May 11, 2003 - 2:06 am
08/12/03 my Dad died, 2 and a half weeks after he had been diagnoised with Leukemia. He was 64 years old and 6 months from retirement. My parents were in the middle of retiring to Florida and my Mom had gone to Florida ahead of my Dad to oversee a new home construction. He had a contract to finish so he lived with me in New York. One day in the middle of July he started having trouble breathing. He thought he had the flu. 10 days after he started feeling sick I took him to his doctor who took an x-ray of his lungs and said there was fluid there that could be because of bronchitist. He gave my Dad antibiotics and said if he didn't feel some improvement in a couple of days he should go to the ER. 2 days later we were in the emergency room. My Dad could hardly make more than a couple of steps without gasping for air and thus began the worse year of my life. That day they told me that they believed it was Leukemia. Long story short, he went on chemo immediately. One week in he developed an infection in his blood and ended up in the ICU. It was down hill from there - total life support, organs shutting down, resuscitations, etc. Then 4am on august 12th my phone ran and my heart stopped - the hospital called to say I should come down immediately. 6:30am he arrested in front of me and died. I was all alone. My Dad and I were extremely close and I went through this period on my own. No one expected him to die so quickly. Several of my sisters live outside the country and were trying to get visas to come to the US on short notice. So I spent all my spare time at the hospital combing his hair, shaving him and lotioning his feet and hands (my dad was a meticulous groomer) telling him he'd be OK even when I realized he would not. I didn't even tell my mother that I thought he would die because she is hypertensive and I didn't want her to worry. So I endured all this by myself. Watching the strongest man I've ever known disappear before my eyes. Like the baby of many families I've maintained the rock of the family act. I don't want to add to the families grief so no-one knows that I feel like my world has crashed around me - that I go between a silent internal screaming to a deafening void/silence in my head. I also suffer from a sense of guilt - maybe I should have asked more questions, inquired about other treatment courses...I don't know but I sometime feels like my failure killed my dad. I loved him so much. He was my biggest fan. I could do no wrong with him and in a world where others seem to take pleasure in making you feel wrong, he was my refuge. I don't know how I'll live without him. He never even got to retire after working like a dog his whole life for his children. It's just not fair.