A Different Christmas Break

It was a different Christmas Break this year for me. The day after I flew home to Everett it started dumping snow, like really dumping snow. We ended up getting over 2 ft! Consequently, I ended up helping my dad on the paper route pretty much everyday. I didn't get to work nearly as much as I wanted to because we were totally snow bound. Washington driver's don't know what to do when it snows.

Then came the hardest part of the break. Tuesday morning of the 23rd at 1:30 am we received the phone call my dad has dreaded his entire life. Papa had gone into full cardiac arrest and Auntie was trying to give him CPR. In the following 24 hours Papa was taken to the Tooele hospital and then life-flighted to the trauma shock ward in Murray.

Everytime the phone rang our hearts would stop and we didn't want to push the talk button on the phone. We had Christmas that night of the 23rd. For a brief 60 minutes we forgot about the fear and pain that was 1,000 miles away. Things weren't looking good so my parents decided to fly out Christmas Eve day to be with Papa and Auntie. Spencer, Richard, EE, and I took them to the airport and watched our parents board a plane for Utah.

Christmas day was completely depressing. We got up at 4:00am to do the paper route, came back from the paper route, slept till noon, and then had brunch at Nana's. The rest of the day was kinda a blur.

On the 26th Papa hadn't improved. He had significant brain damage, a blood clot in his leg, and was on dialysis. Although it was a hard decision, Papa was removed from life support that afternoon and died within 15 minutes. The nurses said it was one of the more peaceful passings they had seen in a long time.

All of us kids flew out to Utah on Monday, the 29th. When we got to Tooele we went to Tate Mortuary for a private family viewing. It was then that I could finally cry. Papa looked so peaceful, like he was sleeping. I half expected him to get up and start talking to us. I stood next to his flag-draped coffin for a long time, patting his chest, thinking of all the good times I had had with him and all the times he was going to miss. Fittingly, after the viewing, we went to Papa's favorite place for dinner, The Dairy Delight...aka: the DD.

The funeral was the following day on Tuesday, the 30th. It was beautiful. I spoke, Uncle Bill spoke (my grandpa's brother), and my dad. I cried all the way through my talk. Bobbi Hutchins played an mededly of Papa's favorite songs: Misty, On a Clear Day, and Fly with Me.

Papa was in the Navy so he had a military burial, complete with a 21-gun salute. Members of the Tooele VFW conducted the ceremony. A special prayer was said and then the flag was presented to my dad. It was one of the more amazing events I have ever witnessed. My dad gave a beautiful dedicatory prayer. Then, my tears were tears of joy.

1 comment:

jjfid said...

It was hard to read this post and remember the chaotic few weeks we have experienced as a family. Thanks for taking time to record some of the details Rissy. I love you! Papa loves you too! xoxoxoxo Auntie