Friday, October 22, 2010

4 years

Time continues to fly right on by.  Life is so unpredictable, but of course, God's plans for our lives are always much better than what we could conjure up for ourselves.  4 years ago today was a turning point in my life.  (just about) The whole family was at work: Diana & kids, Ann & Jessica...Chico was there to hang with the kids that weren't working and some of his family.  We were all at Discovery Kingdom.  My morning started while it was still dark, and the rest of the crew came in just before the park opened it's doors to screaming cheerleaders.  
The night before, we all left Turlock later than normal, making our last Saturday with him stretch...and I think we're all extremely grateful for that.  He stayed alone on Saturday night, and my mom had people assigned throughout the day to come to check in with my dad to make sure he was doing alright...and to keep him company.  But they weren't all needed.  The first person assigned was Alma.

I don't know all of the details of that morning, in fact, Alma is supposed to be sharing them with me soon, as I'm finally ready to listen and take them in.  Loosely, it went a little something like: Alma was told to check in with him about 9.  Diana called Alma's cell about 9:30 to check in with her, and Alma said she didn't think my dad was breathing.  She went in to the house and my dad wouldn't respond to her, after trying to scope things out on her own, she called Jorge to come look.  When Diana called her, they were in the midst of trying to figure things out...then they called the ambulance.

At that point, things got a little out of control.  Word traveled to those in charge of the event, and soon after I received a call over the walkie talkie to meet at the bottom of the hill.  They were trying to gather us all up.  I got to the bottom of the hill and Diana was, in my opinion, going crazy shouting and crying.  Like I said before, her family was there, so my first thought was: Chris was on a ride and something happened to him.  I couldn't understand what she was saying and everyone else just appeared to be in shock.  Minutes later, I gathered that they were talking about my dad and we were on our way out of the park.  I got a call on my cell phone from the EMT asking questions about my dad.  I had all of his info and started spitting it out: his meds, his Dr's and what their specialties were, etc.  I didn't understand why they were asking - to get the Drs to meet them at the hospital?...after answering several questions, and we were just about to the cars, I asked the man, "What's going on?  Is he OK?"...I didn't get it.  It was all so crazy.  We were being escorted out in a pack - there were about 7-10 of us in a bunch just all holding on to each other walking to our cars across the street.  Everything was happening so quickly, I was on the mode of calming everyone down and getting home, but not really knowing what was going on.  ... The man replied to my question, "Ma'am, he's...." I don't even remember what he said.  Dead?  Not breathing?  It was at that point that I realized what everyone else was reacting to.  It was my dad.  

We split up in to 2 cars and began our 1 hour 45 minute drive home.  It was pretty quiet.  My mom was just crying; we were in the back seat of Ann's car.  I had to call my uncle who was scheduled to go to the house about 10:30 to tell him not to go...not until we got there.  I had to tell him that my dad was dead.  I never used that term - for at least 2 years...I said it in Spanish and it was the only time I referred to it.  The EMT called me back once he did things on his end and asked me more questions.  He was asking me what they were supposed to do with my dad.  How was I to know?  I mean, I knew he had everything set, but I had never been in this position to say, 'oh take him X', ya know?  So they asked if we wanted the coroner's office to pick him up and I said I guess so.  Then I called them back and asked them to please not take him from the house until we got there.  I wanted to see my dad just one more time...they were gracious and allowed it even though we were so far away and they'd have to basically just hang out at our house until we arrived.
Arriving to the house was a combination of feelings.  I wanted to run in, yet I wanted it to be the slowest arrival so that we could have the most time possible with my dad.  Ann, Crystal, Jessica and I all walked in to his room together and there he was.  They did hurry us a long a little, since it had already been a while in their's all still such a  blur.  I wish I could remember with clarity, but I guess that was how it has to be for me to have been able to have gotten through it all. 

My new life that had just started, at that moment, ended.  My dad was going to the be man in my life.  I was going to learn from him about caring for the house and cars; learning to do things for myself.  I had just moved back in with my parents, on September 1, I believe.  Some day, he was going to be the one to take care of my kids while I went to work.  But in a moment that was all over.  

And he knew his time was coming.  After I'd moved back in, I still have the detailed email I sent to Tyler sharing with him about a convo my dad and I had. My dad told me that now that I was there, he knew he could go and my mom wouldn't be alone.  I hated to hear him say that.  I didn't want to face what was in the near future.  But for some reason, he felt he could talk to me about this topic.  Earlier that summer he had also asked me to please respect the DNR order, and to understand why he didn't want to start doing dialysis on a regular basis.  And I was to be the one to explain all of this to my brothers and sisters because he said that I would understand.  Well what's not to understand?  I got what he was saying, it just hurt my heart to process it.

To say that I miss my dad would be an understatement.  Especially in going through the pregnancy, Emma's birth and having her home with us now.  She'll never get to cuddle with grandpa or hang out with him.  Knowing what it's like to grow up with out a grandpa, I know she'll just never feel about him the way she'll get to feel about her grandpa Boyd, since one is tangible and the other isn't.  That just breaks my heart. is what it is.  My dad's death is what finally brought me to my knees, and made me quit resisting handing over my entire life to God.  It's a little bittersweet.  

So...Emma's my little piece of my dad that I can hold and hang on to :)  She will be (at least) a partial Dodgers fan for him, just like I always will be :)  

Thank you for sitting through this with me.  Therapy, again :)  I don't speak my feelings very writing is my outlet.  And I appreciate you letting me share with you.  

Here a few pics of our last year with him: 

My birthday

Father's Day

Crystal's graduation dinner

Family Quinceanera

Paige's Bday dinner

Tyler wrote a beautiful poem on our family's behalf 3 years ago.  If you'd like to read it, you can find it here.

Here's a beautiful song to end with: click here for Matthew West, Save a Place for Me to play


Aunt Nell said...

aww Connie. Praying for you and your family on this day. Im sure as time passes, the pain doesn't go away....<3'd the fotos of him. Ive never seen him. He looks like a lot of fun! May Gods arms wrap around you all today as you remember his life. <3 you girl. May you always see a piece of your father in Emma!! *HUGS* And Tyler is amazing. So talented! Love the stones and the poem made me tear up, even though I never met him! Love and prayer are with you on this hard day!!!

NANI said...

That was a great tribute to your dad and now we know the rest of the story. I hadn't ever heard all of it.
It is good to know that there is some of your Dad carrying on through Emma. ;0
Good pictures of your dad and mom.