Monday, March 02, 2009

February Made Me Shiver*

The phone rang at 6:30 a.m.. By the time I had realized it wasn't the alarm it had already gone to voicemail. As I listened to the message, Thatboy was already calling in and taking the day off work. What followed was the longest drive of my life.

We reached the hospital just as they were about to begin surgery and we sat huddled in the waiting room. Thatmom filled in some of the gaps that had kept us so silent on our drive up. Just as they had done every morning for as long as I can remember, Thatparents awoke at 4:30 am and headed to the gym. At some point, someone ran up and told Thatmom that her husband had collapsed. By the time she reached his machine, CPR was already being performed. The paramedics were called and were able to revive Thatdad before transporting him to the nearest hospital. Because of Thatdad's ties to the police department, his close friend and coworker Sgt. G arrived to the hospital shortly after the ambulance did, trailed closely by the wife of Thatdad's closest friend, who also worked for the police department. Thatbrother was not far behind.

Another transport was necessary. This hospital didn't have a cardiac cath lab and something was going to have to be done regarding Thatdad's heart. He was moved to another hospital where the surgeons immediately got to work. The five of us sat waiting until his doctor came out. He explained that a graft that had been previously placed in Thatdad's heart had become occluded, causing the cardiac event. He was optomistic that they had solved the problem, although there was a great deal of damage to the heart wall. He told us that as soon as Thatdad was moved over to the ICU we could all come in and see him, although he was still under heavy sedation.

The minutes turned to hours during which every "Code Blue" dropped our group into silence, and although we received frequent updates from the nursing staff, we were eventually moved into a more private room with a social worker who gained us access to Thatdad's bedside. The hours passed and eventually it became clear that we would need to say our goodbyes. By that time, Thatcousin had arrived at the hospital, as well as Thatdad's best friend and our family rabbi. We were all able to gather around the bed and be there for his last moments.

The rest of the day is a blur of phone calls. What do you say after you tell someone your father died? The conversation can't really continue at that point. Especially since it was so sudden and unexpected. During the next few days arrangements were made and people started pouring in. From across the country in all directions friends and family booked the first plane ticket they could and began making their way. One couple, who had known Thatdad since high school, flew in directly from their vacation without stopping at home first.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2009, over 400 people gathered to say goodbye. He was a friend, a mentor, a teacher, a coworker. His wonder at life and joy for all things touched everyone around him, and his humor was infectious. As we gathered to remember the man, stories were told of his love for his family and friends, his adoration of his wife, his obsession with Hawaiian shirts, and his ability to make anyone smile. As we left the service we noted that the road had been closed off and the police were called in because of the sheer number of vehicles exiting and entering the parking lot. As we watched the crowd following the pallbearers at the cemetery, the cantor noted "it's as though they were leaving Egypt" in reference to the number of people. Thatdad was larger than life. You couldn't meet him without instantly losing a bit of your heart to him. Whether it was the teller at the bank, or the person in front of him at the supermarket he had a way of making friends very quickly. And no one wanted to miss their chance to say goodbye.

I write this to explain my absence, both past and future, because I'm not really sure where this blog will go from here. Thatbrother and I have temporarily moved in with Thatmom to deal with this difficult time. There is an influx of food being delivered to the house, which means there's not much cooking going on right now, although Thatboy brought up my pasta machine so we've been doing homemade sauce and fettuchine. Italian is Thatmom's comfort food.

I apologize for my lack of comments - I've started catching up on the blogs I've missed, but am having trouble coming up with anything to say, or a desire to communicate in general. So know that I'm reading, even if I'm not the frequent commenter I once was.

I'd also like to thank many of you for the phone calls, the emails, the stopping in to check on us. I know I've thanked you each individually, but you deserve a big group hug in addition.



Thatdad (October 7, 1954-February 20, 2009)

*A long, long, time ago
I can still remember
how the music, used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
that I could make those people dance
and maybe, they'd be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
with every paper I'd deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn't take one more step.

I can't remember if I cried
when I read about his widowed bride,
but something touched me deep inside,
the day the music died.
-Don McLean, American Pie

55 comments:

  1. I am speechless, yet feel compelled to comment on this post. You are in my prayers, and I am so sorry for your loss.

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  2. I never would've thought a cooking blog would leave me teary-eyed...I'm so sorry to hear about your father. My heart goes out to you and your family.

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  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thoughts & prayers to you and your family.

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  4. I'm sorry for your loss, best wishes to you family to get through this hard time.

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  5. I am very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  6. I am so so so sorry. I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. I am thinking of you and your family. Please let me know if you need anything...seriously.

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  7. *hugs* I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers!

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  8. I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

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  9. I am very sorry for your loss.

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  10. i'm so, so sorry for your loss. you know i'm here for you if you need me for anything.

    <3 <3

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  11. (((hugs)))

    I am so so sorry for your loss :(
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. It sounds like the world has lost an amazing person, as well as you a father.
    My thoughts are with you.

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  12. so sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost mine 8 years ago just as I was about to turn 30. Losing a Dad is like losing your compass in life. You become unsure of which direction to go. It took me about 2 years to quit picking up the phone to call him everyday like I had done for years prior. If you need a shoulder, I am here...my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss. I was crying as I read this. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that we haven't met in person, but I do feel as if I know you from reading your blog. Hang in there and lean on your mom, brother, and husband. It sounds like you have a very huge support base to help you get through this time. ((((hugs)))

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  14. I am extremely sorry for you loss. I pray that the hurt and pain that your family is experiencing is eased.

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  15. I am so sorry for your loss. I am keeping your whole family in my thoughts.

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  16. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending lots of prayers to you and your family.

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  17. I am so sorry for your loss [hugs]. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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  18. I'm so sorry for your loss K. :( Your family is in my thoughts.

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  19. No words can really express our sorrow for your family and your community for the loss of this generous man. It says volumes by the sheer numbers who came. I'm sure he had a friend for every tear shed. He will obviously be missed.

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  20. When I wrote on my blog last night that I have been absent from so many people's blogs, my reason seems so bleak compared to yours right now. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot begin to imagine the loss I will feel when my dad passes away one day!My prayers are with you!!!

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  21. I can't imagine how you must feel, and I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

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  22. I'm so sorry for you and your family. We'll be here... you take all the time you need.

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  23. I'm so sorry for your loss. You and yours are in my thoughts.

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  24. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. It sounds like he was a wonderful person and I'm deeply sorry for your loss. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts through this difficult time.

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  25. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. He sounds like a wonderful person and you are so blessed to have had him in your life. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I noticed you were missing but I was hoping it was for a vacation, not something so sad as this. May you find peace and healing.

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  26. I am so, so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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  27. Having been through the sudden loss of my dad 16 years ago, I understand how you feel. I will be thinking of you and keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Take care!

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  28. Your dad sounds like he was such an amazing person, just like his daughter.
    ((((hugs)))) and love.

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  29. I only read a bit before I had to get a hankie..My thoughts and prayers are with you, ThatMom, ThatBrother and all of the Thats in your life. You have a gift in your beautiful writing and I am touched as this is the anniversary of my mother's passing. I pray you find peace. (Lindsay's mom)

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  30. I am so, so sorry to hear this about your father. He sounds like a really amazing person, and I really can't imagine what you and your family are going through right now, especially because it was so sudden. I missed your blog but I was hoping you were on vacation or something. :( I'm thinking of you and your family.

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  31. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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  32. I am so, so, so sorry. My heart is just breaking for you. Take all the time you need and we will be here ready when you return.
    If you need anything at all, please just let us know.

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  33. I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers go out to you and your family.

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  34. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad! I found your blog a couple of months ago and have been a dedicated reader. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you LOTS of hugs!!

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  35. I am so very sorry for your loss. I felt your day at the hospital (we all go through it) and the subsequent emotions of this entirely numbing experience. I'm sure you're in shiva right now and I only wish I could be there to traditionally help and provide a meal for the mourners.
    Yis gadal, v'yis gadash

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  36. I am so extremely sorry for your loss! I just can't even imagine! My heart goes out to your family! Thoughts and prayers being sent your way!

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  37. I am so sorry, so very, very sorry for this loss to your family. And I apologize that it has taken me this long to get over here.

    Your father looks like an amazing man full of life and charisma. I understand your pain, as both of my parents have passed. Know that you are cared for and supported by many of your readers, me among them! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  38. Oh Kate, I'm so sorry. What a terrible and sudden loss. My heart broke when I read this late this week. Sending my love and hugs from the east coast.

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  39. I am so sorry to hear this and that I am delayed in reading your post and sending you my condolescences. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  40. I am so very sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. I lost my own father in 2005 and know that no words can describe how you feel. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

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  41. Just catching up on all the blogs in my Reader and came upon your post. As with others, it brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful man - your family is in my thoughts. So sorry for your loss.

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  42. I am just catching up and have to say I am so sorry to hear about your father.

    My dad just turned 60 and has had some heart work done too... I immediately imagined getting 'the call' when I read this.

    I don't know much about your beliefs, (Really, how much about faith can you shove into a food blog?) but I want you to know that I believe there is a loving God who can turn your tears to joy and your mourning into dancing. (Psalms 30)

    As so many people I know and love lose their children, we mourn, but praise the Lord that these babies are in a place where there is no more pain, there are no more tears, and their bodies are whole again. Your father is in that same place, whole and happy.

    I hope you don't mind my comments. Your blog really touched me this morning and I had to share.

    Praying for your family,
    mykidsmomx4

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  43. i have no words for you. i thought i'd be able to come up with something to say here that would tell you how sad i am for you. but there aren't words. i guess i thought that since i've been through something pretty similar, not so long ago, i'd be able to say something. but i can't come up with anything.

    i guess that's because there just aren't words for what you're going through now, and what you'll continue to go through in the weeks and months and years ahead. all i guess i can say is that i'm thinking of you and take your time. the healing from the loss of a parent does not come quickly. i wish i could say you'll feel better in a few months. but it just doesn't work that way. email me if you want to unload or vent or anything at all. i'd be more than happy to be a sounding board for whatever you're feeling. i've been there and it's so much more painful than anyone could ever imagine.
    kiggles1208@yahoo.com

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  44. I am so sorry for your loss. My father died of a heart attack when he was 49. It has been many years yet your story brings up many emotions.

    May you find peace and comfort, pride and joy, that Thatdad was your father. And how fortunate you are to have had him in your life for all these years, and that he lives on in you.

    May his memory be for a blessing.
    Lori Lynn

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  45. Oh dear. I am so so sorry Kate. I just now found out. I cannot imagine. My parents are such a large part of my life. You have my thoughts and I wish I had sent them sooner.

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  46. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your your family.

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  47. Hey, I only just read this - I'm so so so sorry to hear. Praying for you and the family

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  48. Oh Kate... I am so so sorry. I haven't been commenting much lately, but I still read every post and I can't tell you how sorry I am. My heart goes out to you.

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  49. Dear Kate I only just read your post and am so very sorry about the loss of your father. what a lovely man he sounded, your post brought tears to my eyes. sending lots of love and prayers. take care sweetie

    Dellene B xxxxoooo

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  50. I am so sorry for your loss and so sorry I'm tardy on my condolences. I've not been keeping up with blogs the last few months obviously. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family still.

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