How I Lost My Dad

Several years ago when my son was a baby, my husband and I would take a trip to Las Vegas every year for his work and to visit with family and friends there. It was a fun way to have a little get away on the company dime. My husband had to do some work so my son and I would walk around Vegas and do sight seeing.

Now to those of you are appalled that I would take a toddler to Vegas... grow up... Vegas during the day is not a naughty ***** club... its full of awesome sight seeing from the pirate ship at Treasure Island, the Parade in the Sky at the Rio, to the Water show at Ballys.

After a couple of years of going with it just being my husband, son and I, I started getting bored during the day without another adult to talk to, so I started bringing my parents along on the trips and we could do the sightseeing together.

7 years ago, when my son was almost 4 we did one of these fun trips. On the last night of the trip we went out to a late lunch at Rain Forest Cafe. Had a fabulous time. Everyone was full of smiles, we sat by the fish tanks... it was so much fun. That evening, my dad decided he didn't want to go to the World's Greatest Magic Show (at one of the dive casinos). This was not an unusual thing. Dad was not much of a people person and he would get over stimulated quite easy. He also was not a very healthy person. At the age of 43 he had already had his first of 5 heart attacks. He also had had countless back surgeries. He was a mess. So for him to sit one out was no big deal. We left him at the Hotel room at the Rio and my mother, husband and almost 4 year old son went to the show.

The show was cheesy and fun, after the show my son wanted to get all the performers autographs. So we did, on a new t-shirt. He was so excited about his shirt. He couldn't wait to get back to the room to show his Papa what he got.

When we got to the hotel room, my dad was sitting on the floor. VERY unusual behavior for him and he had this big welt by his eye. My first thought was some ****** hit my dad! We asked him what he was doing sitting on the floor and he was confused. He had had a stroke. My mom and I sent my husband to the other room with my son. I didn't want him to see his Papa like that.

The rest of the night was a whirlwind of emotions. The paramedics came and thought he was having a drug overdose and we had to argue with them that this was not the pot or pain meds in his system.

They took him to a hospital and there was so many people in the ER... it was like a clip out of a bad movie. People passed out on the floor, drunk and high. Crazy people. I wasn't allowed back to see him, so I had to wait and watch the freaks alone. There was so many people there that night that he couldn't even get into a room. Eventually they sent us back to the hotel to wait and see what would happen.

It was so very horrible to have to walk through the casino to get to our rooms. Here is all these people celebrating and having a good time and I am having the worst night of my life. Whats going to happen to my dad. He's only 54 this shouldn't be happening,

At about 3am my mom says the hospital called... we needed to go say our good bye's he wasn't going to made it. Apparently when they cleared the blockage in his brain, the brain couldn't handle it and he started bleeding. His brain was dead.

We had to go back through the horrible casino listening to the loud music, the flashy clothes, the smoke..... got into the taxi and the driver is trying to make small talk with us... I wanted to shout at him... but it wasn't his fault, he had no idea what was going on in my world. All I could think about on the car ride was of the pictures I had taken that day. I was so angry with myself. I had deleted two pictures that had my dad in them. The only two I had taken of him the whole trip cause he didn't look good in them. It was the only thing running through my head... pictures...pictures... pictures.... how would I get them back? Why did I have to be so picky about them?

When we got to see him, the nurse and Dr explained about brain activity and blah blah blah..... basically he was dead... they couldn't save him. I then told the nurse to remove the tubes... I didn't want my last memories to be with **** in his mouth. So they did and we watched him take is last breathe. It was unreal. We were in shock. I couldn't believe that it had happened.

In the morning I then had to explain to my 4 year old son about death. Quite simply the hardest conversation I have EVER had to have. I highly recommend talking to your small child about death BEFORE you have someone die.

We then had to experience a funeral home. We chose to have my father cremated... which is what he would have wanted. One of the worst parts about the whole experience was that our flight to come home was not until that night. We were checked out of the hotel and had to waste a day in Vegas with a 4 year child. We were all in shock and that day was the longest day of my life. There was a storm in the air and beautiful clouds in the sky. I found myself staring up at the clouds the whole time, thinking about the nightmare of a day and how dad wasn't coming home. My life was forever changed.

When we were at the airport waiting for a delayed plane, my son who not shy in the slightest was talking to everyone he could find. He was talking to this one man and telling him how his Papa was in heaven now... and the man said oh I'm so sorry and he looks at me and says.. how long ago did this happen? I answer... This morning.... The man's face turns white and he says his apologies and quickly finds a new area to sit.

There was only one empty seat on the plane on the way home, next to my mother...

We made her stay at our house that night and we went through our grief together. It took the stupid funeral home 2 months to get my father's ashes home. I felt like there was a hole that couldn't be filled until he got home.

We ended up moving back into my childhood home with my mother. She couldn't handle being in the big house alone. Eventually my mother and I took my Dad's ashes and released them into the sea. We named a star after him. I know...cheesy and not real... but it helped us for some reason.

Now every holiday and on his birthday and anniversary of his death, we take helium balloons and whisper our special thought and messages into them and release them up to the sky. Our little way of sending Papa our love.

My dad died 7 years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of him in some way. Funny thing is, when he was still alive, I never told him I loved him. We were not THAT close. My family has never been touchy feely. But the love IS there and we all knew it... just didn't express it. I feel like I am closer to my dad now then I ever was.

He has come and visited us several times now... but thats a different story for a different day.
JoeysGoddess JoeysGoddess
36-40, F
Nov 27, 2012