Project BEA: Being Elder Aware & Coping with Loss []
Loss of Your Father []
Jerry -- Died 1 1/2 days after open heart surgery in the ICU []

Cookie Monster 
Apr 23, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Jerry -- Died 1 1/2 days after open heart surgery in the ICU

Though I questioned my dad's health for about the last two years of his life, given I was witnessing some changes in him, we did not know he was sick until he made a doctor's appointment thinking he had pneumonia. In fact, he had a cold, but he also was diagnosed with heart disease and had just survived a heart attack the night before. After four days at the hospital with lots of mishaps from the hospital, tests, and decisions to be made, he opted to have quintuple bypass open heart surgery. He did survive for 1 1/2 days afterward, while still in the ICU, but he never got the breathing tube out of his mouth and he never left the ICU, unfortunately. I never got to tell him that every time he was having an "episode" where they had to have him cough to get his heart back in rhythm or had to shock him, that I was calling the hospital to see how he was. I just had a feeling he needed me. The nurses said they had never experienced any loved one calling every time after a patient had an "episode." Of course, my mom, sister, and I were with him at the hospital all week, but we could only be in the ICU for certain hours and for short visits. But somehow I just always knew when he was having "an episode."

Those six days at the hospital went too fast since they were the last days I would have my dad in my life, and I wish I could go back and change things. But I cannot. None of us can. I was 27 when he died, none of my friends had yet lost a parent, and it was a tricky time. Luckily, just over a year after he passed on, I did meet a wonderful friend who had lost his dad (at the same age I had), so I know finding people with the same situation can really help someone heal. Over 7 years have now passed. Sometimes when I think about how he passed on (having various episodes where he needed to be shocked with the final episode lasting for an hour and the doctor choosing to shock him over 60 times in that hour), I feel very hurt, sad, and confused, and I just need to put my mind on something else in those moments. Overall, though, I am doing okay, and I am at this message board to try to help others.

The one thing that my dad said to us girls about a year and a half before he passed on was that he did not want us to be sad when he died. He said (paraphrasing), "Look at the changes I have seen in my lifetime. Imagine all the great things you girls will get to see! Don't be sad when I die. Go on and life your lives and be happy." I think we all need to remember that. When our dads or other deceased loved ones look down upon us from Heaven, if they can do so, they are going to want to see smiling faces. So, continue your lives. Live for your deceased loved one. Live in the most happiness you can find while you have your time on this Earth. Don't let the loss of your loved one take away your happiness. They would not want that for you. They'd want you to go on and be happy. I know that if I died, I would want my loved ones to continue on and live happy lives instead of being sad that I am gone.

Please let me know if I can help you by lending an ear.

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