M and I experienced our first loss and the gift of life within a short period of time. In the couple years after we bought our home, I got to know my dad better than I ever had. He was an intermittent weekend dad for most of my life, so I never felt like I really got to know him. I always wished we’d just talked more. For several years in my teens to 20’s he was really depressed about his second divorce, spiraled into a bad place, and I didn’t even know where he was. Then, he got sick.
Dad moved closer to get better care and I began to visit fairly frequently. He kept getting sicker and eventually needed oxygen all the time. We learned that, ideally, he’d need a double lung transplant, but there was an intense screening process. He came to stay with us and I accompanied him to all the transplant screening procedures and appointments. We talked a lot during this time together; we talked about many things I will always remember. He and M got to know one another, too, and they got along famously. I feel like we got a second chance and for that I will always be grateful.
After all those appointments, all that was left was the waiting. How odd a situation it is to be hopeful for the gift of life. There is so much to consider, so much soul searching and connecting involved. It is both sad and beautiful. It’s a miracle, in my opinion. So, we waited for a miracle. But, he got worse. He had to be hospitalized to remain stable enough to receive donor lungs. I visited every day and M came when he could, and we simply waited and enjoyed what time we had. A few days later, I got one of the most difficult calls in my life. His oxygen mask had fallen off while he slept and he was in a coma, one in which he’d likely never recover. With M and I at his side, he passed the next day.
During this difficult time, M was at my side, being the wonderfully supportive man he’d always been. He helped with all the arrangements and all the myriad of tasks involved. Most of all, he let me feel my grief my way. I didn’t cry, but he knew I hurt. He held my hand and he was simply there. Always there.
We’d been talking about starting a family for a short while before all this happened. Exactly one year later our first daughter was born. She was born on the day my father passed away. We did get that miracle, after all.