'll be together again by Evanescence.

Here are the begining lyrics... "Never thought that I'd be leaving you today, so alone and wondering why I felt this way. So wide the world ~ love will remember how to get me home to you someday. We'll be together again..All Just a dream in the end...We'll be together again!"

Todd, Lori, Carly, Kelsey & Lee..I am sending prayers of peace and comfort as my heart aches for you all. Beci

David & Jenny - Your Friends from CT. said...

Lori-Lee: I sit in my office humbled to know both of you - I don't know how you did it - your positive attitude is just simply something I couldn't imagine being able to do throughout this journey -holding my head as high as you and your entire family has done would be practically impossible - a word that doesn't come into your vocabulary often. The first time I met Lee the first words he spoke about was how proud he was of his son Nick and the positive attitude he brought to this disease. Lori - you are "A Rock" - you certainly don't need to carry one around to stay in gratitude. I am so sorry that the journey ended the way it did - we rooted and cheered for all of you that the outcome would have been different. But you should be proud of Nick - although his time on this earth was not as long as it should have been - he lived life to the maximum! Breathing it all in - When he went into the water he got ALL of the water on himself! The only way he knew to do that was from the lessons he learned from you. Our hearts go out to all of you.

Anonymous said...

I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Nick's story has touched me immeasurably and my heart goes out to you all.

Much love


Anonymous said...

There are no words to take the pain away. Dean said to me this morning "the cancer may have gotten Nick's body but it never got his soul". So true. Happy journey Nick. I know he's surrounded by love and health. Love and comfort to you all. GM Jennie xxxxxx

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your loss, Nicholas was an inspiration to the people he met and his smile will be missed. The work he did as an assistant camp director at FD (where I knew him- fellow Rhabdoers) showed a strength of spirit that belied his age. In 22 years, he lived a lifetime. He will live on in our hearts. You are very lucky, talented and blessed to have raised him!
Best wishes and all my care,
Ryan 'Shipwreck' Shupe

Anonymous said...

Dear Lori & Family, my heart is breaking for you all, I am so in awe of the courage and great love, you've all shown during this journey. I wish I could do anything to help in any way. You are all in my prayers!
Joanie Carl

Stiletto said...

I met Nick after attending my initial camp with First Descents back in 2009. We got to attend two FD Balls together, and two other camps in Moab together. Nick was my favorite cowboy. We often talked about how he could pull off a tasteful western ranch wedding...all that was missing was the cowgirl.
Nicks sweet, calm, and beautiful nature were just a few of his best attributes. He was gentle and loving, and I am so grateful I got the chance to know him.
He will be missed...but his legacy will continue.
In two days myself and a few of Nicks FD family will depart to attempt to summit Mt. Hood. We will carry Nickname in spirit...all the way to the top.
My hearfelt prayers go out to your entire family.
Beth "Stiletto" Silverman

Anonymous said...

Nick and your entire Family have been the most amazing inspiration to those who need it. He is an angel and you are still the messengers. Thank you for sharing your life, I am forever grateful.


Jay and Anne Paterson said...

With Gratitude,
for a life well lived,
and Loved.

Kris said...

Farewell NICKY.

I have wanted to write a comment for so long, I just had no idea what to write to someone who(too soon)would be wrapped in the arms of our Savior. Maybe I should have aksed him to "put in a good word for me".

Lori & family, I have been amazed at your strength. You have all been a great example of how to live life to the fullest!! My heart aches for you.


sdigerolamo said...

Dear Lori, Todd, Lee, Carly and Kelsey,

I am so sorry. No words can ever ease your pain or take away your suffering. I won't even try. Just know that I love Nick and am sending huge prayers for peace in the upcoming days ahead. Lori, you know where to find me if you ever need a shoulder.
I am always here for you.
Sarah (Vinny's Mom)

Anonymous said...

Lori, Todd, Carly, Kelsey, and Lee,

We are so sorry for your loss. Nick was a wonderful young man who had such a big heart. He will no doubt do wonderful things in heaven and I hope that one day when I meet him up there I can hear all about them.
You have all been such an inspiration these last few years. You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this time.

Lori, Shawn, Ashley and Ryan Traudt

Anonymous said...

Nick will be missed. I will miss reading about his adventurous activities and your family's amazing attitude. Prayers & blessings of peace for all of you...

Paula Lietzke
Nolan's mom

Kristin said...

Your post is so touching, thank you for sharing the beauty of your family with us. Nick will never be forgotten, how very blessed I feel to have briefly crossed paths with him. What an example you are Lori. Thank you for touching me the way you have. Know that I will be praying for comfort and peace as you endure this unimaginable heartache.

Chelsea said...

Thank you for sharing those sweet moments. I can feel the love just reading your touching words, it is really amazing. Lori, please know that you have lots of prayers coming your way. You also have an army of cancer moms who love you and your family. We were all truly touched by Nick and his efforts to help cancer kids who come after him. It is rare and special for someone his age to think of others the way he did. Thank you for sharing your story so openly with us all. My heart aches for you and your family. Sending a big, giant cancer-mom hug your way. XOXOXO, Chelsea Carver

Obsessedwithlife said...

Thinking of your family...

Anonymous said...

My heartfelt prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. Nick left a strong foot print and I am sure you are so proud him.
My son Michael, aka Traintracks remembers Nick with great affection from the FD Ball. I hope all the comments and love coming your way,
are of comfort.

aka Mama Lou

Amanda said...

I am so sorry.

Aubrey said...

My heart goes out to your family. NIck's legacy will live on through those of us who's lives he has impacted. I wish that I would have had the honor of knowing him personally. From one cancer mom to another- May God bless your sweet family.
Aubrey Thomas, mother of Jenna Thomas. Diagnosed with ALL, July 2009 West Jordan, UT

Zpora said...

Thank you for sharing the details of this painful day. It is amazing to me how much wonder and love there is sharing space with grief and sadness. What an incredibly and strong family you all are. Sending love and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Praying for the family. Peace and love, Mike and Missy

Monkks said...

This one hurts so much Nick we will never forget you. Lori, Nick knew he could not have dreamed a better mother or family. Damn I hate this. Prayers of peace, love and sense of it someday thanks for sharing Nick

Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless.

C.O.L.E.'s Prayer Team

Carol R. Cole, Ph.D. said...

Lori, Lee and family and friends who love Nick, my heart opens with such deep compassion and sympathy for you. What a blessing Nick was and what a blessing his story will continue to be. He lives on in so many hearts and minds. I'm glad I knew him briefly and know you so I can be with you in Spirit on this journey. Much love and my deepest condolences.
Carol Cole

Anonymous said...

Nick's Dad Here,

I was in Moab this weekend and could feel Nick all around me. I believe the following poem, author unknown summed up Nick's thoughts and it sure helps me:
Miss me--but let me go.
When I come to the end of the road and the sun has set on me.
I want no rites in a gloom filed room, why cry for a soul set free.
Miss me a little--but not to long, and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared, miss me--but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take, and each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan, a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart, go to the friends we know and bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me--but let me go.

Thanks to everyone that helped Nick to complete his journey here on earth!

With Love,
Todd Raitt