Changing my life forever

April 7, 2009
My father, Gene, was diagnosed with emphysema around 1999. Emphysema is a disease caused by smoking. At first, my dad showed no symptoms of it, then again, I was only 4, and didn’t realize daddies could get sick. I always figured my dad would be there forever. He would still wrestle with us, and act normal, so it didn’t occur to me that some of the things we did together were limited.

Soon, the wrestling stopped, and my dad got sicker. Often, I would wake up, and come outside my room to find paramedics carrying my dad out on a stretcher to bring him to the hospital. Those paramedics were at my house often. Eventually, my dad had to get an air tank, which would have to be carried around EVERYWHERE he went.

Things didn’t get very bad until a couple months before he died. My dad hadn’t quit smoking, which the doctors had recommended. They had said he could live for 12 years, maybe more if he quit, but if he didn’t, they gave him about 3 to 6 years. Gene was on the lung transplant list, which gave him another shot at life, our family’s only hope of keeping him around for a long, long time.

It got horrible in June, 2003. My mom, sister and I went to Disney world, while my other sister stayed behind. My dad was in the hospital during our vacation, and the doctor had persuaded him into getting a trake. A trake is a hole in his throat, so he could breathe better. Unfortunately, this took my dad off the lung transplant list. MY mom knew that, and had refused, that was the whole reason the doctor had waited until my mom was away. The doctor told my dad it would make him better, and my dad believed him. I thought doctors were supposed to help my dad get better, not persuade him into something that would only hurt him.

I remember the day we got back from Florida; we went to visit my dad. He had what looked like a soda bottle cap twisted into his throat. He had a pad of paper, since he couldn’t talk, which he wrote down everything he had to say. My mom told me to tell him all that we did in Florida, so I spoke up, barley stopping to let anyone else talk. I told him about everything.

Soon enough, things got a whole lot worse. My dad was put on life support- which was a machine which did the breathing for him. He just looked so helpless; he couldn’t really get off the living room couch. He wasn’t able to go upstairs, and everyday, my mom or sister would have to change his trake. It was a sight I wish on no one. Especially an 8 year old who just wants her dad to be able to play ball, or run around with her.

Then, on July 21,2003, my dad, unplugged his life support, while he was home alone. He died that day. That day changed my life forever. Sometimes I feel like my dad was so selfish when he turned of the life support. He wasn’t thinking about 6 years down the road, he wasn’t thinking about how it would effect us. How much I would miss him. How I would cry for him every night. How everyone would move on, except me. He wasn’t thinking about me when he shut the life support down.

Everything happens for a reason, and I get that. I just don’t understand what this reason was. Why did god take away an 8-year olds father?

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