My memorial weekend was rather uneventful in 2016. My parents went off to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Colorado over the holiday, and my son and I were looking over the farm for them while away. Sitting peacefully on the back steps listening to the birds chanting back and forth, I felt blissful. That feeling didn’t last long.
My father loved his life building a small but successful carpentry business. He was very well known for being fairly priced and honest to his word when it came to a deadline. Work was his life.
Whenever he visited my brother, he was always thrilled to be of any kind of help to updates on their home. It was bonding for him and my brother. This man could dance on ladders. Not this day. While helping my brother install windows which he hadn’t have been any higher than seven feet high at the time, for some reason, my father had fallen. Unfortunately, he fell on his side right into a steel window well below. My poor brother thought he was dead instantly.
They rushed him to the emergency room where for hours they had no idea what was going on. They then transferred him to ICU where his injuries were extensive. All of his ribs were broken, broken shoulder, collapsed lungs, and a broken clavicle bone. At the time he was still awake and interacting with everyone. That didn’t last long before the pain medication they had him on knocked him out completely.
After receiving the word from my mother, me and my other brother made the journey from MN to CO. By the time we made it there, he wasn’t awake. The doctors assured us he would be ok and walking out of there, but he would most likely not be able to do the job he loved so dearly.
He had a tube to help him breath and a tube on each side to inflate his lungs. By Thursday they decided that the next day they were going to preform surgery on him. They were going to place metal to fuse his ribs together. We were thrilled! This meant progress.
The next morning while getting ready to go see him, assuming he would be in surgery, we received a call to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Once there, we weren’t allowed to see him. We were all placed in a conference room two feet from his room with a Chaplain.
Instantly we knew this was not the wonderful news we had hoped for the day prior. A resident came in to talk to us saying he had contracted an infection and they were starting a central line on him. Shortly after she said that, we heard the code.
They then took my mother out of the room to where my father was. I couldn’t sit still. The Chaplain tried to keep me in the room, but I could see the mounds of staff flooding my father’s room. Pounding on his chest while my mother was weeping. I demanded to be let go and finally they let us all in the room. Staying there was nothing more they could do for him.
I remember yelling at everyone at that room, “He just fell off a ladder! Fix him!! You people put pig hearts in people to save them, do something!!”My mother stopped me and said we have to say goodbye.
The next six months are a complete blur to me. It’s almost as if I just have visions of what happened. The wake, the funeral. I completely shut down from the world. To me my world ended. My family has always been half of my heart and my father has always been the core of our family. I remember saying to my family this will not tear us apart.
Unfortunately, it did. Grief is a beast. It will make you turn on the people you love the most. My mother moved on rather quickly and left the farm, which was all paid off, to be with another man. I understand but can’t understand at the same time. To me I wasn’t ready for her to let that go out of sheer loneliness. I wanted her to be tougher then that.
We all started fighting each other, saying horrible things to each other. All the while forgetting the fact that we were all there together going through the same thing. It breaks my heart to this very day. I’ve tried to mend what I can, so far little progress has been made. I won’t stop trying. Life is short. It’s fleeting. It’s a gift. Live it fully, live it the way you want to live without fear, and please don’t take it for granted.