I woke up to another sunny day on Wednesday, May 17th. Unbeknownst to me, I wasn’t appreciating it the way I should’ve been at the time. Instead of embracing the beauty of the city lit on fire by the sun’s rays, I groaned at the busy day ahead.
I started to get ready in the new apartment I shared with Marc as of a mere four days before. An exciting time of our life for sure. But it is not excited I feel this morning; it’s annoyed. I stand at the sink, brushing my teeth, annoyed at how early I am awake and annoyed at how long it will be before I get in bed again.
An early meeting, a packed day, and a late event are what make for a “bad day” to me.
I sat in the back of a crowded room of a presentation by one of the doctors I represent. My phone rings. It’s my dad’s girlfriend, Cheryl. I stare blankly at the phone. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times she has called me in 15 years.
I let it go to voicemail, but quickly text Marc.
“Cheryl just called me?!”
“What do you think that’s about,” he said.
“Either my dad is dying, or she just wanted to say hi?”
“That’s a horrible thing to say!!”
“Yeah, well that’s how I feel.”
May sound harsh, but I wasn’t wrong.
The rest of the presentation might as well have been from the teacher in the Peanuts. “Wom wom wa-wom wom wom.” I couldn’t hear or comprehend a thing. I sat there, still, waiting for the chance to check the voicemail and call her back.
She sounds calm. She is sweetly inflicting a tone into her words that tries to disguise her own panic as not to stir up mine. But I can tell there is a sense of seriousness in the matter.
“I had to take your father to the hospital last night,” she said. “Um, they’re not sure what’s wrong. But he was having chest pains.”
There it is.
“Chest pains.” The words I’ve been dreading my whole life about him. Suddenly I begin to have my own chest pains as it feels like I’m stuck with a quick knife jab.
“They think he may be having a reaction to a medication he recently started for his back pain. So, I don’t know we have to wait and see. They really haven’t told me much else. I went home to sleep for a little bit and just came back and he’s not in the room. The nurse said they took him for another test. So, I guess I’ll just keep you posted.”
I called Marc and blurted the words out with no control whatsoever. He grabbed them in midair and slowly brought the words, and my sanity, to a balance.
“It’s going to be okay. Let’s just wait until we hear more before we get upset, okay? If we need to go up there we will. No problem. You’re okay.”
I walked into my office and tried my best to pretend that what he said was true. I am okay.
No more than 20 minutes went by when my Aunt Carol called me. For a woman who usually had a steady hand, her uneasiness was immediately detected.
“Gi. You have to get up here. He had a heart attack and they’re saying there are multiple blockages. Bad ones. We’re at Einstein Montgomery. There’s no immediate rush, but you need to get here when you can.”
I feel the knife strike me again, but this time it stays within my chest and twists around.
In that very moment, I knew this was it. But I spent the next five days fighting like hell to not give up on him, my Daddy.