...was a sad day. It was the day my father passed away.
I remember the day so vividly, like it was just yesterday. He had been in and out of hospitals a lot during his last years. This time, he had been a patient for about a week. In the beginning, he was talking about how he would make my niece, Amanda, jambalaya when he got home. And he was cracking jokes with the nurses, like always, about how he never bought green bananas anymore (because he didn't think he'd be around long enough to eat them). My sister and her husband snuck in a quarter pounder with cheese in for him to eat while he watched the super bowl.
Then, as the week went on, I had a bad feeling. I knew he was really sick. The family had a meeting with one of his doctors who showed us an x-ray of his chest. It was nearly full of liquid and his heart was so big. He told us that he was a very sick man. That was the first time I realized, he might not come home this time.
They tried dialysis, and at first it looked promising. But it didn't help. By the end of the week, he was wearing a big mask that covered his entire face, forcing air into him because he struggled so hard to breathe. My parents' pastor came in and gave us all communion and we prayed for him by his hospital bed. After that, his blood pressure was on a steady decline. Mom says she thinks that he heard us pray that night and finally decided that it was OK to go back home to God.
Amanda and I and my two girls went back to my parents' apartment, just a few blocks from the hospital to try and get some sleep. The phone rang really early the next morning and I just knew it wasn't going to be good. Jeff said that we better come to the hospital because he was fading fast.
We got there in a flash. It didn't take long. With everyone by his side, holding his hands, stroking his skin and saying our goodbyes....he left us.
When I walked out of the hospital that morning, there was the most enormous and most beautiful sun dog I had ever seen. And whenever I see a sun dog I remember that day, and I think how wonderful it must be for my father to be in heaven where he can finally breathe easy.
I love you dad and miss you every day. You would have loved my husband and my daughter you never got a chance to meet. I think you would be very happy if you saw my life today. Eden was exactly 4 months old the day you died. One of your last days on earth, we put baby Eden in your arms. We didn't think you would notice, but your thumb was gently stroking her foot. What a tender moment that was. I'll never forget it. I'll never forget you. Despite your tough exterior, you were a kind and giving man. One who would do anything for his family. You were strong and smart, sometimes intimidating. But you loved us, and we loved you.
RIP - James T. Olson 1927-2003