A Very Personal Note from Thomas Wade Clegg III
Your notes, calls, e-mails and gifts in memory of Rev. Elisheva Clegg, who died in the UVA Medical Center on April 6, have been so meaningful to me and our four children, plus Sam McLawhorn and those who have supported our charitable activities over the last eight years. Please know that in due course I will make contact and respond to your comments and wishes.
Our personal life as ordained Interfaith Ministers, although separate from the IHS public charity, was used as a supportive branch for funds for the charity. Elisheva was so enthused each time we wrote and performed a wedding, but especially for the last six years when we allowed couples to participate with charitable giving as a part of their fee.
So Much Has Changed and Will Take Time to Adjust
Emotionally, I found myself forgetting simple things and just needing to withdraw for short periods. I know we are behind in writing e-mails and posting blog notes, but that negligence on my part will change. The emails and blog postings may be shorter, but this next month we will provide more details on those who have been helping.
So Many Have Asked: What happened on April 5-6 that led to Elisheva's death?
I can only tell you that Elisheva did NOT die from cancers in both her lungs. She was working through a well-planned program with the UVA Cancer Center Lung Specialists, beginning at the first of the year. I have every confidence that the Lung Cancer Center was in route to a complete and fruitful result had Elisheva lived for the removal of the cancer from her right lung which was scheduled for April 7. She died the day before her final operation.
April 5th beginning at about 5:30 PM was a nightmare in slow motion
Elisheva walked to our upstairs bedroom, following a long conversation of planning for the remainder of the summer. She called me to come upstairs. She was having intense pain in her back and chest and needed assistance. The ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and we were in UVA Hospital ER within the hour. She remained in ER for at least 6 hours
From slow nightmare to panic alarm
During the transition process from her ER rolling bed to the room bed, Elisheva experienced further distress and a code was sounded. The room filled with a multitude, all working feverously for almost twenty minutes until a heartbeat was noted. Twenty minutes is a long time.
The next move was down the hall to ICU
More hours passed. The description of exploratory intrusion to find the source of the internal bleeding will not be related. The exploratory was necessary if the bleeding was to be stopped, but the cumulative efforts ended at 0944 hours.
The death certificate reads
Elisheva C. Clegg died of cardiac arrest, hemorrhage, chest wall trauma. Other significant conditions: PEA arrest from unknown cause, CPR resulting in chest wall trauma. Now you know what happened as concisely as I can offer.
Some final thoughts
I got through the funeral that Sunday, but I do not remember who was there. Elisheva was there in a lovely wooden coffin which my daughters selected for cremation. I only had one wish and that was to have all four of my very adult children and their children hear from so many friends what generosity she provided with her life. She loved so deeply and offered such kindness. There was never a day when she did not say to me, one of the following several times: "I love you so much." " Do you know how much I love you?" " Let's do 20 more years, OK?" And I said, "Twenty years plus one!" And she would kiss me.