Hi everyone. This post is difficult for me because I never thought in a million years I would have lost my dad at this time in life, and so suddenly at that, but boy did he fight hard this month, and in his state of weakness, I’ve never seen him so strong. My dad was extremely active, and kept his body healthy for many years, so naturally this has been quite a shock to all who knew him. Heart disease + failure can look different in different people, and my dad had been battling stomach issues for quite some time that we would have never thought was related to his heart. My dad’s parents both had heart issues as well, so he tried to get check ups and stay alert, but with how well he felt up until the very end, he didn’t go to a cardiologist. I know he would have if he had known his heart wasn’t well. This was his final month here on earth, and I wanted to share just the basics of what this month has held, and the things leading up to the final goodbye. My dad lived a wonderful 63 years, and I am lucky to have had him as a best friend for the 27 years I’ve known him. It is extremely sad to have to say goodbye to him, especially with getting married soon, and just thinking about things that I know he wouldn’t have missed for the world. Things I wanted him to be a part of. I just always thought we’d have him around until his 80’s, at least. I just can’t help thinking that he had so much more life to be lived here. But I do trust in God’s plan, and although I will never understand completely, I know that my dad is experiencing Heaven and is free of all pain. I can only imagine how joyful he is. I am trying to hold on to that and the incredible memories I hold of him. Sharing below the events leading up to my dad’s passing. What a wonderful man he was, and I hate he had to go through what he did, but we are blessed to have gotten the extra time we did with him. Thank you all for the kindness you have showed our family. It truly means the world.
Highs + Lows of this month-
March 8th, Low– Dad had a major heart attack in the early morning hours, and was airlifted to BSA Hospital in Amarillo. Once there, they got him stabilized and on a machine to do the work for his heart so it could rest. He was too weak that day for any surgeries/procedures.
March 11th, Low– Although doctors had planned to do a triple bypass surgery, dad’s heart was just too weak, and wouldn’t make it through. The doctors decided to move forward by putting 4 stents into his heart, and told us it would still be extremely risky, due to the extremely fragile state his heart was in. They let us know that this could very well be the last time we would see him. We gathered around him and each gave our hugs and words of love to him, trying to be strong for him, yet he was the strongest of us all, and was ready for the next step, no matter what.
Later on March 11th, High– The procedure was a success and dad was already feeling better. The doctors had informed us that dad’s 3 major arteries were close to 100% blocked, so the fact that he was alive and that this worked was a miracle. There would be no bypass surgery needed anymore. We rejoiced that the procedure was so successful.
March 13th, Low– Although the stent procedure worked and blood was able to flow through correctly, my dad’s heart muscle never got strong enough to pump the blood by itself, and the heart device he was on was not strengthening his heart like the doctors had hoped it would. They decided to transport him to Baylor Medical in Dallas for further assessment and treatment.
March 15th, High– Dad received wonderful treatment at Baylor Medical, and they were able to get his heart to a place where it could pump on it’s own without any heart devices helping him. My dad had to lay completely still for around a week because the device was put in through a major artery in his leg, so it was a praise that he could finally move around again. All of his numbers looked good and his heart had gotten good rest. His heart was not considered very strong, but the doctors believed that at the stage he was at, he would be able to go home soon, along with instructions of continuing care with a cardiologist.
March 16th, High– They moved dad out of the CCU to a regular room and continued watching to see how his heart did on it’s own, and discharge would possibly happen in a few days depending on how things went. Dad’s heart was not functioning at full capacity, and there would be changes and a rehab to help him get more strength, but at this stage it was believed he would be able to work and continue on with his life and enjoy many more years.
March 19, High– Dad made it home to us. They kept him an extra day to be sure of everything, and once they saw how well he was doing, it was time for him to be discharged. The trip home was broken up to a few days so dad would get enough rest, and he was doing so great, he helped navigate mom through Dallas, and took a shower by himself for the first time in a while. He was feeling good, and excited to get back to a normal atmosphere and life. We got our family together that night to welcome him home and celebrate together. He held his grandson (my sister’s baby, Lucas), and talked on and on. He walked around his backyard- his favorite place to work on his cars. He did look frail, but we all knew he had had a hard past few weeks, and we believed his strength would come slowly and with time. We had a wonderful last night with him, and seeing him so happy and back to his normal self was a relief to say the least. He was so encouraged by the prayers and love received by all our family and friends, and was determined to write a book about how prayer relates to circumstances, especially during the time he had in the hospital. He was so fully alive that night, and I believe it was God ordained that we had that last night all together.
March 20, Low– In the early morning, dad had gotten up out of the bed, and shortly after, his heart completely stopped. He collapsed, and we were later informed in the ER that he didn’t make it, and it was believed that he had died right away when his heart quit beating. It was a completely terrifying and traumatizing morning, and with all the highs and lows we had been through, it was so hard to believe that just hours earlier he was home and his heart was okay at that moment. We just had no idea it would be our last time with him, and there is only so much the doctors could do. His heart was doing better when they had discharged him, but ultimately, it was his time to go be with Jesus, and maybe God allowed him to go through the ups and downs of this month just so we could have that final time with him. It was a month of every kind of emotion, the highs and lows, the rejoicing and the tears. I put this in the “low” category because we lost him, but it could very well be in the “high” category, because he was instantly in Heaven with Jesus, and that is his ultimate home.
We had a beautiful funeral service for dad, and then had him buried alongside his parents in Louisiana. His life was his testimony, and it was encouraging to see just how many lived he touched as a pastor, friend, mentor, you name it… He loved Jesus and he just shared that love with all that he encountered. I’m so proud of him and I can only hope I can live a life he would be proud of too. Holding on to the fact that I will see him one day, and what a glorious reunion that will be.