This has taken me days to complete. I have stared at the computer screen endlessly thinking about where I would start this story. It’s very hard to put into words how much I love my dad. Anyone that knows us knows we have a special bond. It took us many years and many upsets to get to where we are today. I never really realized how much our relationship meant to me until that day……that one day that changed our lives forever. The day that no child is ever ready for. The day you realize there will be one day that you will have to face life without your parent’s. It’s hard to think about that but that day I had no other choice.
I came home from work to find my father sitting at the dinning room table. It was early afternoon which was weird because my dad never finished work till after 6pm. For as long as I could remember. Even if he was sick he was always at work. So I questioned him and really didn’t get a response. He stayed briefly and then said he was going home to rest and he would see me in the morning. I didn’t quite understand but moved on with my night as usual with the kids hoping I would get an answer in the morning.
The morning came and as I was getting the kids ready for school my dad walked in and sat down at the table again. Once the girls were gone he grabbed the phone and said to me ” call 911 I’m having a heart attack and I’ve been having it since yesterday afternoon!” I was stunned! I couldn’t’ believe what he had just said! My whole life flashed before my eyes. Not only was I scared but I was furious that he waited to get help! It became one of those selfish moments where I thought “how could he do this to me!” Then I realized how scared he must have been and that was what I saw in his face the day before. I should have known something was wrong. I should have picked up on it! At any rate it seemed like time slowed down. When we were waiting for the ambulance all I could think about is how am I going to live my life without this man! He was my backbone. He was the reason I kept going in life. He was the reason I was able to take care of my girls…… I couldn’t imagine my life would be worth anything if he wasn’t here to make sure of it.
Once we were at the hospital time slowed down even more. The tests he was put through. The obvious pain he was in. It was all too much to go through at once. You have to understand I always looked at this man as indestructible. I wasn’t always the best kid, and trust me when I say I pulled out all the stops when it came to being a bad teenager. No mater what I did, and no matter how many times I did it, he was always there to fix everything. He wasn’t always around as much as he would have liked to have been and he knew I resented him for that but it wasn’t until this moment… the moment time slowed down at the hospital that I realized how much of a hero he was to me for all that he was and all that he did for me. His sacrifices, his pain, his love, his friendship, his heart…. the man he was and the woman he raised me to be… I didn’t expect to have to think about all I was thinking about so soon. To me he was a young man still… he was barely 60.
Telling the girls was by far the hardest part. Not only because they were very close to their grandpa but because we still had no idea what was happening. Between all the tests they were performing and with no answers I didn’t know what to tell them and that was even harder for them to accept.
We went through all these thoughts and feelings together for about a week before we had any answers. He did have a heart attack but with the medication they gave him they were able to stop it. He suffered from what they called “unstable angina”, so no surgery required but from then on he would be on all kinds of different medications to help make sure he lived with the condition. We had no idea what we were in store for but at least he made it. At least he didn’t leave us.
Things definitely were not over once we left the hospital. He went through all kinds of medical emergencies, too many to even begin telling you about, but all of it made me realize how much I love my dad. He had taken care of me and my girls for long enough. It was time for me to grow up and be the kind of woman he raised me to be. I asked him to move in with me and the girls. I wanted to take care of him. It was my turn. He was going through so many things at once. His health, his career….everything being questioned at the same time and I didn’t want him to be alone. He’s strong enough to handle it but sometimes you don’t realize how much you need someone until all your strength is gone at once. I watched him go through all of this still with his humor and love and courage and it made me know in my heart that this was all going to work out for all of us. I would be able to take care of him better than he could on his own. And my girls would be able to see their grandpa the way I do. A hero first for putting up with me but also to teach them the way he taught me.
As much as we all went through and as much as things had to change, as a family we made it through. The event that could have destroyed us was the moment our lives changed for the better. I was able to realize how much my dad meant to me and how much he was my hero. And now my girls are going to be able to see what I see. A man who did whatever it took to make sure I had the best life possible. A hero of a father that any daughter would be proud to look up to. It may seem weird and unorthodox but living with a parent at my age has been a blessing. I would never have thought it would work simply because of our crazy relationship but not only is it working, its been the best time of our lives. We are the best of friends and he has my back no matter what. This whole situation brought us so close together and I get to enjoy the remaining years we have watching my girls have a chance to see him as he hero he is and always be to me.