First off I would like to offer my condolences. It is never easy to lose a parent, especially one you are close with.
No words can assuage the feeling of loss, but sometimes, sharing stories of loss can help, so I will share mine.
My father passed away at 70 in 2007. It was a surprise at the time, but not completely unexpected. He had been living "on borrowed time" for almost 2
decades already. The reason I say "borrowed time" is the fact that my father had 2 heart attacks back in the early 90's in his 50s. Also, up to that
time, no male on my father's side of the family had lived to see their 60th birthday so every day we had after his heart attacks was counted as a
The day my father died was a good day. My whole family was at my house celebrating my sons 3rd birthday. My son was the first (and only, at the time)
grandchild on both sides of the family, so it was a big deal. We had a great day. My brother and I spent a lot of time talking to my Dad. Dad got to
spend some quality time with his grandson. It was a great day.
My mother and father left around 7pm to head home. Once they got home, my dad fed the dog and complained to my Mom that he was having a little trouble
breathing and was going to hook up his oxygen (He had emphysema and COPD as well as diabetes). Next this that happened was Mom found Dad sprawled
across his bed, not breathing. She called 911 and then me. When she called my wife and I thought they had forgotten something. Of course, I dropped
everything and started driving to the hospital when she told us what happened. It's an hour drive from my place to where my folks live. That is a lot
of time to think about what is happening. Almost too much time.
Anyway, by the time I got to the hospital they had restarted his heart. He was breathing by ventilator. His heart stopped a few times while we were
there and the doctors were saying it wasn't looking good and they believed the only reason his heart was beating was all the medication they had given
him. They wanted to disconnect him from the equipment and let him go.
My mother and my aunt turned to me to ask what they should do. I asked my mom, how long was dad not breathing? How long did it take for the EMTs to
respond to the house? After a few minutes she admitted it had taken at least 15 minutes before the EMTs got to the house and he hadn't been breathing
for at least that long.
I then had to say some of the hardest words I have ever uttered. I told my mom, "We should let him go. Even if the doctors can restart his heart
permanently, Dad's not there anymore. We wasn't breathing for too long. There will be too much brain damage. He's not Dad anymore." After my Mom, Aunt
and I crying for a bit, they agreed with my assessment and I told the doctor's of our decision.
Because he stopped breathing at the house, an autopsy was ordered. It turns out he died from a sepsis infection he got from a wound on his leg. He
knew about the wound and even showed it to me that day. I told him he should see a doctor about it, but he said he tried earlier in the week, but
there was construction going on in the doctor's parking lot and it was too much of a pain in the butt to find parking so he decided to go home
instead. I'm not saying that seeing the doctor could have prevented this, but it certainly would have been advisable.
Dad was notorious for avoiding the doctor's. Years after having his heart attacks he was getting a chest xray to see if his heart was swollen. The
doctor informed him, "You heart is looking great, and I see those two cracked ribs are healing up nicely." My father replied, "Cracked ribs? Oh, that
must be that pulled muscle I had last year." The dumb ass didn't see anyone about chest pains for a YEAR. I love him, but sometimes I could just smack
This was not an isolated incident. I could spend hours recounting all the times he hurt himself and though he was "ok". Broken limbs, large
I feel like I got a little off topic. My point is, nothing can really prepare you for the loss of a parent, especially one you consider your hero. I
hope my stories about my Dad help you in some way.
Take care and know that you are not alone in your grief. While we did not know your father personally, we share in your sense of loss.