Our loved ones, no longer with us, leave footprints in our hearts.
Impressions of kind acts, loving words & happy memories.
These prints build a path for us to follow which always lead to warmer places and brighter days.
My Dad passed away yesterday afternoon. The sun was shining, his room was filled with friends and his heart simply stopped beating…in a matter of moments, his heart rate dropped and ceased beating. He was surrounded by love, held tight by his girls ~ my Mom, AAngel and me…and I believe he knew it. It was an amazing mix of people who shared his last moments with us and knowing Dad, it wasn’t just on a whim that he ‘orchestrated’ it.
The night before, we had seen him as his condition had worsened. AAngel and Mom had stood vigil all day with him during my son’s graduation. Mom stayed by his side all night in the hospital, AAngel took the morning shift to let Mom go home to shower and sleep and I took the afternoon shift. Due to his condition, he had a nurse in the room at all times watching the monitors of the many machines that were working hard to keep his body alive. We were very blessed to have Anita as his nurse for the last two days as she was so caring to him and to us. It was like we had known her forever and she was a part of our family.
Dad’s stepsisters came to visit during the changing of the guard ~ AAngel and me ~ and stayed with us for a bit. It was good to see them as we hadn’t seen them in a long time. It was nice for him to have some company and this morning I am grateful that they were there to see him on his last day.
Around 3:30, due to the extreme heat wave that we are having, suddenly all of the lights and machines went out in the hospital. Anita and I had been chatting when everything stopped and it took me a moment to realize that the ventilator which was helping him to breathe had stopped as well. But Anita was already up, ready to manually keep him breathing when the generator kicked in and all of his machines sprung to life again. It probably was only a matter of 10 – 15 seconds, but it seemed like a few minutes and I remember feeling so scared because in that instant I realized just how much those machines meant to him.
Two friends of Dad’s, GAngel and JAngel came in to visit him as did his childhood next door neighbor with whom he is still friends BAngel and his wife JAngel who met Dad at age 7. Friends of 36 years (to the day ~ GAngel met Dad on the Summer Solstice 36 years ago) and friends of 70+ years together in the same room ~ connected by the friendship of the same man. Mom and AAngel came in after awhile. It was crowded in Dad’s room, but I don’t think anyone minded. I was recounting the story of the electrical outage and explaining how none of them could really fathom how scary it was except Anita and me. We were all talking and reminiscing about Dad.
Anita, ever careful in her quiet but efficient way of nursing, was up by Dad’s bedside checking machines and when I looked at her, she slightly nodded. Suddenly we realized that Dad’s heartbeat was diminishing…up in a flash, we were all by his bedside so that when it stopped beating, he was surrounded by love. And then it happened again, all of the power in the hospital stopped for a few seconds and then restarted by the generator. Dad’s heartbeat resumed for a few moments again, only to quiet again and cease.
He did it his way. He always did it his way ~ and he made sure that he did it with the panache of the electricity going out ~ not once but twice. Dad was a man who loved life with a bit of flair ~ how else could he have everyone remembering the day he passed and how he passed? The summer solstice is so fitting for him since summer was his favorite season…he adored going to the beach and we grew up at the beach because of it.
He never left his hometown and he still lived in his childhood home which he always said he would leave feet first. And he did.
I loved this card because I want to celebrate his life, celebrate his good, celebrate the way he changed others’ lives. I am mourning the loss of my Dad, but I am happy that he is painfree, hopefully playing fetch with our Labrador Chienne, our cat Zoe and his beloved Kelsey Anne (my sister’s special dog). I am sure he’s looking down upon us all and will help in the coming weeks as we transition to learning to live without him here on Earth.
I know his voice, his advice and his acts of kindness will follow me all the days of my life. Surely I will feel his spirit and help when I need it most.