I can't believe I am writing this post.
To say that I'm numb & in shock is an understatement. My daddy has been gone for over a week at this point, & I still dont feel like this has really happened.
I'm still waiting to wake up for this nightmare.
I know so many of you have already heard the news & were just as shocked as we were.... & I feel like so many of you feel like you know my dad personally just because I've talked so much about him over the year. My dad was just everyone's dad.... so I feel like I need to share a little bit of what happened just because I know everyone has been so concerned & questioned what happened.
Believe me - I'm still questioning it as well.
The first question we all have gotten was "was it something to do with his knee replacement surgery?"... well yes, & no... how's that for an answer.
Well, most of you know that he went into the hospital for his knee replacement on April 3rd. Looking so forward to it so he could get back up on that horse & literally back in the saddle. But nothing went smoothly with that.
He had some pain & more damage in his shin than they expected, so he was sent to rehab for a week to work on that new knee.... except he was back in the emergency room just 3 days later when his blood pressure was so low, he felt like he was going to pass out. & while he was in the hospital, they found his leg that had the knee replacement had a blood clot in it - & some of that blood clot had broken off & was in his lung.... AND then he found out he had a blood infection from the surgery as well.... so he was sent home with a port in his arm where he had to go to the hospital nearest his home to get antibiotics shot in - some days, TWICE a day. ... & he finished his last trip to the hospital for that just a week before he passed away....
so what happened? In all this chaos that happened, doctors were constantly changing his blood thinners for those blood clots. & they finally settled on a blood thinner called Eliquis.
& then we get to May 15....
Dad apparently had a headache all night long. Mom said she got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night & he was sitting up on his computer because he just didnt feel good.
& then he called Tony & casually asked him to drive him to the ER. I'll skip all the details of that trip because basically all hell broke loose on that ride. My poor brother. I just ache for what he witnessed & what he went through in this.... it ended up with him on the side of the road with an ambulance dragging my dad out of his car....
& on the ride, my brother said dad looked at him, grabbed his head & in a 'matter of fact' way said to him, "Tony, I'm dying".... & those were his last words....
When my brother got to the hospital, he was in touch with me asking me questions & trying to keep me informed. & when Tony got there behind the ambulance, he was informed that dad wasn't breathing on his own & they put Tony in a room to wait for the doctor. You know its not a good sign when you get ushered to a room.
All this is happening & my mom has no idea that dad's even left home.... so I rush out of work to go get my mom & luckily, Ricky told me to get to the hospital & he'd go get mom.... & as I walk in the room with my brother, the doctor comes in & gives us news that literally knocked the breath out me. I even looked at my sister in law & said, "What did he just say?"... & the doctor repeated the news.
Massive brain bleed. Bleeding in 70% of his brain. 0% chance of recovery. Fatal diagnosis. Currently on a ventilator. No cure. Nothing we can do.
The doctor was very straight forward, but also very kind in his delivery of the news. He let me & my brother go back.... & we still had to wait for my mom to come. She had no idea what lay ahead of her coming in the doors of that hospital.
It really was like a nightmare was happening -this can't be real life. This is stuff you see on TV or in a movie - This doesnt really happen.... but it was. Oh, how it was.
Seeing dad laying there, it was just the most surreal moment of my life.
& people showing up so quickly. My aunts, my dad's only brother, cousins, friends... & Ricky pulling in with my mom.
The doctors telling my mom the news.... I cant even find words to express the torment that was. My mom begging dad to wake up.... to not leave her.... my parents will be together over 54 years in July. She doesnt know how to do life without him... & now we were in a position to make decisions that are impossible to make.
They moved dad up to the ICU while we took time to process all the news & the situaiton - & had so many doctors & nurses showing us his brain scans, telling us the same news over again.... fatal. no survival. Not breathing. Brain damage.
This is my daddy laying there. The man that is always invincible to me. The man I expected to always be there forever. The man that had never been really 'sick'. The man who just wanted to get back in his barn without pain & get that saddle on his horse. ... how does this happen?
Well... I have no problem calling out the name of this blood thinner because we have since found out that this is something that can happen on Eliquis.... We have found out we actually know people who have family members on the same pill that this happened... & if you look online, you'll find many a law suit from people passing away of fatal brain bleeds from this medicine.
HOW IS THIS PILL STILL AROUND??????????????????
I can't even begin to explain that day in the hospital. All of this started around 9:30am & people had sat in the waiting room all day long giving support & encouragement & lifting prayers.... & then it ended up with just a few of us around 10pm - midnight... & then it was just me, my mom, my brother & Ricky .... & the doctor came in & did more testing on dad, showing us that he had no reaction to anything that happened to him. Some of these examples almost seemed cruel to us... but it showed us that dad was truly gone & just breathing solely because of the ventilator.
In the end, my daddy went to be with Jesus around 4:55am on May 16. It really was the most peaceful & easy passing I have ever witnessed in my life... & sadly, I've witnessed a few passings. I know my daddy already had one foot in heaven the whole day & he had to be so relieved to let go of all the struggle & pain he had been in during that day... of the days before....
I still can't believe it though.
We had come home around 6am & slept for 2 hours & we were sitting in a funeral home by 1pm the same day.... it's just crazy how fast everything goes in moments like that.
I still say that I watched my daddy take his last breath - we picked out his casket - & I saw him laying in it & watching them close it & see where his is laying in the ground... & it ALL still feels so unreal to me..
We survived the funeral. & 'survived' feels like a very appropriate word.
So blessed to see so many people come out to support our family. In so many ways.
I think my dad would have been proud of the funeral he had. When we saw an Amish made wood casket, we knew this was what dad needed to be in.... we had a barn scene put in the back of the casket. & when we had to pick out flowers for the top of it, I asked my brother if he thought his horse blanket would look good draped across it, almost like an American Flag. & then my brother said, Why dont we put his saddle on it as well... & it went from there. We had his boots at the casket... his barn hat hanging on the corner of the casket... his dress hat & his rope hanging off the bottom of the casket... My dad would have loved every bit of that. A cowboy till the end.....
& the one thing dad has ever talked about if he passed away - he wanted his horse to be there. To lead the way from the cemetery to his resting place. This was something he just always had to happen. Dad had even talked to one of his horse friends to see if he would do that if the day ever happeend & he agreed.... except that poor guy, he just had DOUBLE knee replacement & couldnt even stand. He even tried to make it but no one wanted him to mess up his work on his knees. We truly thought it was't going to happen. We had no way to get Cochese up to the cemetery. Tony & I made phone calls & things just weren't coming together.
I dont know what made me do it, but I posted on Facebook our situation ... & man... . people stepped up. In such an incredible way. People were contacting me & I was sending them to Tony (my mom & I were on the way to the funeral home to prepare for the funeral).... but perfect strangers, all offering their time, their trailers, their compassion for our family. I am so thankful for all the people that shared my post & everyone who tagged all the people they could think of. It was literally HUNDREDS of people that were involved in this... in just an hours time. I honestly was overwhelmed by it all.
& in the end, a young couple ended up making my dad's dream come true. They came & got Cochese & even cleaned him up & prepared him & had him exactly where he needed to be as we pulled up behind dad on his final ride.
We had to laugh too when the man had red hair & a beard just like my dad....
They had Cochese so perfect with my dad's favorite dress boots sitting in the stirrups....
& Cochese led the way for my daddy....
Someone told us that horses grieve ... & Cochese had been looking for dad. He always looked up to the porch & waited for my dad's whistle.... & we had heard that if animals see the person laying there, they can see that they are gone & they wont grieve as hard. So the amazing people at the funeral home told us they are animal people & they understood.... so at the cemetery, after the last prayer, they were so gracious enough to let Cochese see his daddy.
It was just the craziest experience to witness. Cochese was nervous - as you can imagine with people everywhere - in a different environment... but Tony walked up to him & said, "Let's go see daddy" & Cochese immediately calmed down... & walked toward the casket. He got a littler nervous by the tent overhead but then he saw dad & walked right up to the casket. He looked right down at dad too .... & then smelled all around dad... & then blew his hair with his nose twice... & then just simply backed away as calm as anything.
Cochese has been with my dad for nearly 20 years... he needed to say goodbye just as we all did.
We are so thankful that he was able too....
I was so glad I had the opportunity to speak at my daddy's funeral too to say goodbye. Of course, now that its over, there's 100 things I wish I would have said or added in - & truth be told, I'm not even sure what I said at his funeral. I'm just glad I made it through.... & believe me, I'm sure my blog will be full of things that come to mind & things I wish I would have said ...
One of the biggest surprises for me was after the funeral. My sweet friends at our church we used to go to was so gracious to open up their church for all our family & friends to come over for dinner. Mom & I were the last ones to get there & after getting her in & making sure our family was there & eating & everyone was OK, my friend Chasity whispered to me, "your MSM Girls are here - they wanted to serve you & your family".... & I turn around & see my girls all standing there behind the food line, literally serving my family. I was so overwhelmed at how precious these girls are. I spoke with one of their mommas later & she said, "This was their idea - they needed to do something for you in this moment"... I prayed with them thanking God for their sweet hearts & reminded them that its times like this where THEY were the hands & feet of Jesus, that they made a difference in God's kingdom.
|My girls hugging me...|
You see my dad's cowboy hat on my head.... & I actually wore my daddy's cowboy boots too
Then I found out that my Joyster Sisters made the food that my family ate. I'm telling you - my overwhelmed meter was just bursting through the roof.
& its still being blown out with all the cards & messages & baskets & calls, all the long drives & visits to the funeral home & hugs given & prayers lifted, & flowers sent & just all the love that has been given to all of us. I cant even begin to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to us in some shape & form.... we are truly appreciative of every gesture of love shown to us.
& again, I still sit here & still feel like it's all so unreal - so unbelievable.
Life will never be the same.
I've already sat at my desk at work & cried because there was a thunderstorm that popped up... thunderstorms was a thing for me & dad. Dad used to take me out & sit, covered up, in the mdidle of storms - we'd LOVE to look for funnel clouds & he is the one who made me fasicated with tornados. When the storm hit, I was just waiting for a text or email from dad asking me if I was watching the storm - its what he did with EVERY storm that came through... & there was no call. No text. No email.
I just cant even grasp what life is going to be like without my daddy. Without his calls to check to see how my day was. To bring over Hershey pies when I'm having a rough time. Not getting phone calls to tell me to turn the TV over on a certain channel & watch what he was watching... or to ask me if I watched the funny video he sent to my email about a dog or a horse or someone falling....To not get a phone call if I dont have a blog post up by 9am because "something must be wrong" if I didnt have a post up....
something is most definitely wrong now dad...
Needless to say, my life has changed... my blog wont be the same for awhile either....
Right now, I'm just sitting in the attitude of "I dont care"... numbness ... overwhelming numbness..... I dont care about small things in life... I dont care about make up or what my hair looks like... I dont even care that I'm still in pain from my surgery & still expecting to have to go back in for another surgery from more abscess... I just dont care about much right now....
I do care about making sure my momma is doing OK
I do care about making sure my brother knows we can handle this together
I do care about my daddy's horses & making sure they know they are still loved.
It's funny how everything that you think is important in life can all turn on a dime & you find that priorities can shift in a blink of an eye.....
I have to just close by saying that I have walked through that horrible day at the hospital & days following ONLY by the grace of God. By knowing that He is near. I have cried out to God in screams, in tears, in pleading & begs of healing, & prayers for peace.... but in all of this, I dont question God or His plan. I know God is near... & I have felt all the prayers lifted for us.
& I do find solace in knowing that my daddy raised me in church & knowing Jesus & knowing that this life is not our home. Dad always talked about being in heaven with Jesus... & his Papaw Beanblossom... & the moment that the doctor checked dad's heart & told us it had stopped beating & he was gone, I looked at my mom & said, "Can you even imagine what he's seeing right now?"... because I know Jesus was standing there for my daddy to run into His arms & hearing the words, "Well done, good & faithful servant"... I know that above anything else....
& I told my daddy before he took that last breath that he better be standing next to Jesus when I get there.
My dad always - ALWAYS - told me, "No one is getting out of this world alive Bec - you gotta know where your going"... I know where my daddy is at in this moment. I dont know what he's seeing or experiencing - or even who he's talking to - or even if he's riding his childhood horses - or even telling his own Papaw how much he loved being a Papaw himself.... but I know that my dad has no pain now. His knees are healed. His hips aren't aching. He has no need for blood thinners or cares about blood clots... He is whole...
& I do know he'll be standing right next to Jesus on the day I get there as well....