My dad passed unexpectedly...

by Allie Mason
(Maryland, USA)

My name is Allie, I am 21 years old and I lost my dad at age 19. We always had a closeknit relationship because we were alike in alot of ways. I always seemed to get along better with him than my mother. My dad was 57 when he passed away. He was a retired US Air Force Colonel & fought for our country for 22 years. He was healthy until his early 50s. Back in 2005 when I was 14, he took an overseas job in Kabul, Afghanistan to help out the troops & government. While there, he contracted a very rare, serious lung infection that almost killed him. He was in a coma for almost three and a half months and was given a very small chance of survival. I had been going through a rebellious stage to deal with the pain of possibly not having a father to see me graduate from high school, college, get married, or possibly not know his grandchildren. After he awoke from his coma, he had experienced a dramatic weight loss and had to relearn how to walk, write, eat, and talk without a feeding tube in his throat. He attended physical therapy three times a week once he got out of the hospital. He remarkably recovered, but still had existing health problems. Through the next few years, his health seemed to be improving, but he had to be hospitalized several times from 2007 onward due to complications and illnesses. The last time he was hospitalized, he contracted a serious blood infection & was dehydrated, had no appetite and needed immediate medical attention. He was admitted to the ICU and needed constant supervision because the doctors told me he was in a "danger zone" and had a 50/50 chance of survival. This was very difficult for me to fathom because I already had a scare when I was very young and wanted everything to be back to normal. He was supposed to stay at the hospital and be sent to a physical therapy facility for an additional 3 weeks to be in good shape to finally come home. My dad became upset and wanted to go back home because he hated the hospital & desperately wanted to get better.
Once he was discharged, May 18, 2011, I helped him get in the car and get home and comfortable. He was wheelchair-bound and needed assistance with his medications & getting around the house. I had finished my spring semester at college and this was a tremendous amount for me to take on at only 19. My mother and I were arranging for him to meet a caretaker for the times we weren't home, and she was supposed to call us that Friday. Once my mom and I helped him get comfortable on the couch, he was exhausted and took a nap. The last meal I gave him were his favorite chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk. I said goodbye to him & told him I'd be back home later that night because my boyfriend and I were going to watch a movie after a long day. I ended up staying longer at my boyfriend's house and called my dad at around 10:30 to let him know I'd be home a little bit later, and I told him I loved him. At around 12:15am I left and drove fifteen minutes home. The next day, my boyfriend and I were going to take my dad out to a nice brunch & spend the day with him so it was important to get a good night's sleep. Once I got home, he was asleep and acknowleged me when I walked in the door. Little did I know this was the last night I was going to see or talk to him alive. I had a feeling at around 1am that something wasn't right because he stopped snoring so I woke up my mom in the middle of the night. We tried reviving him then called 911 and sent an ambulance. Once they got there, he was pronounced dead at 1:15am on May 19, 2011. It has been exactly a year and a half to this day since his death and the emotional pain has not gotten any easier. I miss the memories we used to have and his kind spirit. He always knew how to make my day better & was always there for me every day for 19 years. His jokes always made me smile & laugh, and he touched those around him with generosity, kindness, and humor. Losing a parent at such a young age, so unexpectedly is one of the worst pains imaginable. This experience has helped me understand & be more sensitive to others. I would do anything to have my father back in my life. Knowing he will always be there in spirit eases the pain a little bit.

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