The last thing she asked for was chocolate cake. The last thing she did was nod when we told her we loved her. She was brave. She was strong. And she was not afraid.
With broken hearts we share that on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:49 p.m., Piper took her last courageous breath. She was at home, in our arms, surrounded by family.
We had little warning that the day would be her last. She woke up early, as she often did, wanting to watch a cartoon and eat cereal. She was a little more sleepy than usual, but she was just as smiley and giggly as every other day. At noon we put her in the car to go to Children’s Hospital for routine blood work, and as always, she ate more snacks and gave more giggles on the way. When we arrived, I picked her up and she fell asleep on my shoulder. I could feel her heart beating a little faster as I carried her to the seventh floor. When the nurse arrived to take Piper’s vital signs, we had trouble rousing her and her breathing quickened.
In less than five minutes from when we left our car, Piper was on oxygen and a team of doctors and nurses were caring for her. They gave her morphine and told us it was time to start her on Dilaudid and Versed to make her more comfortable.
Piper wanted to be at home for her final moments, so we drove back to Castle Rock. As always, she gave us some more smiles, and she ate some more snacks on the way. It was as if she knew she needed to be home and had been waiting for us to get there. As soon as we carried her inside and held her on the couch in our arms, her pupils narrowed and her heart started pounding. Her breathing became fast, and shallow, and she was struggling to breathe before the hospice nurse arrived and administered IV Dilaudid. She smiled at us one last time before beginning her journey.
She was not in pain as her breathing became sporadic. We told her we would love her forever, and that she was the bravest person we knew, and that we were proud of her, and that she made us happy every day, and that we thought she was perfect . And she nodded in agreement, then squeezed our hands to let us know that she knew all of these things . . . . And when it was time to go, she knew it was the right time. And when she went, we thanked her for showing us what true love is.
She woke before dawn and passed when the moon rose to take its place in the sky. She squeezed every drop of sunlight from her last day on Earth.
Mama and Daddy love you little dove. Lead the way sweet girl. Then come find us.
Thanks to all who have expressed interest in attending Piper’s service. Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome to join us in celebrating her beautiful life.
Friday, Oct. 26, 6:30-8 p.m. — Vigil (this will be informal, an opportunity to share stories and pay tribute) Location: St. Francis of Assisi Church 2746 Fifth St., Castle Rock, CO 80104
Saturday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. — Funeral service and reception Location: St. Francis of Assisi Church 2746 Fifth St., Castle Rock, CO 80104
Burial to follow at Cedar Hill Cemetary
880 E. Wolfensberger Rd., Castle Rock, CO 80109
*In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider making a donation towards DIPG research at The Cure Starts Now using Piper’s tribute link: www.donate2csn.org/piper