A year ago I was in a hospital in Pittsburgh with my family watching my dad slowly die.
What was supposed to be a surgery to save his life, became the end of it.. Unfortunately a massive stroke that went undetected during the surgery caused brain swelling and inevitably death. He never woke up from that surgery. And just a week later, he was gone. We were able to be by his side until his last breath.
My dad was a pretty private person about his heart condition and it was something he lived with his entire life but very few people knew about it. He was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery as a five year old which needed a valve repair this past year when he was 55.
I feel compelled to share this information because thinking he was someone that didn’t care of himself is an insult to his memory. My dad ran around the neighborhood every morning, he ate healthy, he followed his doctors recommendations, took any necessary medications, he never smoked, he maintained a healthy body weight; he was essentially a model patient.
As someone who works with patients/clients on their health, it’s difficult to see people that aren’t taking care of themselves outliving my dad. It’s just one of the million reminders in my daily life that my dad shouldn’t have died. 55 is very young, he had so much living left to do.
Walking my sisters down the aisle, welcoming grandchildren, even watching my little sister start college are just a few of the memories he will miss… a lot of people think that grief should get easier, but it doesn’t, it only gets harder for every small or big thing that my dad will miss in our lives. Something happens every day that is a reminder that he is gone. Not that I need a reminder- I still think about it most waking moments of my day.
I had the privilege of giving his eulogy almost a year ago and even that couldn’t summarize the remarkable person he was… a loving husband, an amazing father, a great coach. He did everything for his family to make them happy, we are incomplete without him. Watching the people I care most about living their lives in pain is just as hard as experiencing myself.
Dad was one of my best friends, he was my hero, one of the best people I’ve ever known… I can’t believe it’s been a year since he’s been gone. So many condolences were shared with me and my family in the past year. People spoke so highly and admirably about him. Words cannot describe how much he is missed. As painful and difficult as it is to carry on without him I hope I am still making him proud.
RIP Dad </3
12/5/59 – 7/31/15