The Day the World Lost a Great Man

March 19, 2012
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There's a tap on my shoulder at 4:30 a.m. It is unexpectedly early in the morning. Only an hour until I should be waking up for school and I wonder what is happening. Mother says to get dressed and that they got the call. I know what it's about.

I brush my teeth and put on the closest clothes I can find. The car ride is dead quiet except for the Christmas music playing softly in the background trying to decrease the stiffness in the air. The car is filled with pain and sadness.

We rush into the hospital room and his temperature is abnormally high, higher than it was when we left the night before. The doctor explains the process to us. His heart rate will slowly decrease along with his breathing. The machine will sound but he will turn it off when it does. He leaves the room so we can have some privacy.

Everyone is there except Paige who is on her way with Uncle Ashley: Aunt Susie in her Hampton sweats, Uncle Butch who is cleanly shaved after going home for rest from the many nights at the hospital, mother with my jeans on because she couldn't waste time finding her own, Nunny with her "scary hair", and him, laying in the hospital bed, the strongest man I knew now looking so pale and sad with tubes coming from his mouth that are connected to the ventilator and making him breathe.

We call Paige so she can say goodbye because we all know she will not make it in on time. His heart rate suddenly increases and I know it's the end, I saw this with Grandpa Register too. Then it drops and the machine sounds. The kind nurse turns it off. His blood pressure drops and we know he's gone.

The time of death is called: 5:05 A.M.

Tears are shed, hugs are given, and sobs are heard. I think of the man I once knew, the man that read me stories about ducks and chased me around the house while I was in my walker, the man who fought in the Vietnam war and wasn't afraid to be the life of the party, the man that always loved me, the man with the biggest heart of gold, my hero, my father figure, my pappy.





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