Just One More Day
by Jay Fadden
On Saturday, I had spoken to my father at 3pm about family, faith and the program This is the Day. On the prior Tuesday’s program, I had talked about what a gift it was to say goodbye to my mother as she approached death. My dad cried when he reminisced about what I said on the show. My mother had died 7 months earlier after suddenly getting sick. She was sick for 6 long, hard weeks. When she died, my family was in pain and my dad was devastated. They had been married for 57 years and were never apart. My mom was the only girl my dad ever dated.
At the end, my mom was in hospice and had been unconscious for two days. Near the end, my father leaned over my mom and said, "Give me a kiss babe." It was a sad moment watching a man so in love, in so much pain, ask for the impossible, except she did open her eyes and rose to kiss him. With tears in his eyes and a trembling voice, he then said, "I love you." We were shocked when for the first time in days, she spoke with a weak voice, "I love you too." She took her last breath 10 minutes later. One last gift of love from a wife to a husband.
After her death, my dad was doing his best to move on, but his wife was everything. No matter how much we involved him in our lives, there was an emptiness, a longing to be with her. My sisters and I loved every moment we were with him. He was always kind, faith filled and funny and sacrificed all for his family. He was the perfect dad. He worked two full time jobs so we would want for nothing. He would come home tired but always hugged us.
Yesterday, Sunday the 27th, I got a call from my sister that concerned me. No one could reach our dad at his home. We called a friend who lived nearby and he agreed to check on our father. Without knowing what was happening with my father, I got in my car and began to drive to his house, which was an hour and a half away. My sisters were doing the same. Halfway into my ride, my phone rang. A chill ran through my body. I was hoping for the best, but I knew better. My dad had been found dead. My sister gave me the news through sobs. I cried on the rest of the ride to his house. I called my wife Shirley and she told the kids who adored him. He treated all his grandchildren and great grandchildren as special, as if each were the only person alive.
When I got to his house, I was the first of his children to see him. He was still sitting peacefully in his chair. I believe he died peacefully in his sleep. I walked up to him, kissed him and told him I loved him and thanked him for being the father he was to all of us. I then bent over and cried. The only other time I had cried this hard was when my mom and sister died. In that moment, my only thought was that I wished I had one more day with him. Just one more hour. I would call him every day. Those calls are over. We would sit and talk. No more. I won't hear his laugh or have his support.
In 7 months, I have lost the two most influential, supportive and loving people in my life. My sisters feel the same sense of loss just as deeply. The cause of death is not scientific, but we know. My dad died of a broken heart, and now my sisters and I have the same malady. Tell people you love them, reach out to others. Life is a surprise and not always pleasant. Don't waste time, and love one another. Please say a prayer for my mom, dad and family and know I will remember you in my prayers. May my dad find peace in the loving embrace of my mom in heaven.