On August 23, my world changed. I was doing my normal morning walk in the park with my neighbor, her daughter, the dogs and my aunt when my aunt’s phone rang. It was my mother so she just handed it to me to answer. My mom informed me that something had happened with my dad, that he was being rushed to the hospital and that she had no idea what the severity was. We decided to cut the walk short and immediately went home and started packing up the car for another long road trip up north. It was over 8 hours on the road, and Little Miss Traveler was a champ. Honestly, she spent much of the trip asleep. How can babies sleep in these positions?
All I can think now is how lucky I was that my aunt was visiting so she could take care of the drive. It was all a blur to me. Anyways, when we got there the news was not good. They weren’t sure what caused the initial event, and still only theorize, but my dad’s heart stopped long enough to rob his brain of oxygen for a significant amount of time. He was on life support and the prognosis wasn’t good. The neurologist wanted to wait three days to give him his best chance of an accurate diagnosis.
So, wait we did. And here’s the funny thing about that. Family and friends really step up to the plate to be with you and support you. When you have a four-month-old little girl, cousins will be waken up and only stop long enough to put on clothes and eat breakfast before driving up to babysit your teething baby at the drop of the hat. And they’ll watch a baby they’ve never met before for two days so you can focus on being at the hospital. They’ll find games to play with them and interact with them in ways that are new to you. They’ll even make your baby laugh and record it so you can play it to your dad.
Hopefully, if you’re lucky, your hubs’ boss will be cool and allow him to come up and ‘work from home’ for a week so he can be there as your support. And that hubs will pretty much take over all baby duties so you can drift between home and the hospital and just deal with what you’re dealing with and have limited baby duties. He’ll take care of her solo so you can spend your dad’s last night on earth at the hospital with him and he’ll even bring the baby to the hospital, just for an hour, so you can hold her tight and let her see her grandpa one last time.
Finally, when the time for the funeral comes, friends who are really way more than friends will take time out of their busy lives and fly in to the funeral just to be there to support you. You’ll see people you haven’t seen in years and people you’ve never met will shake your hand, tell you how they knew your dad and tell you how sorry they are, and you’ll believe that they truly are sorry. You’ll get up and give an eulogy- one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, and then you can just let go.
Seeing family and everyone close to me was cathartic. I’m very lucky that my father was always a happy man- I used to always joke that he lived in a cotton candy world where nothing was ever wrong. So, in dealing with the grief, I’m not incredibly sad, because I know that my father wouldn’t want that. We had a great relationship and I know that there’s nothing incomplete between us. He wouldn’t want me to sit around moping, but instead taking care of my daughter and teaching her about the joys of daily living. So, that’s what I’m trying my best to do. Having a baby to take care of right now is definitely a great distraction. Thank you so much to everyone for the well wishes and thoughts and prayers. This post has become a rambling one… so I’ll just end with some pictures from the week. I didn’t take nearly as many as I should have, but when I did remember to get out the camera, I got some good ones.
Little Miss Pink with Great-Grandma
Post funeral snooze with Mikey
Plenty of time with Aunty Deb and Uncle Mike
Aunty Liz with all the cousins