My dad was a young 66 when he passed away on Feb 5, 2013. He was a disabled veteran who suffered from a debilitating form of Multiple Sclerosis. He was confined to a wheel chair and was totally depending on all his care. But no matter the life he endured he never complained and always tried to smile! This made life especially hard for my mom, who was not only his wife, but his caregiver! Being the only child (now grown) I felt so helpless even though they had my full support and help whenever needed. We even moved across the street from each other to be closer. I always knew the day would come when he would pass away, but the way it happened was such a surprise to us. He was not feeling well for weeks (besides the normal MS complications). The doctors at Hines all said he was fine. It was heart breaking to see him in so much pain in his stomach and there was nothing we could do. I saw him cry many times and for him this was out of character so it was that much more upsetting. On Feb 3rd he went to the clinic at the hospital - needless to say he was admitted to ICU because he had suffered a heart attached, so they told us! He was actually up, talking and even laughing. We could not believe he made it through the night with a BP so very very low. We spent the entire weekend at the hospital. Even my dad had no idea he was so sick. Monday came and they told us he was going to be moved to a step down unit within the next 24 hours. We were all very happy that he made it through this terrible ordeal. So we went home for a shower and fresh closes and a good night sleep. Tuesday morning I got a call from his MD and they told me he took a turn for the worse and we should get to the hospital asap. One of the hardest things I had to do was tell my mom. The guilt of leaving set in already for both of us. We arrived at the hospital only to see my dad laying there in bed lifeless! He was hooked up to a respirator to keep him alive. We were then told we suffered another heart attack, but what came next was shocking. They MD told us it was all brought on from the onset of Sepsis that eventually went into Septic Shock, which is what killed him. The anger really set in. Why did they not catch this all the times he was going to the MD these past few months? My mom and I had to make a decision – leave him on the respirator or take him off of life support. You would like the answer would be clear and simple – Take him off – he would not want to live like this, so why were we hesitating? The MD said even if he came out of this he would be even more debilitated. How much worse could he be then he already was? We knew in our hearts he did not want to live the way he was prior to this incident, I was pretty confident he would not want to live like this. But I felt who am I to play God and determine if someone should live or die? This is part of the guilt I feel, even though I know in my heart we made the right choice. So with his entire family in the room my mom and I made the decision to have the life support disconnected. Prior I had pulled the MD on the side and asked what to expect so I was prepared. I was told it could take days or minutes. Wow – really? If you can call this being blessed, my dad passed within 10 minutes surrounded by the family that loved him. With his wife and daughter holding each hand and talking him though his last rough time on earth. He was ready to go to a place where he could not be free of this pain and disability and maybe have a chance to run again! The thought of that was comforting for moment. We went out in style! A full military wake and funeral! He was even buried in his dress uniform from the Army! He was so proud to have been a veteran! It’s now one day away from our first Christmas without him and the reality has really set in – No Christmas with my dad! What I don’t understand is everyday life and all holidays were very difficult when he was alive. He was often moody and has even ruined a few holidays over the years. But I have this overwhelming feeling of loss, guilt and just down right hurt! I miss him! I know he is in a better place looking down, but it still hurts. I know I am not alone – everyone loses their parents. I think this just makes it so hard because I know what a riot life he endured with this disease. In the end all I can do is raise my glass to my dad and say “I love you” and someday we will be together again to enjoy Christmas and everyday free of all these heartaches!