It was exactly a month ago, (well, a month and a day now, it's 1am so it's the 13th already) Friday April 12th, around 5:00 am. My dad woke us up (my mom and me) and told us he was in terrible pain. It was unusual in my dad, because he's wasn't of the complaining type, he would never ask us to take him to the hospital or see a doctor, if he had a head ache or stomach ache, or a cold, etc. he would just rest, maybe take some pills and wait for it to pass. A very stubborn man, my dad. But this time it was different, and when my mom said we should take him to a hospital he didn't offer ressistance. From that very moment I knew something was definitely wrong.
When took him to the hospital then, and the first thing they told us is that he had a very strong gastritis. It made sense because my dad said the pain was coming from his tummy, but the doctor wanted to make sure it was just that and so he recommended to take an electrocardiogram. At that moment I left my mom there in the hospital with my dad and went to work, until that moment none of us thought it would be a serious thing, just a gastritis, the doctor would give him some pills or something and we would be back at home for lunch, my dad would take a nap and would get better eventually. Who would have known.
A few hours later, I received a call from my mom. The electrocardiogram showed he had a serious problem. Apparently he had a blood clot that was obstructing an artery and he needed immediate attention. He would need to go to surgery, immediatly. She also said that the pain he had was because he actually had a heart attack. At first when I heard the words heart attack I thought it was some kind of metaphor. A heart attack? No way, there's no way my dad could've had a heart attack. Just... no. Maybe a very strong pain in the chest or something, but not a heart attack. I guess I unconsciously went to some sort of denial phase from that moment on, as a defense mechanism or something, because now it was a serious matter but my brain refused to accept it. Now I realize that from that very moment I should have asked my boss to excuse me for the rest of the day for I needed to go to the hospital and see my dad. But I didn't. Not because I didn't care about him, but because it still "wasn't a big deal", he would undergo the surgery and then he would be ok. NO BIG DEAL!
But a little less than an hour later my mom called me again. My dad was in a very delicate condition. It turns out not only one of his arteries was obstructed, but three of them. They managed to clear the first one but it wasn't even the one of the problem. They were doing everything they could, but it was a really delicate situation. She hung up and it was then when I started to worry.
Just a few minutes later, another call from my mom. She was crying. The doctor said my dad had another heart attack, in the middle of the surgery. She said his heart stopped and they were trying to revive him. All I said was "I'm on my way" and I hung up. I did what I should've done 3 hours earlier, I took my things as fast as I could, told my boss my dad was at the hospital, he had a heart att... a heart.. I couldn't finish the sentence, all my boss said was "Go!". I remember it clearly, I was running across the parking lot to get in my car when it hit me: "They're trying to revive him" .... to... revive him. My dad was dying.
I can't describe the feeling that overwhelmed me at that exact moment, all I can say is that I felt the most horrifying despair I've ever felt in my life. Like the feeling when you suddenly remember you forgot an important thing at home? But multiplied infinite times. I started sobbing involuntarily. My way to the hospital seemed like an eternal journey to hell. I wanted to be there already, and at the same time I didn't want to. I wasn't sure I would be strong enough to face the news. I wanted, and asked with all my heart, that at the moment I would be there, my mom would tell me he was ok now, that it was a close call, but he was ok now. I never wished something that bad in my life.
I finally arrived. My sister was there already, with my mom. She turned towards me and all I managed to say was "How....?" She didn't say anything, just shook her head, saying no. And then my world went dark. My dad was gone, and I arrived too late.
I regret a lot of things. I regret not taking the whole matter more seriously from the start. I should've stayed with my mom the whole time. Poor mom, she had to go through all of that alone, and by the moment I realized that, it was too late, I arrived too late, he was already gone when I got there. I regret not saying goodbye to him, and tell him I love him one last time. But of course how could we have known? It was so sudden. So sudden. I mean, nobody is prepared for this, but it really took us by surprise. Who would have known that he would enter that hospital but never get out?
What followed were some very stressful and sad days, but there was no time to collapse and I needed to stay strong for my mom. It's incredible how much paperwork needs to get done when one dies. Paperwork at the hospital, at the cementery, at the civil registration, everywhere! And not to mention we had now a big, big debt with the hospital. Fortunately for us, we immediatly started receiving a lot of support from many people, both family and friends, not only moral, but in many other ways, including monetary and for that I'll be always grateful.
I never saw my dad after we took him to the hospital. I don't know if it's the same in every country, but at least here in mine we have this (very bizarre, now that I think about it) tradition of having the coffin open during the funeral, so people can get close and see the deceased, I guess to say one last goodbye or something. But I've never been a fan of that. I never see them. Didn't see my grandmother who passed away a couple of years ago, and wasn't planning to see my dad now. My reason is because I know it's a very strong image that I know I'll never ever forget, and that will be my last memory of the person, and I DEFINITELY don't want my last memory of my dad to be him dead in his coffin. I prefer to have memories of him only when he was still alive.
A month has passed, and only a few people knew. Truth is, I don't really share much of my personal life anywhere on the internet, I've never felt like sharing my life with a bunch of strangers on the internet, mainly because let's be honest; 90% of you don't care about my life, and that's ok. I'm perfectly ok with that. And I know that the other 10%, those of you who do care, already know, because I already told you, and that's all that matters for me. So why am I writing this now?
I'm writing this more to myself. I'm not writing this to fish for sympathy comments. I know people often say well intended things like "I'm here for you, for everything you need, if there's something I can do" etc. Sometimes is all they can say, and I know they say it with good intention and they are genuine. And I do appreciate that, but reality is, at times like this, there is really no comfort that can be provided by anyone anywhere, specially on the internet. A emoticon, well, let's be honest, it doesn't do much to make me or my mom feel better. It's appreciated nonetheless as I said, I won't get mad at you if you give me a , but that's not the reason why I'm writing this. Even though I wasn't intending to write this a month ago, I wanted to do it now because even if I'm sharing it with a bunch of strangers, is somehow something necessary, I need to tell this, I need at least a person, one person, to know. And you know what? It does feel better already.
A month has passed and I still miss him so much it hurts. Up to this day it still hits me from time to time, the realization that he isn't there anymore. Like the feeling of forgetting something at home when you're out. It saddens me to know that he won't be there, for the rest of my life, he won't participate in the rest of my life, I won't be able to tell him about the good things that happened to me today, the new things I bought for the house or the new achievements I made at work. If I ever get married and/or have children, he won't be present. He won't see his granddaughter grow up, and she won't remember him because he passed away when she was still a baby. He won't even be there to get mad at me because apparently, I spend too many time on the internet.
But a month has passed and I feel better now, a lot more calm and stable and that's another reason to write this now and not a month ago. I feel in a better condition to share this, even if it's to a bunch of strangers and nobody will read it, it's quite long and I know very few people will read it, so if you read until this point, thank you. You don't have to say anything, you don't have to comment really, just the thought that somebody read it, somebody listened (so to speak) makes me feel better. So once again, thank you.
And now, life continues And there is still so much to do, and so little time to do it. But there will always be times like this, to remember my dad. I love you dad.