One month later
by Jordan C.
One month ago, I lost my dad from a sudden, massive heart attack. He had just turned 60. It was two days before Christmas. He died immediately- one minute he was alive, and then he was not.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the days and weeks leading up to his death. I remember things that seemed insignificant at the time, not realizing that it would be the last. My family happened to be spending the weekend up in the mountains at a condo. Miraculously, we were all together- sisters home from college and the Peace Corps for the holiday, husband and I off of work… When I woke up on Monday morning, the first thing I saw was my dad sitting in a chair, reading a book, in the dim morning light. I felt safe and at peace. That day, he drove my family back home. He bought groceries for Christmas dinner. He cleaned the house. We made plans to go for dinner with my husband’s family, and see Christmas lights. I decided to meet him at my parent’s house so we could head out together. We said a brief hello, I helped him make a bed. I chatted with my sisters, he went upstairs for his coat. When my sister went up for shoes, she heard a gasping sound. She found him on the floor in his room. She yelled to call 9-1-1.
We did CPR. The ambulance came. They could never revive him. When I think about the speed with which our plans changed, our lives changed, I feel like I’m in a fog. I think maybe I’m dissolving; my eyes don’t want to focus. It seems we entered another universe, jumped right out of time and space and our lives and became another family, other people, in a new place where we don’t have a dad. I remember my thoughts, my feelings, before it happened, and it seems like another life. I can’t imagine ever having the same joy, lightness of heart. I can’t imagine ever being the same person I was.
On Christmas we still had his presents wrapped under the tree. We had leftovers from a meal he had cooked. His dirty laundry from the weekend sat in his bag. Now, a month later, the immediacy of his life is fading away. I remember in the first 24 hours after his death, horrible as they were, I dreaded the passing of time. I felt that each hour was carrying me further from a life in which I had a father. In place of the sharpness of the early days, there is a numbness now. Some days, I can almost pretend life is normal. Other days, like today, I wake up and feel like there are heavy weights on my chest. My shoulders slump, my face is limp. Each daily task seems like am impossible chore and I can barely muster the willpower to get in the shower, drive to work, sit in my chair...