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Challenge: My Dad Hero

The day I received the call about my dad that changed my life forever

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The Call comes when you are wearing a smart denim dress and totes adorbs leopard shoes, while you are sipping the pumpkin coffee you grabbed on the way to work.

Your father had a bad night.

We are taking him to the hospital now.

I’ll keep you posted.

The Call comes when your Hubby is in the air, on the way to a business trip in another state. Of course it does.

The Call comes when your children are safely deposited in their classrooms, happily learning, blissfully unaware of their mother’s anguish, of their grandmother’s impending heartache. Thankfully.

After The Call, you stare into space, thoughts, feelings, emotions swirling: Do I go home? Do I struggle through the day? Where is my coffee? I’m sorry, what did you say again? How quickly can I get a flight home?

What do you do next?

You wait.

You stress.

You hold your phone near you, on you, on the loudest volume setting so you won’t miss the ring, the next call.

You curse yourself for not living closer.

You wonder why your coffee suddenly got cold and why your hands are freezing.

They are going to intubate him to let him rest.

It could be weeks until he’s better.

I’ll keep you posted.

You manage to get through your work day, barely remembering the decisions, the actions or the movements you’ve made during your shift. And your hands are still cold.

You wander to the bus stop, to get the children, still not knowing what to say, how to feel or when it’s okay to collapse onto the macadam and cry.

You look in your friend’s eyes and see the immediate realization that she knows that you’ve gotten The Call. And she holds you when you finally do collapse.

You wonder if you’ll ever feel warm again.

The ICU nurse is here, do you want to talk to her?

We are doing everything we can.

I’ll keep you posted.

You are too afraid to be alone but too upset to have people around. You lash out. You can’t think. You worry about what the kids will eat for dinner. You wonder if you should be checking the mail or doing laundry to keep busy.

And you continue to wait.

You talk to the bedside nurse. You hear words you recognize from when you were the nurse on the other end of The Call. Medications that were saved for patients already at death’s door are being used. You hear “life support." And “organ donor."

You hear “Is this what he’d want?”

And you cry. And wait for another call saying it’s all a bad dream.

I’m with him and he’s finally comfortable. He’s the most relaxed I’ve seen him in months.

He’s not in pain.

Just pray.

I’ll keep you posted.

And then comes The Last Call.

The one where they put the phone up to his ear so you can whisper “Let go” and “It’s okay, I’ll be okay, Daddy” and resist the urge to beg him not to leave you.

You listen, straining to hear what the doctor is saying, what your mother is hearing.

You bend over at your waist, willing yourself not to let the sound of vomiting be the last thing your father hears as he leaves the world.

He’s gone.

It’s over.

And you sit there in that smart denim dress and leopard shoes, holding the phone to your heart, thinking of all the things you forgot to say.

Have you said what you need to say to the ones you love the most?

Pick up the phone and make a call.

Before The Call.

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