It was exactly 4 years ago at the moment this post is released that my life changed forever for a second time. As you read in part one, it was on this day 4 years ago at 9am on the button my second daughter was born. Just shy of 9 hours later on the same day, my father suddenly died.
I’ll never forget the moment I got that phone call. I had been awake for roughly 36 hours at that point after an all night affair with my wife in labor. My sister called my phone 45 minutes prior to this call saying there was a code blue for my Dad in the hospital where he was under observation from a fall he had a few days before. Something about a heart problem. There was a brain bleed but yet he was moving out of the ICU and was scheduled to come home the next day. Things seemed pretty normal and he had known his second grandchild had been born. A grandchild he would never meet in the physical world.
I remember being a bit nervous in the hospital room as a couple of Angie’s friends had just arrived a few minutes before. Erika and Ellen were her friends and I had really only met them a couple months before at a Halloween party. They were sitting to my left when my cell phone rang and I announced it was my mom or sister calling, I forget who’s phone number appeared. What I do remember is hearing my frantic sister’s voice agonizing over the words “Patrick, he’s gone. Dad’s gone.” I remember yelling what as the tears swarmed in my eyes and she said it again to confirm. From my chair I remember dropping to my knees screaming the word No and collapsing my head in wails of tears on to my wife’s bed. She got the phone, and confirmed what I had just heard for herself. Thankfully, my wife’s new friends were holding our 8 hour old infant at the time. I have not cried that hard since. Nor have I been awake for that long since then either.
What happened after that is mostly a blur for me. Apparently, Ellen and Erika stepped out into the hallway and within 10 minutes of doing so the nurses took the baby from them. Not by request, they just didn’t have a matching bracelet and security policy was enforced. I guess they left shortly after then. I’m also very grateful they are still both in my life today, and I am glad to call them both my friend. I remember my in law’s coming shortly after that to take me home and also stay with my wife. I remember debating whether to stay in the hospital or to go home that night and it was insisted I return home to get a full nights rest. My mother in law would stay with the wife and baby that night. I also remember getting home and kissing my oldest on the forehead before retiring to my bed which was so nicely made and turned down. I remember calling my best friend Jon and telling him the news. I then just remember crawling into bed trying to digest the day and falling asleep in the process.
Since that day four years ago, I have felt my father’s spiritual presence on several occasions. I often pray to him in ways that seek his guidance or advice. Most of the time I just hear him pointing and laughing as I see advice for the child throwing a tantrum. He always did look forward to seeing me “get mine” as he liked to put it. Mostly though, I just miss him.
In this past year I proudly walked his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. In this coming year I will be helping to welcome his third granddaughter into the world. Not my child this time, my sister’s. Sometimes I feel bad for my sister that his physical presence is missed at her life’s milestone’s. However, I know he is with her in spirit and in many ways that is better for him. He is able to move about move freely than had he remained in the physical world. Even though I’m sure my sister shares the same opinion, I know she misses him as well.
It goes without saying, after what would have been 34 years of marriage this year, my mother misses him as well.
December 29 will always be a day of celebration for my family. We will celebrate in 2 very different ways. First and up front, we will celebrate the beginning of my daughter’s life. We will laugh and shower her with love and gifts, again, and we will eat cake. We will sing songs and make sure she is happy and feels like the most special little girl on the planet. Inside and much more quietly, we will also celebrate the life and legacy my father left us with on the same day.
I miss you dad.
I love you.