Thursday, October 7, 2010

The First Hurdle

I've received some emails from blog readers asking how daddy passed away so I'll be sharing some posts on his home going over the next few days....

1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

I feel as though I have been running a race, each day a different hurdle. The next one harder to get over than the last. Keeping my eyes on the prize ahead of me, which is to finish the race and fall into the arms of God. Daddy's testimony, as I know and have heard others testify, was that of someone who never gave up. Someone that would not quit. So I keep my focus on the hurdle of each day, hearing those in the stands and on the sidelines cheering me on to the next. Running next to my other family members as they run this same race with me. Each of us with a different goal. A different performance. I want my race to be finished with an attitude of praise. An attitude of thankfulness.

Daddy fell at home Thursday, September twenty-sixth. Mom was working at the church so he was home alone. He called Justin who came over and checked things out, helped him put some things back up on the wall that he had knocked off when he fell, and everything seemed ok. He was not sure what had happened though. He could not remember if he passed out, just fell, or what had happened. He only remembered waking up and finding himself in the floor.

Mom took him to dialysis Friday morning. When she got him home later that morning, he could barely walk into the house. He was a little confused about some things and did not eat all day. He just sat in his chair through the day and into the evening.

Mom was in her bedroom that night and heard a thud. So she went into the living room to find daddy sitting on the floor. She asked him if he had fallen and he shook his head yes. She could not get him up and he could not get up on his own so she called me. Justin and I went right over. When I saw daddy laying on the floor I asked him did he fall and he shook his head and smiled. His smile was like that of a small child. There was something in his eyes that told me there was something wrong. So I told mom she should call 911.

She did call and from there they took him to our local hospital. They would keep asking him questions like "What's your name?" "Why are you here?" "How old are you?"....etc. He answered them correctly but sometimes was confused. They did a CT and found that there was bleeding on the brain and decided to send him by ambulance to Carolina's Medical in Charlotte. The second CT showed considerable bleeding and they ended up air lifting him instead of taking him by ambulance.

The next days following we saw him gradually become worse. Although his CTs were saying the bleeding on the brain was absorbing back into the body, he was beginning to have seizures, his blood pressure was up and down, and his respiratory was up and down. The seizure medications were keeping him out and sedated so after a few days he never would wake up.

Mom was going in the mornings and staying until after noon so she could speak to the doctor each day. He had gone a couple of days without seizures and our only concerns, at least mine, were his blood pressure and waiting for him to come to from the seizure medications. I knew that with the seizures he had been having he may need speech therapy. I was really thinking to the weeks ahead and I felt he would come home soon. After all, the doctors seemed optimistic about it.

On Friday, October first, I had talked mom into sleeping in a little bit. My brother and I went to the hospital and as soon as I saw him I knew daddy would not be going home. Just the day before he looked peaceful and well rested. But that morning he looked as though he had labored all night. I knew in my heart that death was coming but was afraid to speak my thoughts aloud. I began to cry. John comforted me. And then our pastor's wife came in. She stayed for a few minutes, prayed with me, loved on me, and then left. I called mom and told her she might want to come on up. That daddy did not look as well as he had the day before. She said she would be there in a little bit.

While John and I stood at the foot of daddy's bed and talked, John noticed that his respiration had dropped to zero. He had stopped breathing. The nurse came in and John mentioned it to her. She said, "Yes, I know, could you please step out of the room for a minute?" So we stepped out into the waiting area.

I knew I needed and wanted to pray, but I was not sure what words to say. The only words I could pray were "Thy will be done...Thy will be done...Thy will be done..." I said them over and over and over again. The more that I said them the more peace filled my heart.

They moved us to a private room and asked if we would like to go back to check on things for ourselves. I went for a minute and saw that there were fifteen to twenty people in the room. All of them working on daddy. One little nurse was on top of him giving him chest compressions. The others doing their job to assist. I don't know why I went back there.

I walked back to the private room where my nephew and his mom and John were. We waited for the doctors, made some calls, waited for mom.

Finally the doctor came in and said that they had done all they could, but daddy just never responded. They worked on him for thirty minutes. He said that they don't know why he stopped breathing. They just could not explain it.

But daddy had been a sick man for a very long time. I believe his little body just could not handle anymore. It was his time to go and God, in His infinite wisdom, took him.

When I walked back into his hospital room, I was by myself with the nurse. I do not remember looking at daddy. I just remember laying myself over his chest and crying. Sobbing. There was nothing that could console this daddy's girl. Oh my sweet, little daddy. I wanted so desperately for his hand to move or to hear him speak. But no. He just laid there. Lifeless. Literally lifeless.

John came in with Mikey. They had their cry too. Then Brother Johnny, our associate pastor, came in. Not much longer, he received a call that Mrs. Janet was bringing mom up to the hospital. Mrs. Janet decided not to tell mom that daddy had passed. She felt it would be best to tell her when she came to the ICU. Oh how I dreaded telling her!

As we stood in the hall, I could see mom beyond the ICU doors. She stood there waiting for the doors to open. When they did finally open our eyes met. She knew that something was wrong. I could not get the words out. John could not get the words out. So Brother Johnny told her that daddy had gone to Heaven. Her knees buckled and she began to cry. My poor mommy's sweet hubby was gone.

She walked into the room, threw her hands into the air and began thanking God for such a wonderful husband and for forty five years of marriage. She rubbed his face and kissed him. We stayed with him for a while and then Mrs. Janet took mom home while I waited on Bruce to get there.

When he got there we cried some more. The first hurdle was saying goodbye and going home. Home without my daddy.