The Waiting Game:
From this point on I can’t remember everything but I will share what I can. I remember my mind was racing, I was thinking “what’s next.” The nurse walks in and tells us the usual “I’m so and so, I will be his nurse for the day,” then she hits us with the news. Was it good? Keep reading.
She explains to us that he’s on life support due to him unable to breathe on his own and he’s in a coma. She had no idea if he would ever wake up from it. That hit me like a ton of bricks, I just couldn’t believe it, I panicked inside. My brother and I were surprised with the information we received. I remember explaining to my brother what dad had mentioned about life support and how he would want to be taken off immediately if he was ever on it. We carried hope, so we kept him on. It felt like the bad news was never ending. Shortly after we received that information, one of my cousins’ arrived. She was one of the first from my dad’s side of the family to show up. She’s able to relate to our pain because her father passed away not to long ago before this, so she knew the stress and pressures of making decisions. I can’t remember much but I do remember later on that day the nurse or doctor walked up to us and informed us that only one of us could stay the night with dad. My brother volunteered. I told him I could spend the night because I can see how this situation affected him. He insisted, we both knew deep down the results but we still carried hope. Now looking back at it, that night was probably his final goodbye. He probably wanted to have a father and son moment, something they never really had. I told him to call me if it became to much for him or if he needs anything, I was just down the street. I’m not going to lie, I was worried about my brother. At that moment I felt I had to stay strong for my 3 siblings. I knew I had to look out for them through these tough times. My cousin decided to spent the night at my place. I’m thankful she did, I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to be alone with my younger siblings. Throughout the night I kept thinking how my brother was doing, how he’s holding up in the hospital and I also kept thinking how my siblings were handling everything they just went through. I’m thankful they ended up sleeping in the same room. At least they had each other. I slept in the living room with my cousin. She slept on one sofa and I slept on the other. Every time I fell asleep I felt like I was sinking into the ground. I couldn’t breathe and I would wake up every time from it. I don’t know why this happened but it lasted throughout the night and I didn’t get sleep. I had a full blown anxiety attack that morning. I believed I dropped my cousin off at her place and headed straight to the hospital after to check on my brother. His eyes were blood shot and he did not sleep. My mind was foggy at this point but I remember my brother heading home to get some sleep around noon. My siblings come to the hospital later that day and my dad’s side of the family started to arrive. A close family friend showed up to check on us. I only saw him for a brief minute but I was glad he was able to come visit my dad. I was surprised a close friend of mine from trade school arrived. She brought me Starbucks! I was low key happy because that’s just what I needed. A woman’s gotta have her coffee! My sister’s friend from school arrived to check on her and our neighbor came as well. I’m glad she had support from her friends. Through the stay at the hospital my cousins brought us food. A friend of mine from the Kingdom Hall brought us home cooked food (she is an AMAZING cook and her food hits the spot). My mom’s side of the family even showed up later that week to show support. I am thankful for the support we had and how much my dad was cared for.
I can’t remember exactly how each day went but I knew my dad’s health was declining. I know he was having issues with his bladder. Here is an important part of information that changed everything for us. My cousin, my brother and myself were in the room with my dad. A nurse walks in and updates us on some news. They told us they took X-rays of my dad’s brain and he was having mini seizures and it wasn’t looking to good. There could be a chance he could have severe brain damage that could lead to being brain dead. They said they will be looking for seizures. That was devastating to hear. I didn’t know to much about brain damage or someone who is brain dead until I did my research later that evening. They also gave us booklets for each sibling to look at. A nurse came later on that day and I asked what are the chances of him waking up, I got the same answer that I recieved when my dad was in the emergency room. They kept telling me that if there was any chance of him waking up the only thing he will be able to do is blink his eyes. There will be no movement in the body. I feel like that was their way of telling me “it’s not going to get better from here.” Hearing that brought my hopes down just a bit. Night arrived and I decided that it was my turn to stay with dad. My brother and I agreed and man let me tell you that was one of the toughest nights I ever had. Just seeing my dad lay on that hospital bed with a tube inserted in his mouth connected to a machine that is helping him breathe because he can’t do it on his own. It was tough to see. At the time my dad was studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He loved attending meetings, he enjoyed his bible studies with his bible teacher and he was progressing in the congregation. The chair where I slept had 2 or 3 magazines. One was an “Awake!” and the other one was a “Watchtower.” I remember opening one up and reading and a specific kingdom melody came to mind (it’s still difficult to listen to to this day) and I remember humming it. As I was reading the Watchtower, I thought about the resurrection and how I would see my dad again in great health! The family would be talking, no drama. We would laugh and have a genuine good time creating memories that would last forever. The thought of that had me balling. The thought of my dad being gone hit me at that moment. His goal was to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I remember praying and asking Jehovah God to help me make changes in my life so I can see my dad again on paradise earth. I remember the nurse coming in checking on my dad. I fell asleep shortly after. I woke up that morning around 7am. A nurse walked in the room and asked if I can wait in the lobby because they needed to change my dad’s sheets, I agreed and waited. I waited in the waiting room for about 30 minutes until my siblings arrived and we stayed at the hospital, we got news again that my dad was still having seizures. They mentioned that a test would need to be taken to determine his brain condition. One of us would have to be there. They said they were going to keep an eye on his final X-ray and get back to us. The days were going by slow and I grew impatient. I wanted a miracle to happen already! In the waiting room almost everyone from my dad’s side of the family and my mom’s side were there to support. I did feel like I had to be the host and make sure everyone was alright. I won’t talk to much about the waiting room but I remember my brother and I being pulled aside by a family friend that knew us best. He was concerned about our living situation and we talked about finances since it would be the 4 of us living on our own. We had to figure out how we were going to pay the bills and rent every month and how to survive on our own. My Brother (21), my younger brother (17), my little sister (15), and myself (22) at the time. We were all young and a little terrified on how we will make it month to month. The day my dad entered the hospital my brother and I had briefly discussed about finances but it helped that someone older was there. The first thing we actually discussed was how we were going to make it through the month of January. 2018 was off to a GREAT start.
After that day, family from around the U.S. called to get an update on my dad. I couldn’t say much but the same information I had received and small changes through the week. I remember the nurse told us the final results to my dad’s last brain scan and she told us that seizures were still appearing. She showed me a picture and explained in detail what I was seeing. She mention that the test would need to take place and the doctor will be in sometime tomorrow and they would phone us when the doctor was in. The next day I believe everyone went about there usual day, school and work. I remember getting a call. The number wasn’t familiar but I answered it anyway. It was the nurse, she informed me that the doctor will arrive to do the test. I believe it around 4:45-5pm is when I received the call. I remember asking the time I should be there and rushed to the hospital. I don’t remember where they were but on my way there I called my brother to let him know and he rushed to the hospital as well with my younger siblings. I ran in as fast as I could to make it on time to the room. The doctor was already there checking on my dad. The next part I’m about to tell you is one of the hardest parts I ever had to see.
It was just me in the room with the doctor and my dad. She told me to take a seat. She was preparing everything for the test. She started to explain there will be a total of 4 test that she will be performing today and he will have to pass at least one of them to be kept on life support. While she was preparing for the first test she explain to me what would take place. She told me she will be using a tissue to poke around the pupil of the eyeball and see if we get a blink or some sort of eye movement. As she grabbed the tissue she told me to pay close attention, I stared intently hoping I see some type of movement. The test took place… she looked at me and the words that came out of her mouth “we are getting no reaction.” My heart sunk but in my head I was like “that’s just one out of the 4. He still has a chance to pass.” She moved on to the next test. She mentioned she will press hard against the cuticle of his finger nail to see if we get any reaction. She pressed against it… still we were getting nothing. She did it once again so I can see clearly. Still, no reaction. The third one was hard to see. The third test was to see if my dad had any gag reflects. The tube that was inserted in my dad’s mouth from the oxygen machine to help him breathe, she told me she’s going to have to push that tube down his throat to see if he gags. She apologized and proceeded, she shoved the tube somewhat violently. What hurt me the most was that there was still no reaction coming from my dad. I asked myself where is the miracle? I just couldn’t believe it. Lastly, she prepared for the last test. I prayed that he would pass this one. I didn’t want to lose hope. She grabs a syringe and puts warm water in it. She walks to the right ear and tells me “this is the most painful test, we will look at his eyes and see if they move rapidly from side to side, that’s a sign of pain.” She opened his eyes wide and squirt the water into his ears, she only did half of the syringe. She says “we are going to do it one more time.” She did it once more… It felt like my heart stopped. The doctor walks over and tells me “he failed the test.” “I’m sorry to tell you but your father is brain dead. Your father has passed away” She looks at the clock and looks back at me. “Your dad is announced dead on January 24, 2018 at 6pm. Make sure you put that on his death certificate when you fill it out okay?” I remember those words exactly. I started crying. I couldn’t control my emotions anymore. It felt unreal. My siblings rushed in. I immediately told my brother he didn’t pass. We all teared up. At this point we lost hope. The doctor comes in and says “I’m sorry to inform you all but your dad has passed away. We can leave him on life support so you and your family could say goodbye but we will have to pull the plug after 24 hours.” Almost everyone we were close to came in that evening. My dad’s room was crowded. I wish he knew how many people loved and cared for him. His siblings, nephews and nieces were there. Even my mom side of the family was there. My brother’s old friend from the army tried to arrive back to California before the 24 hours were up to say his goodbyes. While my dad and siblings were getting love and support someone from the hospital pulled me aside and had me sign papers to take him off life support the next day. That was stressful to sign. It was an overwhelming day, my siblings and I decided to go home together and allowed my dad to stay at the hospital on his own. As we walked to the car everyone was quiet. Not a lot was said. As we walked into the house, it was quiet, calm and empty. It was the first time we slept in the house as a family without dad.
January 25, 2018. I woke up along with my siblings that morning. It was like our wake up time was synced. Shortly after I woke up, I received a call. It was the nurse, she told me that my dad’s liver was failing. I knew the time was getting close. I let my siblings know and we got ready to see my dad one last time before it was time to pull the plug. I didn’t know how I was going to handle it. Hearing my dad’s heart line go flat frightened me. I kept thinking I wasn’t going to be strong enough to see him officially pass away. About 30 mins later I received another call. Once again, it was the nurse. She told me “I’m sorry to inform you but your dad’s heart has stopped beating.” I was speechless. My dad was finally gone. That was the last day I was going to see him. No more dinners together, no more childhood stories from him, and no more knowledge shared by him. It was just me and my siblings. I knew I was going to miss calling him and having out short conversations on the phone. It was officially goodbye.
The Final Moments:
After I received the call I immediately informed my siblings and gave my cousins a call. My siblings and I drove to the hospital. When we got to his room, it was quiet. We walked in and there he was. His eyes slightly shut, his mouth open, the machines were off. It was difficult seeing my dad in that condition. Tissue boxes were on both sides of his feet ready for us to grab when we shed tears. I told myself this is it soaking up the last moments with my dad because this is was the final day I was going to see him. We started crying. A few moments later my cousins walk in. They gave us words of encouragement while we said our final goodbyes. It was finally time to leave. We walked out of that hospital knowing that this was our last time back. It felt unreal but we were glad the terrible week and a half was over. Leaving that hospital knowing my dad’s body was there felt like we were leaving a part of us behind. I kept thinking he was going to walk through the house door again asking us how our day went. It was a tough experience to go through and I will never forget the memories we had as a family.
I know there’s more details to this event but it’s difficult to recall. After the day my dad passed, we still had people come over, bringing us food and comfort us. That’s exactly what we needed and we deeply appreciate. Ever since that day, it’s been me and my siblings. We still talk about him from time to time. We think about him a lot and it’s been 2 years since he’s been gone and on his death day it always affects us. The pain will never go away but it does get easier each day. Losing a loved one is never easy. Through the tough times, surround yourself with people you love and always remember to tell the ones you love that you love them because you never know when they will take their last breathe. I want to personally thank those that kept in contact with me through this emotional event and those that showed up at the hospital. I truly appreciate everything you did for me and my family. I know I haven’t been the same since and this event has changed me but I want to say this, it is hard for me to tell y’all in person but I love you guys and thank you for being by my side ❤️.
For my readers, thank you for taking the time for reading a small piece of my life and allowing me to share this with you. If any of you have gone through this experience and would like to share. Leave it in the comments section below. I would love to take a read. If you do that, thank you for allowing me to read a small piece of your life. Thank you for reading and remember, Everything’s Otay!