This I Believe

Krystal - miami, Florida
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I believe…

At age 18, we don’t worry about much because we believe we have all the time in the world, what could happen to us, we are young and full of life. We don’t take advantage of the little and precious moments that go by, because we are young and have the rest of our lives to do whatever we want, but what if that wasn’t true and life was snatched right from under us. What would you take with you? All we have in this world are the little and precious moments that pass by without notice. I like many others my age didn’t take advantage of those little and precious moments, and let then slip away.

My dad was born with a genetic disorder that left him with only two bicuspid valves in his heart instead of a bicuspid valve and a tricuspid valve, which caused his heart to work harder to pump blood to the rest of his body. Along with this disorder he also had heart palpitations and a murmur which meant he did not have a heart of a 45 year old man but one of a 75 year old. We did not find out about his condition until 5 years before when my mom heard his heart beating irregularly. October 5, 2005 he was admitted at Mercy Hospital after having a minor heart attack. The doctors then decided that he had to undergo open heart surgery. My dad said “that it wasn’t going to be anything to big so don’t worry, he was going to be alright.” I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that this could happen to me, I thought my dad was invincible, that this could never happen to my family. That’s what I kept telling myself during that entire week, that everything was going to be alright. The day of the IB pinning ceremony, I chose to come to the school instead of being with him at the hospital because that is what he wanted me to do. The next day I wore my IB shirt to the hospital and I brought him the flower that they had given us. He just smiled and hugged me, I felt angry with myself because I should have been there with him even for a little while. They transferred him to Baptist Hospital; I never got to say good bye to him after that day because I did not wake up on time and his surgery was that morning. I regret staying up late that night because that was the last time I could have spoken to him before his surgery, but I brushed it off because he was going to be fine and I was going to speak to him again.

After about 6 hours of surgery the doctor came out with the worst look that a person could have after doing surgery on your dad. He said that they had found puss and calcium buildup and that they had to remove a golf ball size from his heart. Once I heard those words my heart sank and I had the worst feeling in the world. Who can live with a chunk of there heart missing? They put him in the ICU and we were only allowed to go in during a certain time period, so we had to go home, but I didn’t want to leave just in case something happened overnight. My mom said we had to go home because there was nothing we could do for him here. When I thought nothing could get any worse, the hospital called and said there was internal bleeding, and that they had to open his heart again to stop the blood. We rushed to the hospital in hysteria, and I have no idea what was happening, until we got to the hospital in a matter of seconds. Then only about 5 hours later they said again that there was more internal bleeding and that they had to open him for a third time only this time they had to widen the cut. He remained stable and in a coma for a couple days, until one day he woke up for a couple of minutes while I was at school, but they immediately filled him with medicine to put him back to sleep. He only got worse after that, his organs began to fail and we tried everything we humanly could, to at least give him a little time, but that would be selfish because he was just in pain and was suffering tremendously. There was no ounce of hope that he would wake up and be himself again and we had to make the hardest decision we ever had to make, and that was to turn off the machines that were allowing him to live. On October 12, 2005, my father passed away at the age of 45.

I was in complete denial about the entire situation, even as I watched his vital signs drop and my mom holding him in her arms as he faded away. I just couldn’t accept that my dad was gone forever and that I would never be able to see him, or speak to him or even hug him ever again. Everything was sort of surreal to me; I was in total shock and denial about everything. I was just praying to God that this was just some terrible dream that I was going to wake up from and he would walk right through the front door and hug me and tell me everything would be okay. It all became real when I had to go pick which casket to stick my dad in, and when I had to pick out the clothes he would wear because my mom couldn’t do it alone. It became real when I saw him in that casket all cold and lifeless begging him to wake up, when I had to sit through a ceremony to say farewell to my dad, when I saw these men place my dad in a hole where I could never see him again, when I could not show what I was actually feeling because of fear that I would make things worse for my mom, when I finally had to say goodbye to dad.

I wish I could go back in time and cherish the little and precious moment that I had with my dad. I wish I didn’t rush through family dinners just so that I could go on the internet to talk to my friends. I wish I would have stayed home on the weekends to spend it with my family instead of going of with my friends. I wish I would have told him I love him more. I wish I didn’t push my dad away when he would kiss me on the cheek because I was embarrassed. I wish I could bring him one more glass of water, or make him one more lunch. I wish I could have at least 5 more minutes just to tell him how much he means to me. I would give up everything I own just to have my dad back in my life, just to cherish the little and precious moments. So cherish every little moment you have with each other because you never know when it will be your last. This I believe.