My Dad Didn’t Call Me Last Night…

My dad didn’t call me last night? … That seemed very unusual!!

Since my trauma 6 years ago – my father and I have talked to one another at least 3 times a week … religiously! In fact, we have a set routine;  every Monday, Wednesday, Friday & one weekend evening @ 8:30pm ( on the nose ) – he generally calls me or I him and we just chat. Each of us has nothing but time to talk and offer encouragement, hope and love to one another. No call is ever ended between us without an “I love you”.

I have and do refer to myself as a trauma survivor as often stated within my blog! My father, to me is a trauma “warrior”! He has battled within the world of trauma and beyond word description. There were such things as cancers & diseases, confinement, grief, hopelessness, loss, torture and so much more …while trying to “cover and roll” within a battlefield toward the survival of “life”. A life that he managed to do beyond what anyone could have or had ever expected. To me – he truly is the epitomy of a being a “survivor” of life’s major curve balls. If I could only tell you more – if you only knew…

To share some of my early memories of growing up with my  father were just incredible – they were fantasy like! I lived in a real life magic kingdom while having the “greatest dad” in the world. He was artistic, athletic, charismatic, charming, determined, great at everything, handsome, powerful, present, rich, smart, stable, strong, you name it, etc … and all my friends wanted my dad – as their dad!

We have always had a special life bond and moments together I believe he was and is my first recollection of life – as I remembered being strangely enough in a hospital room oxygen bubble due to my asthma.  I knew immediately that once he walked in, he was in fact dad my dad… I just knew at age 3! I remember that he  picked me up and right out of that tent and laid me on his chest and we sat in a rocker for what seemed like hours in a state of utter comfort that I can close my eye’s and still re-imagine all over once again.

Over those early years – I believe we magnified our bond. He never missed an event or sporting game of mine; nor do I remember him ever being too tired to play catch or play any game with me. I tried to follow his footsteps athletically, competitively, fiercely, strongly and always have attempted to make him proud of me.

However, during my very early teen years – my fantasy life and image of my all consuming “dad” came to an end … and I awakened to a new real world. A world with-out him for many years. There was no way to make my father into the “dad” I had once known after certain events and traumas had occurred.  After all had been done, said, re-done and re-said – he had made his choices (as we all do)  and these choices impacted and traumatized his life and others … over the past 30 years!

With that said, I would never have chosen another Father than the one I have! His choices and trials have only taught me some incredible and invaluable lessons that I believe few ever learn in a life-time. He taught me so many things…it’s hard to say which is most memorable? He taught me the true meaning behind….”I’m sorry” – through his own efforts and how to climb un-reachable mountains ( which I will continue to do and try in his honor).

I know that over the past decades, we have become even closer and we have shared so many conversations, laughs, memories and yes… regrets! It is and has been I believe in his ability, capacity and strength to overcome every obstacle – seemingly forever and for that my admiration has only continued to grow.  Through his efforts – I believe I have learned what true healing and growth truly are!

He was diagnosed with cancer decades ago and has waged a visible and deteriorating war with his health and of course time. Against all the medical odds, he continued to “seize his day”. Throughout the 2000’s, he had been diagnosed with up to 3 different known cancers – he had received numerous treatments up to 2012 – and had chosen his own path toward and for recovery. Myself and those around knew his spirit within was being cut short and lost; and I could see the light within turning dim. Yet. his burning determination and own sense of positive mind-set… he chose his journey for his “own life” and always maintained a sense of control as to if or when the switch would be turned off.

Hauntingly, looking back – there have been so times we have found him near death and have attempted to access all forms of care! However, the “Cheyenne Indian” (I say that with the utmost respect)  within him decided for himself his own “care”.

When he made a decision, it wasn’t meant to be delayed in any-way! For instance, once, after having major surgery and being confined to a rehabilitation unit  he “decided” he was well enough to go home and pulled all the medical lines from himself, checked himself out from the hospital (against MD advice) and called a taxi with-out any family members or friends knowledge … all he wanted was to get home.

To say he was independent and wanted things his way would be an under-statement. Despite his often crippling disabilities at times and numerous falls – he would cognitively remain aware, active and verbally refuse all outside treat-ment/resources/support and advice.

I spoke to him a few days ago after a recent fall and a full medical exam. He was “my dad” – he spoke of healing, strength and many other positively wonderful things. He spoke of a scheduled treatment exam he had planned in a few days and as he stated, “If I felt any better….I wouldn’t be able to stand it”. Then my call Wednesday came early. He was down again! Despite being seen by medical personal on 3 occasions and being in such a perceived state of discomfort – I was quite surprised he was still at home. I spoke to him and heard a much lower and grim voice. There was no life. This was my dad – a voice who wanted things his way yet, convinced all he was well enough to care for himself. Not the case!

After this call – I believe my father spent time organizing important materials, notes, paperwork, pictures and everything he felt necessary in the event of his own perceived impending death. He had already psychologically prepared himself for years as evident during our previous and  regular conversations. They were often cut short in the last few weeks by the shortness of his voice strength, but our conversations were always extra-ordinary on every occasion! He never failed to ask about my children, my health, life and offer advice….and we always ended to see who could say “I love you” the fastest. He came full circle in my life!

It was shortly after (Friday), I received another call – unknown to me at the time … this one would be the last one I would ever receive from his home. As I got him medical attention and talked to the medical team – I asked for my father. I heard my father ask for me… in the back ground. It was surreal!

I was assured he was going to be okay and stabilized; and to contact the hospital as to where he may eventually be taken as that was an unknown in his condition.  Shortly thereafter, I called the hospital and after speaking with the doctor in charge, I was told he was in “very serious condition”, but was sitting upright and stable. I informed her I was “on my way there now” knowing he would be at that hospital and stable.

I called my family members to let them all know of the situation … and that I would be on my way to see him at the hospital.

It was then I got a very dark and devastating call from a hospital staff. A call no one should get! A call that before I answered….so many thoughts floated in my mind. I answered thinking positively and initially for a brief second that it may be him – my dad! It wasn’t. Instead, it was the doctor who stated in a very swift and mono-tone voice to me that, “Your father just passed”. I said “WHAT”?…..!!!!!!!!

Where was the… “excuse me, but” – or ..”have a seat” – or… “are you driving” – or … “I have news about your father”… instead it was careless, cold, harsh words delivered  without-out emotion. As I’ve stated in another post – “Where’s the Care in care”?

I drove in shock to the hospital not remembering much regarding my drive. Just focusing on getting there and being with him!  When I got there, I immediately smelled the odor of the hospital.

It was there I saw my father for the last time. There are many perceptions as to what one can see when looking at a loved one in a state of death. I saw the opposite of another  who was with me. I saw the image I had myself in a hospital room prior –  the picture a new gown – fresh sheets – I’ve seen all the pleasantry before. I also saw beneath that and saw my father in heart-ache and an indescribable world of pain… that was gone! I saw a man that took my mind back to the oxygen bubble in my infancy to my phone call with him just a few days ago where all he wanted was to help me! I saw my father as a man that despite his own suffering, all he wanted was to care for others more than himself.

I got home the following day and immediately put on his watch. The next day I waited all evening for the phone to ring at 8:30pm – it didn’t! My father didn’t call last night – and never will over the phone again. However, I did speak with him last night and will every day and offer “faith and hope” in spirit!

What-ever your faith – I believe he is at some form in some sense of peace. What is referred to as the “spirit”…. I feel my own father’s presence…and I will feel him every day until I no longer can – or can call my own children!  I say call your’s…

I ask you this…. If you only had an hour to live…Who would you call and what would you say? – Think about that for a moment and then think…. What are you waiting for? …. You may not ever get that call again!!

 

 

 

Category: Trauma/Caring/Disabled/Grief/Growing/Healing/Hope/Journey/Life/Movement Disorders - Myoclonus/Motivation/Physically Challenged/ Social challenges/views/Treatment, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 comments

  • Deb says:

    Wow..what a beautiful written story brought tears to my eyes. Sounds like your dad was a wonderful man. So sorry you lost him. But like you said he will be with you always and is at peace. Death doesn’t have to be goodbye just till I see you again.

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  • val Jones says:

    The stinging truth of saying goodbye your father is so very touching and heart felt. Your description of the many times your dad accepted guidance with his many illnesses, but this time he chose his own fate, his own passage through time…and you were there for it all. I appreciate your candor and your love for your father shines through.

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