In memory of Micki
My name is Jessica Carey. My life turned upside down due to AFE. On January 17, 2012 I lost my 29 year big sister Micki Carey Tobin and nephew Mason Tobin. This tragedy happened only two days prior to Micki’s scheduled induction. Micki, her husband and daughter (Hanna 3 years) were so excited for the impending birth of Mason. We talked every day at least a couple times a day and constantly played the game “Words with Friends” together on our phones. The night she died we had been playing the game together as late as 11:45PM. At 2:45AM on the 17th, just hours after we finished playing the game Micki’s husband called me. I assumed he was excitingly calling to say the baby was coming, but when I answered the phone, there was panic in his voice and he sounded terrified! He told me he had already performed CPR on her and was waiting for the ambulance to arrive. We hung up and I immediately started throwing things into a bag thinking I would go to the hospital. He called back and told me that there was nothing further that they could do! I kept packing as if he had not mentioned this and kept thinking I’d go to the hospital. It didn’t immediately sink in that I had really lost my sister and nephew.
I called my mom and told her to pack a bag and get to my house as soon as possible. I did not want her to drive to my house while upset so, feeling terrible, I let her believe that we were headed 4 hours North to see her new grandbaby. When she got to my house, about 30 minutes later, it broke my heart to tell her what had happened. My Mom did not believe me. I had to tell her repeatedly until the awful news sunk in.
Most people are prepared for the thought of living life after our Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and parents have passed away. It usually doesn’t occur to us, or at least it didn’t for me, that you might out live your child or you siblings. It is an extremely harsh reality check when you come to realize, that life can be cut short in the blink of an eye for anyone.
I am a very emotional person. I cry when I’m happy or sad, so my reaction that morning was more of how my sister would have reacted. I didn’t cry and I didn’t freak out. I just kept thinking that I had to get to where she was. After calling my Stepmom, to tell my dad, my Mom and myself headed to Hawley, Texas. We left at 4:00AM and arrived at about 8:00AM. It was the longest drive of my life!
Micki was a one of a kind! She was a strong person that could handle just about anything thrown her way. She understood me like no one else on this planet ever has or could. My sister was always really hard on me, telling me that I needed to grow a backbone, and to never let anyone treat me like a doormat. While she was alive I leaned on her to help me be strong. When something went wrong, even the smallest of things, she was the one I turned too. She always knew just what I needed to hear. She would let me cry it out and then give me a lecture about what I needed to do.
Micki always told me that I thought I was a princess and that really I was just a brat. And at times, She herself would call me Princess, would tell me that she was proud of me and that she knew I would make something of myself. Whenever we would fight or have a disagreement family would tell me that she was jealous of me, but the truth is I was jealous of her! I was jealous of her personality. My sister had a way with people and you either liked her or you did not. Micki did not sugar coat anything and would tell you like she saw it. She never worried about things and she was confident, which is something I have never really been. Sing, well she could sing like you wouldn’t believe. There are still days when a favorite song of hers plays on the radio and I can hear her singing along with it. I can hear Micki’s beautiful voice in Hanna, my niece, when she sings.
In the 2 years since her passing, I have come to realize that there is more of her in me than I ever thought could be. It has been really tough not having her personally around to lean on, while my whole world was turned upside down! I’ve been thru a divorce, lost my home and moved back in with my Mom. I have felt her in my mind, heart and soul giving me the strength and courage to say this is enough, I am better than this and to get up and leave. The old me would have just kept living in an unhappy situation letting my Ex keep stepping all over me. Micki also gave me a second chance at love without even realizing it at the time. I can feel her cheering me on in this new life that I have built without her.
Not a day goes by that I wouldn’t give up everything to spend another moment with her. I realize that she has given me everything I need to get through life without her here. She has shown me how to be strong and taught me how to standup for myself, and as she would say “be the kind of woman who when your feet hit the floor, the devil says OH NO SHE’S UP.”
It took me a long time to come to terms with no longer having my sister in my life. My family and I were having a very difficult time with her passing. I use to wake up every morning and have to remind myself that she is gone. I would keep my feelings shut off and to myself in order to not upset my family any more then they already were. I developed PTSD because I didn’t deal with any of it like I really needed to. I would cry alone where no one could hear or see me and found it difficult to sleep due to nightmares of reliving January 17, 2012. I was basically living my life like a Zombie and barely functioning. Finally my job decided I needed some extra help and recommended that I start seeing a doctor. Which I did and it really helped! Now I feel that since Micki couldn’t go on living, I will do it for her. I can help spread the word about what happened to her and support a foundation that is dedicated to doing the same. Since her death I have been obsessed with researching AFE. Knowing more about AFE helps make me feel better. Without the support of Members of the AFE Foundation, I would be lost. I hurt for all the women who have not survived AFE and for the ones who have survived AFE and who have or are having feelings of guilt for surviving. Everyone has a purpose in life. I believe my sister’s purpose has been completed. I feel that without survivors we wouldn’t have obtained all the additional much needed information regarding AFE. Also, the more women that survive helps to provide us all with hope that doctors are becoming more familiar with AFE. We have this wonderful support group of people that can relate to each other and important research being done all because of the women who have survived to share their stories!
I really feel that even though someone passes they never really leave you! Like the inspirational saying footprints on your soul…. She left many on mine and touched so many more. So to those that have lost a Sister, Wife, Mother, or Daughter to AFE, please know that you are not alone. It was hard for me to talk about at first, but now I’m loaded with information and ready to tell anyone who asks about my Sister. Spreading the word helps me heal and feel like maybe I could be helping to save someone else. That’s what my sister would want…she would want me to go on living and maybe save a life or two!