July 4

You lured us into a false sense of security. Your numbers were great last night, and in a sense, we had a celebratory mood as grandma, grandpa, aunt cindy, Leland, and I wandered down Old Town Square late last night. Peeking through shop windows and drooling over one of a kind stores, we were happy. As we ate, we laughed, and talked about things we could do in town this week – it looked like we wouldn’t have to worry as much about you anymore. We went and said goodnight to you, and the nurse said things looked great.

Grandpa woke Leland and I up at five this morning and told us we needed to come to the hospital right away. Your blood pressure was low, and they couldn’t give you any more medicine. It was up to you now. We all crowded around your hospital bed, and I could barely leave your side.

[I just listened to an old voice mail message that you left me. I love you so much.]

For a couple hours you held steady – low temperature, low blood pressure, and a low heart rate. Bad news all around. Leland and I took turns holding each other, and holding Lois – she was so strong for you. She never left your side for more than a little while. All at once, your heart rate started to drop point by point by point… and then it was at 0. They had decided not to try to do CPR on you – the nurses said it would basically just torture you anyway. Leland and I heaved and cried with each other, and so did everyone else. Last night you were fine. At 7:30 this morning, your body gave up.

I can’t believe I’m among the fatherless. We’re so young, Dad. I was waiting for you to call me back, but you didn’t. I was waiting for you to teach me to surf board, but you haven’t. I was going to come visit you again this fall, but I can’t. You didn’t call me when you went into the hospital, and I never got to have a last conversation with you. I don’t know how I will survive without my advocate. Lois said you were her best friend, which I know was true. I never saw you happier (besides with me and Leland) than you were with her. But you were my best friend too, for my whole life. This is the worst thing I’ve ever felt.

I know you are in heaven now and you are happy, but it only kind of makes it easier to deal with the fact that I won’t see you again for years (most likely). We have a hemp necklace on Darla, which I know you would enjoy. See, the thing is, you enjoyed life! You had an infectious laugh and I could tell you ANYTHING and you would listen and take care of me. We shared everything – allergies, humor, weird quirks (obsessions with our birthdates, “jumping” from line to line on the roads) and adventuresome spirits. I really don’t know anyone else who understands me in quite the same way you did. I could call you whenever I needed anything – especially someone to cheer me up. I am so glad you approve of Steven, but you won’t be at my wedding and you won’t meet my children. Life without you means a part of me is dead.

I did a lot of thinking about where to put my…hope…this week. Nurses, and a few doctors? I guess. A fortune cookie from HuHot told me that gathering with friends would bring me good luck tonight. It didn’t. I found a four leaf clover – more luck? No. Lois told me to say the Lord’s prayer – this gave me peace, but I just don’t know if it gave me hope for your recovery. One moment you were not good, the next you were only stable. Only time would tell.

Then, there were the prayers – from all over the country. From strangers and from best friends, family members and people I haven’t seen in a long time. From my mom, from Steven, from my grandparents, brother, roommates… from me… Were these answered? I asked for healing – I didn’t get it.

But the thing is, God answered some prayers that none of us really foresaw – see Dad, you ended up in one of the best hospitals in the country, only because your boss’s wife asked you to take her Saab to the dealership in Fort Collins. Coincidence…? The doctors thought you should have died lots of times, all before Leland and I would have gotten to see you. Especially when you spent the day alone in the hotel thinking you had food poisoning. Instead, we got to spend four days with you, telling you we loved you and you smiling back at us. God knows, I needed to see your beautiful eyes, and I did.

[Right now we are driving past Fort Cody. I will never be able to enjoy historical places as much anymore without being able to share them with you.]

…God knows you would have HATED having to deal with cancer, HATED the dialysis you would have had to be on for a year, and HATED the complications of your surgery. You wouldn’t have been able to climb your mountains, visit Custer’s sites, explore the country, or even really spend much time away from home. You would have hated life, and you are one of the biggest lovers of life I have ever met. You have a zeal for sharing beautiful scenery, amazing history, and seconds that cannot be replicated without your help. No, we wanted you to stay, but even I was worried that you would be a changed, hateful person if you were forced to live the life the doctors were prescribing. So, God answered a prayer that we didn’t even pray – to do what would be the best alternative for YOU. I guess in that I am so very thankful.

It is hard to remember every few minutes that life goes on without you. It makes me want to vomit my heart out. This is worse than any heart break I have ever experienced, and I hope I never experience it again (although life isn’t like that). I guess I just never expected to experience it so suddenly, or so soon.

You were born on a holiday, and so was I. You left this world on a holiday. You show off. You party animal. Your love for life was proven in death. I love you so much and I don’t want to say goodbye. But even the sharp, painful memory of you flat lining brings me back from a fantasy where this is just a dream. I love you and I don’t get to tell you anymore. I love you daddy. I love you, Podpot.