Yesterday I posted something I wrote immediately after our 22 year old daughter, Teal, died unexpectedly of an unexplained heart attack. Here is what her Dad, my former husband, Larry Barns, wrote in tribute to her. I love his words here.
Teal, our beautiful free spirit, died last night about 10PM. A CAT scan yesterday, the first they dared give her in the proper position, showed massive brain damage far beyond what they had originally assumed. And the meds being given to her to stem brain swelling had been pushed to the limit.
The decision was made by us and her team of neurologists to slowly remove the various medications and assistance devices she was on, and finally let nature take its course.
An eerie calm settled over all of this when the unplugging began. After a week of riding the emotional roller coaster, a sense of peace, calm and acceptance settled over Suzanne, Luke and I.
I was secretly hoping that during this time of weaning off of life support, Teal would decide to come back to this side and use her incredible healing powers to do so. But she has chosen to stay on the other side, her soul free from what we believe were the anxieties, panics and other consequences she lived with from the drugs that controlled her epileptic seizures but seemed to interfere with other aspects of her life.
She has chosen this path to inspire all of us to use our talents and follow our dreams. Teal was not without strength which she used constantly. Her solo travels with a backpack took her all over Europe, Asia and North Africa. She skydived with friends from a plane two miles in the air. Her incredible crystalline or bluesy voice, depending on what she was singing, will never be forgotten by anyone who ever sat in her presence.
Her compassion for others was enormous. Her innocence and naivete (and I say naivete in the best possible sense) were at the core of her existence. She was a seeker and a generator of kindness and peace in the world.
It was such a gift to me to meet the endless stream of visitors from her life in San Francisco, from Nacho who made music with her to Sarah Alice, her housemate from Georgia who stood by teal and us like a rock, fixing us meals and tending to us at the hospital, to Amber her acupuncturist, to Alex and Bunkerd, who taught her jiu jitsu and kick boxing. Teal was light in their lives as they were in hers and now are in ours.
The nurses at the hospital who had shifts with Teal repeatedly told us how they were so moved by Teal, her music which we played by her bedside, and our family dynamic overall including the maturity of Luke with his thoughtful and piercing questions.
One of the nurses who was supposed to be with Teal on the final night came up to us in the hallway as we were leaving. She said that she had had to excuse herself from Teal’s duty because she wouldn’t have been able to conduct herself according to the nurses professional code. Simply because she felt too personally connected to Teal.
We were told by the head of neurology, in the presence of his team, that our family dynamic was an inspiration to all of them. And they had learned so much from Teal and from our experience with them.
Teal has donated all of her healthy organs and tissues so as many others as possible may enjoy a longer, healthier life.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers and energy you have been sending our way. They have been, and continue to be so helpful throughout this whole totally unexpected and transitional experience.