Before the Big 'One Oh'

Memories from Before I was Ten

My father passed away when I was nine. Before that, I remember him trying his best to keep up with my growing up and my mom doing her best to do the same but also take care of him. My life before ten contained a lot of hospital visits and my mom helping my father in and out of a wheelchair, walking up (or down) 2 flights of stairs to the third floor, and my mom doing a double trip to get that wheelchair up (or down) those same 2 flights of stairs.

One of my first (good) memories of my father was when I was running around in one of the fields of our local park and my father and mother were sitting down on a bench and he was feeding pigeons. I later learned they are basically rats with wings. However, I thought it was cool. My father was like a tree. He held out all his arms and birds would just perch on top of him. I thought it was super cool. I believe this was my first "recalled" memory from when I was a kid. I am also very sure I was around four years old.

One of my first (bad) memories of my father was when we were inside our railroad apartment and we started to smell smoke. My father was already very immobile so when my mom was scooping me up to get out of the apartment, all I heard my father say was, "Just let me die." Imagine a four year old hearing about that. I don't know if I actually knew what he meant since I was four but clearly it imprinted in my mind. It turns out, someone downstairs left water boiling with a pot that had a semi wooden handle; at least, that's the story I remember. It ended up being a false alarm.

After that, all I have are just flits of memory of him getting sicker and sicker and my getting more stressed and upset.

My final memories of my father were the constant hospital visits after school and my mom arguing with nurses and doctors and my mom threatening to sue for medical malpractice.

I am sure the third to last memory I have of my father was when he was still able to talk and he told me, "Don't worry, son. I will live until you're 19th birthday." The next day, the second to last memory was him with a tube down his throat and unable to talk anymore. I got to touch his soft hand one more time. I got to see his blue eyes one more time. I got to see him cry one more time. And then the call at around 1 AM later a few hours after we left and more of my mom arguing with doctors and nurses; He died. I heard the heavy phone drop in my sleep, heavy crying sounds and I wake up heavy eyelids with my vision blurred because the tears were already there. Goodbye dad. I love you.

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