My dad, George, has always been the hardest working person I know. I remember getting up every morning for school when I was a kid. My mom, Sue, would do everything she could to wake me up nicely: play music, talk softly, and turn on the bathroom heater for me so I wouldn’t be cold. She’d always end up practically dragging me out of bed because I just didn’t want to get up. I’ve never been a morning person. My dad was never there on those mornings.
He was already at work, leaving before the sun came up while I was still nestled snugly in my bed. I don’t ever remember him missing work for any reason. Ever. Snow, sleet, sunshine, sickness- nothing would keep him from working hard for his family.
My parents looked forward to their retirement years. They had always wanted to travel. When they got closer to retirement, their plan was to work a few more years, retire and see the world together. This was the “Plan A” they envisioned. They were only a few years away from this anticipated retirement plan and were really on the downhill slope when suddenly, in one single moment, everything changed. Our entire immediate family’s lives were irreparably altered.
I will never forget February 7, 2005. It was the morning after the Super Bowl. I was a little tired on the drive to work because my brother, Keith had hosted a family watch party the night before. Just as I arrived at work, my cell phone rang and it was Keith, who never called me in the mornings. He said they were taking dad to the hospital. He had passed out at work, had not regained consciousness, and they didn’t know what was wrong. Continue reading Going to Plan Z: When the Last Thing You Expect to Happen Happens