Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In the Last Hour

This is the Sunday Scribblings topic from over a week ago, but I didn't know then if I could write what I want to write or not. I'm still not sure if I can make it through it.

In the last hour of my father's life... The hour just before death stole him from me... I didn't even see him. I was at a little league football game with my son and daughter. I saw neighbors of my parents walking around the field area who aren't normally there, but I didn't think anything of it. I found out too late.

His last hour on this earth was spent in service to others. I so admire him. He was at a refresher class for CPR. They were learning to do the Heimlich as part of the class, and he had asked someone to demonstrate on him so he would know that he was doing it correctly. That may have contributed to his death as he had bleeding in his stomach when he was in the hospital. The hospital staff was never able to completely revive him. He was on machines keeping his heart pumping and his lungs breathing. He had come home from the class and collapsed in the bathroom. My mom was there alone and had just had knee surgery. She tried to get to him, but physically, she couldn't do anything. She had to call for neighbor's help and dial 911. I still wonder if she had been a little braver and less concerned about re-injuring her knee and tried to revive him herself if he would have lived. Probably not, but I wonder. He had suffered a type of brain aneurysm/stroke. They called it a sub arachnoid hematoma, or something like that. He was only 69.

The last hour with him.... No, the last hours. I can't forget all the wires and tests and so many friends who showed up at the hospital. I remember arriving at the hospital and asking, "Is Daddy awake yet?" When they told me no, I cried and asked, "Why not?" No one could really explain it. I didn't understand. I had no idea how serious things were. He was supposed to live to be 98 like his father before him! When would he wake up and get well?

He was transferred by life-flight to a better hospital in the medical center. They ran their own tests and told us there was nothing they could do. There had been too much blood on the brain. Even if he could breathe on his own, and even if his heart would pump, there was no activity in the brain.

The last hour... I held his hand and tears streamed down my cheeks as they disconnected the machines. I wanted him to start breathing on his own. I prayed for it! I hoped against hope! I remember crying, "No daddy, don't go!" And his heart blipped a little faster. Then it began to slow, and I kept hanging on to his hand. I couldn't let go. I still can't. Finally, it stopped. I will never forget that silence. That was the saddest day of my life. I miss you so much, daddy, and I love you so much. And I can't wait to see you in Heaven. But for the rest of my life here on earth, I will always remember holding your hand and holding hope until it was wrestled away from me.

My children loved him dearly. I so looked forward to them growing up with him as their Papaw. He was already a huge part of their lives. He was Mr. Fix-it, and Mr. Ride-a-little-horsy, and Mr. You-look-away-while-I-steal-your-jello. That's probably what makes me the saddest, that my kids were only 8 when they lost him. He was such an awesome grandfather. And he was a rock of strength for me through hard times. He was going to be everything to them that their father wasn't.

Dad, I'm so lucky to have had you as a father. You are the finest man I'll ever know, the most decent, the best influence in my life, taken too soon. I love you. Please come back.

2 comments:

BeccaGirl said...

What a sad and touching piece of yourself you have shared here. Thank you for taking the time to record it. Isn't it hauntingly wonderful to go back and re-read some of these older posts? Thanks for sharing!!!

MomOf3 said...

What a lovely tribute to your father. He sounds like a great man.

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