I stood there, stunned, and unable to move. My dad’s lifeless body now lay on the floor in front of me as my mother tried to revive him. She was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator at this point as they walked her through the steps on how to give someone CPR. As she continued chest compression's, my sister and I just stood there, completely numb to the event unfolding before our eyes. I felt as if I was in a nightmare that I couldn’t get out of. I looked down at my dad’s cold, pale face, and knew that this was not going to end with us being one little happy family.
Finally, paramedics, a fire truck, and a few police officers rushed into the house. To be honest with you, this whole night was a complete blur. I have read that when your body goes into fight or flight mode, your brain blocks out what is much too scary for you to encounter. I remember the paramedics running in, and my mother telling us to run upstairs to our rooms. My sister knelt by her windowsill, folded her hands, and began to pray. She had tears streaming down her face, but continued to pray.
I ran into my room and sat on my bed, completely numb to what was going on. I remember tucking my knees into my chest on my bed, and just hoping that this was all a terrible nightmare that I would wake up from.
I snuck out of my room to see my pregnant mother sitting in our dining room, with her hands in her face, crying. A police officer was telling her something in hushed words. I knew that this was not going to be good. I ran back into my room, and hugged a pillow for comfort. I needed to be able to hug something, because at that very moment, my insides felt empty. I was uncontrollably shaking and my mind was going a million miles a minute.
Finally, after much anticipation, a police officer came upstairs and called my sister into my room. As my sister and I sat side by side on my bed in my dark bedroom, the police officer began to talk.
“Girls, we did everything we could, but your daddy has passed away.”
How could this be? My dad was just talking to my sister and I that morning? What did she mean that he had passed away?! As I tried to process what this stranger had just informed me, she continued to talk. I do not remember anything she shared with me before or after that one sentence, because the rest of it was irrelevant. The only thing I could continue to think about were those words. That one sentence had just completely altered my perfect little family.
The rest of the night went quickly. We were shuffled out of the house as my grandparents came to pick us up. That night, we stayed at their house and slept in my grandma’s bed with her. I could not sleep the entire night. I vividly remember playing the night over and over again in my head. It was like a movie playing on repeat, and there was no way for me to stop it. My body continued to uncontrollably shake. I could not wrap my head around the fact that I would never get to call someone “dad” again. Nor could I think about the fact that my mother would have to raise us as a single parent. From that day on, I would be known as the girl that had lost her father to a heart attack at the age of 39.