I Lost My Father On Jan 19 2012 Unexpectedlyi dont know how to start this so ill just jump in on how i feel. for anyone reading this who is looking for a story similar to theirs, ill give you the jist. my dad at the age of 59 unexpectly in his sleep over 3 months ago when i was 20. before that he had a stroke almost exactly 5 years previous. he was in fine heath at the time of death but it is just a precurser to his last 5 years.
when i was 15, i remember going out with my dad to run some errands. we got home late and he started to complain about a headache. over the next few hours, the headache grew worse. we asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital but he said no. eventually everyone went to bed except for me. i was up late working on something. as i was working, i heard him get up multiple times in the night to vomit. it all seemed like signs of the flu. the next morning we all got ready for school and work except for my dad. naturally we assumed he was taking a sick day. usually we would all be out of the house by 7 but my mom was running late for work that morning. after she got ready ( as quietly as possible) she went to leave the house; but not before letting my dad know she was leaving. she called his name only to recive no responce. eventually she shook until he layed up in bed unable to speak, vomited blood, and collaped. what happened? my dad had a cerebral hemorage. its basically a stroke but has varying effects. this one in particular was a bleed in the brain that had clotted in the early parts of the night. a blood clot the size of a lemon grew in skull, squeezing his brain against the hard shell of his skull for nearly 10 hours. the doctors told us that had we waited any longer, he would have died.
after his stroke, my dad couldn't read, write, or do simple mathmatics. my whole family was devistated. before his stroke, my dad was a brilliant. i used to have congressmen come to my house for adivce from my father. i cant tell you the countless times i have been told by high ranking members of society that my dad was the smartest man they had ever met. at 15, i saw him literally fall from grace. i still remember how angry i was. i was so young, i still needed to be shaped into a man and now the 1 person who i looked to for help couldnt even say his name. additionally, i saw his pain. he was reduced to a shadow of the man he was, and he knew it. i always wondered how hard it must have been for him be in such a fragile state infront of the children who had previously looked up to him. he was at a point in his life when he should have been dictating the house hold and shaping his kids and progressing in his carreer. now he was little more than a child, with little authority, and a finished career. everything he had worked for was gone.
before his stroke, my dad and i were best friends. he taught me everything i know, he guided me through every problem i faced. he gave me strength when i needed it most. whats more, when i was in a crappy situation, he never sugat coated it for me. he told me how things were and how to get out of my problem (grades). i still remember all the times we would fix things around the house together. he would always make me fix things while he sat behind me giveing me instructions. the jobs always took longer but they were meant to teach me. asaide from that, we went fishing, cubscout camping, drove me everywhere and so much more. he really was a selfless man and always strived to shape his kids the best he could. he appreciaated family above all else. and not in that corny way either. he never spoke about how important family was, he proved it. his actions spoke louder than his words. my older sister who is 30 has a house and a husband and a kid on the way. he did a great job with her. for me and my twin sister, we had to get bits a peices from him in his dibilitated state.
after his stroke, we faught all the time. usually it was because he still wanted to teach me how to become a man but would become frustrated. that in turn would usually result in me losing my temper too quickly and eventually a fight would break out. he really was just worried about me but i was always too short tempered to appreciate the advice he gave me. i was his only boy and i treated him like dirt during the last 5 years of his life. i not only will never forgive myself for my closeminded temperment, ill always resent the fact that my dad was taken from me before we ever had a chance to eventually see eye to eye again; both as men.
as the years went on, my dad got worked everyday to get back to himself. in the hospital, the doctors told him that he would never see in his eye again, he may not gain use of his right side, and he will most likely never read write or perform elementery mathmatics again. inspite of all these obsticals, my dad re taught himself how read, how to write, how to do complex math, exercised daily, stretched his vision, worked around the house, and gained full speech. he really was a miricle story and an inspiration. as an accounting major, he was running circles around me a week before he died, and he did it all in 5 years, starting from the bottom.
during these five years, i was at a community college, looking to transfer to a prestigous institution. when i was accepted, he was so proud of me. i was the last of his kids to see leave the community college and move onto a 4 year school. not only that, we all went to the top 3 ranked universities in our state ( some of which are ranked nationally). we were finally picking up. our family wasnt broken after all.
then, 6 days before going away to school for the first time, my dad died...
again i was the last person to see him. this time, we had one of our routine fights and i regret to say that i said some horrible things to him. not only were my last words to my dad the product of voulgarity, they were also the last words he heard. but as i said, we had a fight. the man showed no signs of ailment. not like before. the man had enough energy to engange in an argument with me.
that night he went into my sisters bed to sleep (she had left for school already and we all missed her. plus her room is very cool at night). i was up all night reading a book (gofigure) and decided to take a shower at around 1 am. i ran into my mom on the way upstairs and commented on how strange it was that dad was sleeping in beths room. my parents each maybe sleep somewhere other than there room 4 times a year. she also took note of this but brushed it off as him just missing her. i remember saying we should check on him but we had both decided not to disturb him. afterall there was no reason for concern. the man was healthly. you may think that we should have been more alert after his stroke but keep in mind that was half a decade ago. napping aside, he had fallen asleep over 1800 times after the stroke. we werent about to wake him up every 5 minutes he tried to sleep just to see if he was ok.
anyway after i finished my shower, i went into my sisters room to grab a qtip. as i walked in, i banged my knee on her desk. not just any bang; a LOUD bang. my mom even heard it and called over to me. i said i was fine but i was concerned that i had woken my dad in the process. i decided to walk over to him and noticed he didnt stire during the noise. naturally i assumed he was asleep because he was a heavy sleeper. as i stood over him, i extended my hand out so as to hover over him. i was about to give him a shake and tell him i was sorry for the noise but thought better of it and figured he didnt even hear it. i was the last person to see my dad alive and i could have saved him that night. there is no telling if had already passed at that point or if he was on the brink of life but theres one thing im certain of; had i woken him up, he would have been much worse off after this, than when he had the stroke. he was really depressed after his stroke and it took every ounce of strength he had to get to where he was. he overcame a number of emotional and physical barriers and surpassed everyones expectations after a 5 year struggle. had i woken him up, if would have brought him back into his nightmare and i honestly dont know if he had enough left in him for another go.
the events of the next morning will forever be a part of the person i become. i was downstairs still reading when i heard my the scream. i have never in my life heard a scream like that and will likely never forget it. it was mom... i frantically ran upstairs and asked in panicked voice " WHAT? WHATS WRONG?". all she could muster from between her screeching was "DADS DEAD".
i froze. i wasnt panicked, i wasnt sad, i wasnt angry, i was just frozen. the word is really shocked. i was shocked. i ran up stairs and stopped in the doorway to see my mom on top of my dad, hugging and kissing him and pleeing for him not to be gone. " please jack oh god please no you cant be dead please".
i dont know why i was so collected at that moment. i didnt freak out or break down, i just attempted to grasp the concept that my dad was gone and immediatly thought about what the next steps were. i went over to my mom and grabbed her and hugged her and let her cry on my shoulder. i looked her in the eye and told her "its over mom, hes gone". i looked down and saw his pale stiff body still wrapped under the covers. i remember noticing how peaceful he looked. it was obvious that he had died in his sleep.
as this all took place in the course of about 15 seconds, my next action was to call the police. as i waited, i comforted my mom. when they came, i called her best friend to come over and comfort her while i would take care of informing the family.
i had no idea where to start. i only knew that the first people who should know are his daughters, siblings, and mother. i called my uncle first but he didnt answer. not a good start. next i called his wife to tell him. she picked up and things got underway. i decided to call him before anyone else because my dad practically raised my uncle. he was the new cornerstone of our family and he would know what to do. it amazes me how similar my uncle and i are in terms of how we react to situations. my oldest sister definitly handles situations like my uncle does but as more me, i react like my uncle. he didnt know how to go about telling the family either so we came up with a game plan together, often calling each other back and forth. finally we decided the structure. he would call my grandmas friend and tell her. she would then go over my grandmas and tell her in person, incase the news ended up being too much for her to bear in her old age. next we decided we would tell my oldest sister. i stood firm on the ground that i wanted to be the one to tell them and that it should be done in person. with 2 of them at work and one of them 7 hours away, this was a difficult manouver. in the end, i called my brother in law and told him about the preceding events. i then told him that he needed to drive over to where my oldest sister worked and tell her what happened, and then to bring her to the house. my middle sister was unreachable at that time so i skipped her for the timebeing. lastly, i called my twin sister. she didnt answer either but texted me saying she was in class. i texted her back that there was an emergency with dad to which she immediately followed with a phone call. as she berated me with panicked questions, i told her" we think dad had another stroke, you need to come home.
eventually my oldest sister and brother in law arrived. as we all hugged, i called more of my moms friends to come over for support. while i did this, i told my oldest sister how i handled things and she decided to do the same with our middle sister (calling her non stop until she answered). she came over next, then my aunt and grandma.
we all just sat and talked and cried and paced until finally my sisters flight came in. i ended up driving to the airport so i could break the news to her. but when i walked up to her, i couldnt do it. i ended up hugging her and she asked if he was ok. i didnt answer and we started walking to the car in silence, tears running down our cheeks all the while. after a few seconds she muttered "is he dead"? i paused and mumbled "hes gone". we immediatly stopped to face each other and hugged and cried in the middle of the airport. the best thing i could think to say was to remind her of the last time she saw him. it was right as she was about to leave for school. right as she was about to walk out the door and she stopped and grabbed my dad and started crying. she told him she loved him and that she didnt want to go. i dont think i could imagine anyone else having a better last good bye with a loved one than she did with him that day.
eventually everyone arrived including my cousin. he was only 15 at the time. growing up, my cousin and i always faught but had just recently become closr that year. when i saw him, we both broke down together and walked away. he was the first guy i was around all day and i couldnt have welcomed it more because i honestly consider him as a brother.
later we just got a bunch of alcohol and tried to drown our pain in booze. the following days included the wake and eventually the funeral.
the point is, my dad died with his pride. most of us are born into our familys only hearing stories about how hard our parents worked for us. about how much they sacrificed. we never truly understand the extent of their character or the veracity of their perserverence. if i had to count my number one blessing, its that i am one of the few who really can appreciate what my dad did for his family.
unfortunatly, i cant count maybe other blessings. the day after the funeral, i left for school with a plathora of unexplained and dormant mixture of emotions. anger, resentment, greif, sorrow, newly found anxiety (never had anxiety before) and more. i found myself getting into fights and becoming just a ****** person. my grades are dropping, i have no motivation, but i still want to make him proud. whats more, i want to make my family proud. i am the only man left to take care of my mother and 3 sisters. they are older but still, im the man of the house now. its hard to mourn properly when your so far away from your support system. it makes it even more difficult that i worked so hard to get here and i have nothing to show for it. at a time when i should be facing my feelings, i bottle them up so that i can make friends and be the social person that i am. i just want to go home and be with my family. im just so numb; devoid of all thought. why us? why him? he was such a fighter. if he had only known what was happening to him at that moment, he would have fought his aliment and overcome it. but no, instead he was asleep. to what extent is the cowardess of death; to take a man in his sleep instead of facing his resolve?
to add to this, my sister is pregnant. this is much needed in our family. we lost one and get another. its the cycle of life. this one in particular will be the first of the next generation. although we couldnt be more excited, its still sort of bittersweet. my dad worked hard his whole life just for his family. he had a lot of set backs in life. he was poor growing up, didnt get enough recognition for his work, lost a daughter, had a stroke, leaving him as a shell of the man he was. despite all these factors, he overcame them. if anyone should have seen their first grandchild, it was him. he earned that right and it was ******** away from him just 9 months short. he had more time, he was young. even if he had another year, he would have still expirenced becomeing a grandfather. he would have reached one of the final stages in life that we all seek to acheive. i will always hold resentment for the life he was cheated out of and the life we all now have to face in the wake of his death. even as i write this, i have a paper that is over due and no incentive to write it. the class is in a few hours and all i can think to do is nothing. its like im speeding towards a brick wall and i couldnt care less. i hope this story reaches atleast one person and helps them to release some of their built up pain. to those of you who have a similar story IE: dad who you were close with passing away at age 18-21 from unexpected circumstance and very suddenly, then id love to hear it.