Thursday, August 13, 2009

If I had only known...

WRITERS WORKSHOP PROMPT: Your trip to the ER...



Next to my dad, my favorite place to be

I fell to the floor reeling in pain. Shuddering, sobbing, unable to be comforted. After months of trying to be a rock, stuffing, smothering and denying my feelings, I knew it was time to let go, it was time to cry.

"Go to the hospital." The prompting was precise and powerful. "Go to the hospital right now."

"Now?" I questioned. "But it's one in the morning. I can't go now." Though I remained inconsolable, I resolved to go to the hospital first thing the next morning during regular business hours. "Yes," I told myself, "I will spend the whole day there if I have to. It will be good."

My plan was confirmed by an early morning phone call from my mom, "Come to the hospital." She pleaded, "I need you here."

I spent the entire day at the hospital, just as I had planed to the night before, but it was too late. Too late for visiting, too late for hugs, too late for the exchange of "I love yous". My dad had slipped into unconsciousness, machines postponing the inevitable so that we could say our goodbyes, goodbyes that he could no longer hear.

It wasn't until later that I learned from a nurse that had cared for my dad the night before, that he had been awake and alert the very hour that I had felt prompted to go there. During that time he had spoken of his love for his family and his sorrow at having to leave us. A priceless conversation that I missed because visiting hours were over. I didn't know that I could have had access to my father at any time via the emergency room entrance.

It's the trip that I didn't take to the ER that I will always regret, but because of eternal families I know that I'll see my dad again, and oh the catching up we'll do. Starting with the conversation I missed that night in the hospital so many years before.

12 comments:

Unknown Mami said...

You made me cry. I'm so sorry you lost your Dad, but what a blessing to know how much he loved you.

Thank you for sharing this touching story. I'm sending you a hug.

Marian said...

What a touching story. May your father always have footprints on your soul.

monica said...

What a lovely story. So sorry about your father. Thanks for stopping by!

shortmama said...

So touching, brought tears to my eyes. I am sorry for your loss.

Beth said...

Wow... One day I am going to learn not to read certain posts at work.

I am so sorry for your loss.

~~Mel~~ said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! Your dad knew how much you loved him regardless of whether you got to say that final good-bye.

The Crazy Coxes said...

Your post is beautiful! What a touching twist on "a trip to the ER." I'm sorry that you didn't quite get the goodbye with your dad that you had hoed for. I'm sure he knows that too!

Molly said...

So sorry for you loss. How do people cope with no hope for the future?

Anonymous said...

I lay awake that night as well, feeling that I should return to the hospital even though I'd only left for a few hours. When I later told people how sad I was to not be there in that short period while he was expressing his feelings for his family, everyone would say, "Oh, he will understand". They don't reallize, as you do, that WE were the ones that missed that opportunity. We were sad for our missed chance to hear from him one last time. Yes, he would understand....yes, he knew of our love for him, but to hear his voice, look into his eyes and share that moment one last time, and we weren't there. That was the loss. When I turned the car on after leaving the hospital for the final time, the song "Families Can Be Together Forever" was playing. What a blessing and comfort it is to have this knowledge.

The Cranes said...

Oh, I'm so sorry you missed that chance. I had a similar feeling once--my Grandma Pew was visiting my house, going to Nephi for a week, then coming back. I felt like I should go give her a hug when she left for Nephi, but dismissed it since I would see her again in a week. She had a massive stroke in Nephi and died a few months later. She was never able to communicate or know who we were after the stroke. I still regret that I didn't give her a hug while she still knew it was me. But I'm sure this experience was no where near as hard as yours of missing that last time with your dad!

Marcie said...

What a beautiful post. Once again, I'm grateful for you and your honest, refreshing writing. You make me want to sit down and reevaluate my life each time you post something.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh that is heart wrenching! I'm glad you have the knowledge of eternal families to see you through the "now". Still, it is a tremendous blessing that his words were saved to pass on to you. Beautiful post.