My Father

The post I am writing is not part of the 31-day blog challenge. It is about my father.

A picture of my dad in 1971

I am a huge fan of General Hospital. I have watched it since it first came on the air and was only 15 minutes a day before moving to a half-hour and later an hour show.

I only mention General Hospital because I record the shows and watch when I have a spare moment. Today was one of those days I needed to sit down and do nothing. I took the time to watch my recordings, and If you follow the show, you know Sonny’s father is dying. Sonny had to make some difficult decisions regarding his father, and he did not want to let his father go.

It brought back memories when I had to make the same decision for my father. To say I was angry to find out my father was in the hospital would be putting it nicely. I was livid that no had contacted me about his hospitalization.

The hospital reached out to me after my step-mother finally told them she did not have the right to make the decision. The hospital had no idea that he had six other children who were not aware he was in the hospital. Neither my step-mom nor my half-sister saw fit even to say to me my father was in the hospital or how serious it was.

I was always the closet to him, and I loved him despite his leaving us when we were young children. I was hurt and angry and told the doctor who called not to do anything until I had a chance to see my father,

My father lived in San Diego; I lived in Sacramento; I immediately called my brother in Compton, to let him know. I asked him to go with me to see our father, and he said he would. My sister did not want to go but agreed to let the rest of our siblings know.

My grandson insisted on going with me because he could see how upset I had become. We arrived in San Diego at about 6 a.m.

Had they not directed me to my father, I would not have recognized him. He was bloated, his skin as thin as tissue, he made no indication he knew we were there. There were several tubes attached to him. We learned he had several strokes, his kidneys had utterly failed, and the only thing keeping him alive was the machines connected to him. Everything about him had become swollen to the point of bursting open. His fingers, his feet, his eyes, it hurt to look at him.

As I watched him, I remembered the man who always seemed happy when he saw me and made a fust about me being his firstborn child. My dad was a short man, but I remembered when I thought him bigger than anyone. The crinkle around his eyes from laughter was gone, and his hair had grown long and was completely white and pulled back into a ponytail.

It hurt to see him like that, not knowing we were there for him. After several hours of sitting with him, his doctor came on duty. She spoke with us about the decision we would need to make and why. It seemed his body had shut, and the machines were doing the things his body no longer could. My brother said since I was the oldest in the family, he would go with whatever decision I made.

I asked my family to leave me alone with him. I needed to speak with him. I did not know if he could hear me, but I would not decide without communicating with him first.

I poured my heart out to him. I let him know how much I loved him and the number of great-grandchildren he had just from me and the decision I was about to make.

I acknowledged he was a fighter, and he was, but I did not believe he would want to be left the way he was. I also apologized to him if I would be making a mistake. I prayed and asked God to forgive me if my decision was the wrong one.

I called my family back in and told them my decision, then called the doctor. They gave my father something so his body would not become anxious or stressful, and administered the morphine. I asked why he would become stressed if his body shut down. The doctor explained, but I do not remember exactly she said. The doctor told us it would take about 20 minutes for his passing. However, in less than ten minutes, he was flatlined.

Seeing what Sonny was going through with his father brought everything back. I was crying because I could almost feel the presence of my father with me. I choose to believe he was letting me know he was alright.

I miss my dad, and I wish I could have grown up with him at home. I spent some summers and my last year of high school with him. He never gave me reasons to doubt he loved me. It showed in his every action and words. It made up for the material things he could give me.

He was no angel, and he was an alcoholic. When he drank, he would you the shirt off his back or the last dollar in his pocket, and then go to sleep. I knew his mistakes and troubles he was going through, but I loved him anyway.

My mother passed away the way she wanted in her sleep. I thank God for good parents, even though they divorced. My parents never tried to turn us against the other. However, my brother and I were the only two to visit with him.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you. I hope it helps if you find yourself in a similar situation. Tomorrow I will continue with the 31-day blog challenge. Until then, stay safe, and keep the faith.