This date has been looming in my mind since I turned the calendar 2 weeks ago.
Two years. Has it really been that long? Is it really only that long. Some days it feels like just yesterday I got the text message that my Dad had been taken to the hospital (again) and some days, I think "so much has happened since you've gone away, man, you've miss so much."
I go back to April 15th, 2012 in my mind often. It was a warm day, not like today when it was snowing. No, Juls and I were playing outside and I snapped this picture of her.
I was marveling at the little girl she was growing into and saying goodbye to the baby I once knew. Especially since I had a new baby growing inside of me.
I was 11 weeks along and we had just told my family the week before at Easter in Maryland.
I had told my Mom and Dad a few weeks prior and my Dad was so proud of himself for keeping it a secret! Although, apparently he told one of his sisters with whom he wrote letters and she wrote back how excited she was for him and my mom. Thankfully Mom screened (and hid) the letter before it was left out in the open on the dining room table!
Juls and I came back inside and I began folding laundry when my phone buzzed. It was my sister Donna, saying that Dad was acting strange and they were taking him to the hospital to run some tests.
See, Dad had been battling liver cancer since November of 2008. He had 4 special treatments done and they had extended his life by 3 years longer than the doc originally gave him, which was 6 months. In that time, he was able to see his last 3 kids get married, meet and know Juliana (so well that she has vivid memories of him and still to this day talks about him), celebrate 43 years of marriage to my mom and know that I was expecting another baby. Not to mention all the wonderful day in and day out happenings that come with being a Dad to 6 kids!
But, we all knew he was fighting a losing battle and on March 22, 2012 (my parent's 43 wedding anniversary) we were told, the doctors had done all they could do and my Dad was no longer strong enough to undergo another chemo treatment. He was given, at max, 6 months to live. We all thought it would be more like 3 months. None of us imagined it would be less than 3 weeks.
When they got to the first hospital, the closest one to my parent's house but not Georgetown where all his doctors were, he was pretty out of it and from what I was told, he fell asleep and never really woke back up. They were trying for hours to get him transferred and finally around 11pm, he was taken my helicopter to Gtown and admitted to the ICU.
My family is a joking family. So I texted my brother and said "speedy delivery of John E. "Jack"! " (his name was John but went by Jack and the way I typed it above was how it was written on his business cards).
We joked about that all week.
All the while I was debating on if I should drive down or not and of course in hindsight I wish I would have, but at 11 weeks pregnant it wasn't gonna happen. I fall asleep driving, especially at night. Thankfully my hubby had some sense in his head.
Dad had been in and out of hospitals for years and we didn't know if this was so serious. It wasn't until around midnight that I got the text that said "You should come down." And I cried.
After the least restful night of sleep, I was up at 5:30, took a quick shower and was out of the house at 6am. Before I left, all I told Mark was, "I don't want to be alone and be told he's gone!" So, I called my brother Joseph to tell him I was leaving and I told him that exact same thing.
My drive was uneventful and very reflective. I arrived around 10am...
I found my sisters and they told me Dad had passed away around 7am.
My brother kept his promise.
My 2 other sisters from out of state flew in and arrived not long after me.
We all got to say goodbye as a family, all 8 of us, for one last time.
So, a funny story...
My Dad passed around 7am. Almost immediately after he passed there was a page for a nurse over the intercom "Mary Perry, please come to room ***"
My mom and siblings that were in the room were like, "WHAT!?!"
Mary Perry was my Dad's mom's name.
There was still a doctor in the room at this time and he was like, "Mary Perry? There's no nurse named Mary Perry on this floor!"
My family knew that Dad was telling them he was already closer to his Mom than he had been in 20 years!
Dad died Monday April 16th, 2012. Less than one month before his 70th Birthday.
The 7 of us spent a whole week together. All of our spouses and kids
came to support us and Dad's viewing and funeral were beautiful. My Dad was super involved in the City of College Park and for that reason, he was given a police escort from the Church to the cemetery. Shutting down a major section of 295, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway for over a half hour!
Yet another speedy delivery of John E. "Jack"!
We miss you dad. We love you and not a day goes by that you aren't in our thoughts, our prayers and our hearts.