I've been debating writing this post for a while. I usually steer clear of writing sad posts because it just isn't my thing; I don't write posts on the anniversaries of 9/11 or about the CT shooting like other bloggers do. I'm making an exception this time for many reason. I couldn't figure out how to begin my marathon post without writing this post first. I tried multiple drafts. Second, just as I avoid talking about sad things on my blog, I'm not very vocal about them in real life either. My best guy friend just found out about everything that has been going on in my life yesterday. I felt bad for not mentioning it all week until it came up in conversation, but I didn't feel like being, "Oh, guess what life changing event happened to me this weekend?!" either. Lastly, my dad was one of the biggest fans of my blog. He read it everyday, and would call me often to chat about different topics I discussed...
Unfortunately, my dad passed away last Saturday morning after fighting prostate cancer for years and years. It was a little unexpected for us all. While he personally felt that Christmas 2012 was going to be his last, we thought we would have more time with him. After a radiation treatment a couple days after Christmas Day, he had a stroke in his spine and collapsed. He was paralyzed from the waist down and seemed very lethargic. While doctors could explain the paralysis in his legs, they were stumped on why he was so sleepy all the time. I immediately flew out to TX. It was weird to see him in an awake yet coma-like state. His eyes were open and he could say a few words from time to time although they didn't always make sense. It was confusing for everyone.
The week of New Year's Day was a roller coaster ride. He seemed to get better and then worse and then better again daily. When the doctors at the hospital told us they could do nothing more for him, we had to move him into a hospice so he could have constant care. The hardest part about all of this was being told I would have to say my final goodbyes before heading back to CT just in case something happened before I returned. I didn't know what to say to him, and it was difficult to say goodbye to him when it seemed like he could get better soon. While he couldn't really speak, we knew he could hear and understand us because he smiled at many jokes about his guys-only trips to Vegas to play poker and about giving his daughters a hard time.
On my last morning in TX, I went to visit him alone. We watched a little ESPN, I talked to him about things going on in my life, and I showed him some photos I found of us together when I was a baby. Though he never said a word, I hoped he understood me. At one point the doctor came in to check on my dad. For some crazy reason, the doctor asked my dad if he knew who I was. Thankfully, my dad said my name which was really exciting for me! A few minutes later, it was time for me to leave. As I bent down to hug him and say goodbye, he said I love you! While I walked into the room nervous and unsure of what to say, I left feeling like everything went perfectly.
Like everyone that loses a parent, I wish I had more time with him. I know there will be many life events that I will wish he was present for (including my first marathon last Sunday morning). I also know that he wouldn't want anyone to be sad now that he is gone. My dad was a dreamer; we have that in common. I know he had big plans for me and my future which all boiled down to me being healthy and happy. Whether it is visiting foreign cities or marking random items off my bucket list or going to work each day at my new job which I love, I plan to do just that - be healthy and happy. No matter where I end up in life or what I end up doing, I will always be Daddy's Baby Girl, and I know he knows that too.