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this is the life

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Dad

I really feel like I hit the lottery in so many ways with my family. We are NOT perfect, not even close. But with my dad passing away I have felt so blessed for having such a great, imperfect, man in my life. To say 2016 has been hard would be an understatement. I walked a very lonely and sad road in 2016. A road many before me have walked and one that most people will walk at some point in their life experience, having a very sick family member. I cried so many tears. I have been exhausted. I put on a happy face even though I felt like my heart was physically aching. Most of 2016 I felt a deep emptiness in my chest that I just can't describe. I really had to ponder my religious beliefs. Do I really believe that if my dad dies I will see him again? Do I believe that our relationship really will carry on into the eternities? It wasn't until I talked to my mom on Wednesday December 14th, when they pretty much knew my dad had very little time left on earth, that I finally felt peace. I was overwhelmed with the amount of peace I felt. I knew I was loved. I knew I had been blessed to have him as my father. I knew I would see him again. My heart is still heavy and I am still sad, a little everyday. But I finally have felt peace.
I was blessed to talk to my dad on Tuesday December 13th. I happened to call home and he answered the phone.We had a very typical conversation. He picked up the home phone and said, "Yeah, what do you want daughter." Just like he always did. I asked him how he felt. He responded that he felt pretty crappy. I asked why. He explained that he had been having the chills and the shakes. He seemed tired and then said I had better talk to mom. I then said ok, I love you dad. And he replied. I love you too babe. Two things that I will miss so much about my dad is how he always answered the phone when I called. It was always the exact same way, he always pretended that he wasn't excited that I called. I will also miss how he always called me babe.

I am so grateful our last interaction was a typical conversation for us. Him not feeling well really didn't set off any alarms at the time because he has been so uncomfortable for so long.

Later that night my mom and aunt Virginia ended up taking him to the ER. He was admitted around 1am on Wednesday morning. He had cellulitis and a possible viral infection. They got him some antibiotics and kept him overnight. I did not sleep that night. I moved from my bed to the couch over and over. I think I was being prepared for what was coming, although I don't remember feeling alarmed. He had a rough night and while I was teaching first period I got a text that he had been moved to ICU, then a short time later a text that they were considering putting him back on  life support. WHAT??? I work with some of the best people. They stepped in and covered so I could call my mom and see what was going on. At this point Aaron was also with my mom and they met with the doctors and it was apparent that his time was very short. When I talked to them I could hear my dad in the background in so much pain. That was truly awful to hear. I think at that point I really just didn't want my dad to have to feel pain anymore. He has had so much pain this last year. Watching someone you love be in pain is absolutely miserable.  My class was covered for about thirty minutes and so I sat in the corner of the track and let myself mourn my dad. And it was at this time that I really started to feel peace. Wednesday my dads mom, siblings and California children gathered in Oroville. His Utah children gathered here. And we waited.

The next morning it was apparent his condition had worsened and the decision was made to take him off life support. We did not know how quickly he would pass away, but it ended up being really fast. I barely had time to leave work before I got a text saying his heart had stopped. I am so grateful he was surrounded by people who loved him as he took his last breaths on earth. I wish I could have been there but I was given an amazing gift of being able to spend so much time with him this past year. It is crazy how much love I have felt for my dad the past two weeks. I really really love him and I am so grateful he is my dad.

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