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Growing Pains Pt.2: the Eternal Morning

For all those who actually read my blog when I update it I’m sorry for not posting this all at once. I really can’t write it all down without being over come with emotion and mentally shutting down. I do this to grow and honor the man who stood before me so I will push beyond it and finish, thank you!!!

Continues from the previous post:

After having an amazing dinner after an amazing graduation ceremony my father and I parted ways after exchanging the words “I Love You” to each other. As every day goes by I value this memory more and more because it’s the last thing I ever heard my father say. 

My wife and I stayed up a little while longer watching movies and editing footage of the graduation then hit the sack pretty hard.

BANG BANG BANG!!!

At first I was too deep in my dream to realize it was my cousin, Doug, beating on the door.

It came again,

BANG BANG BANG!!!

My wife and I woke with a sense of urgency and rushed for the door. By the time I got there he was down the hall already. He came rushing back at my call and my heart began to race. My cousin is a man who when dealing with me has always had a cool head, even tone unless I piss him off. He is my big brother basically and always protected me. But in this moment for the first time in life I saw that he didn’t have the strength to do so. His voice cracked as he spoke to me. With each break in his voice I had to swallow back fear and anxiety.

“Uncle Roy had a seizure, so auntie called me to help get him up. He wasn’t coming out of it so we called the paramedics. GET DOWNSTAIRS ITS NOT LOOKING GOOD!” He said with fearful urgency. I turned and finish getting dressed and my wife and I followed him downstairs. 

All I remember from this point was my heart was gripped with anxiety and I knew it was early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet. My family was pacing about downstairs and paramedics were in my parents room. I was ushered in to find my mom on the bed shaking with worry. My sister pacing but not going too far and saying “C’mon Daddy” to try and bring him out of the seizure state. The last thing threw me into a state of shock and/or awareness.

Everything around me began to bleed together except for the image of the paramedics trying their hardest via CPR to recesitate my father as he lay on the floor of the bathroom, lifeless. That’s such a jarring thing to see especially when your mind works the way mine does. I’ve earned my degree in biology, and been working in Veterinary medicine for over 5 years so I’ve picked up on a few things. So now in this moment I’m picking up on words such as cardiac arrest, no pulse detected, epinephrine isn’t working… and so on and so forth. It only got worse when I see my sister and mother holding on to a hope of him shaking this off. The moment I saw my dad there on the ground I locked eyes with him and forced myself to stand by his side and fight back tears. 

The first responders worked tirelessly for over 30 minutes trying their best to bring my dad back. They never stopped with their chest compressions the entire time. I never moved from that spot. My cousin Doug tried to get me to move away from the situation and I refused. My wife kept checking up on me, but I wouldn’t let her take me away. I barely blinked as I stared at them working. I stood firm as I fought back the urge to scream and cry out for him. I fought back the urge to jump in and perform chest compressions myself. I just didn’t move at all. This moment became an eternal morning, a hell in and of itself as my entire family suffered in hopes of hearing my father laugh about this later.

Hope… a funny thing really. Sometimes hope in the face of education and realization is nothing but a harmful ideal. It was for me in that moment. I knew my dad wasn’t getting up. I knew that the chest compressions would have worked by now if they were going to. I knew that they pulled some fluid out of his air way but I don’t know how much. I knew I was not going to leave him on that floor alone, and I knew my daddy was gone. Even with all that I knew, I still hoped. I hoped I was wrong. I hoped he would get up and we’d take him home. I hoped that eventually we’d build another grill together. I hoped we have more arm wrestling competitions and make more mix cds. I hoped he would one day see my first child if I was ever that lucky to have one. I hoped… I hurt… I still hurt…

The head paramedic finally after a long battle decided it was a loss. He was pissed off, spouting “I knew this wasn’t a damn seizure!” He was angry with the world at his defeat. He took off his gloves and looked at his watch then called out the time of death and I went blank to the world around me. I didn’t see anyone else but my lifeless dad on the cold bathroom floor. I wanted to go to him but he paramedics told me I wasn’t allowed to touch him until the coroner came. Simultaneously it was announced to my mother and sister that he was gone from this world and I became aware of my mom on the bed when she cried out. My mother and sister are strong people, the strongest of women, so I rarely see them cry. But seeing their tears that day felt like someone running my heart through over and over again as I choke on my blood. I couldn’t do anything for them, I wanted nothing more than to comfort them. But I couldn’t move. I wouldn’t move from my dad’s side. I wasn’t allowed to touch him. It I was going to be near him.

After waiting another eternity for the coroner to get there he performed his exam of my dad and gave us his cause of death in his opinion. It was a heart attack he deduced until further investigation. After he was done I finally spoke again, asking him, damn near weakly begging him to be able to take my dad’s watch off of him. My dad always wore this watch, it was Many, MANY years old. I needed to take it and keep it. To me it was like keeping him with me. Another piece of my hero that I could preserve. A watch I wanted protected more than life itself. After transportation came they readied him for transport and rolled him out on a stretcher. One of the hardest things I’d ever watched was to see them carry him down that hall and through the doors. Watching my sister cry as she was held by my brother-in-law is another pain in my heart I’ll never forget.

At this point none of us are really talking, and I’m sure my family really thought I was a heartless asshole at this moment because I didn’t cry. In fact I wouldn’t cry, I blatantly refused to cry because I felt I needed to be strong for my mother and sister. I willed my self into a perfectly stoic wall and tried to be there for everyone. So, I’m sorry to my family who reads this for that moment if you thought I was heartless, I was just trying to be strong. The key word is trying. My wife, my rock, could see that I didn’t need to try right now and got me back to our room once things were somewhat settled.

She tried to comfort me, talk to me and get me to talk back. She knows I will bottle things up until it sickens me. So I got to talking about my last conversation with my dad and that stoic wall broke. I just remember feeling immensely weak, like my soul would leave my flesh if it wasn’t for my wife holding me as I crumbled to pieces. Tears left my eyes with such ferocity as if offended that I held them back. I cried, I yelled, I felt utterly helpless and like an abandoned child. I just didn’t know how to process this event, this loss. My wife just held me, crying as hard as I was. My dad was a dad to her too, they bonded immediately and this crushed her, but because of me she held it all back because she wanted to be strong for me. I love her more than I can ever quantify for the admirable strength she has. I don’t remember much more from this moment on, I’m sure I cried myself to sleep in my wife’s arms. But there was no rest to be had…
To be continued 

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