My Dad Died on Black Friday – but NOT from Covid

My Dad Died on Black Friday – but NOT from Covid

We did not send out an issue of WritersWeekly last week. I just wasn’t up to it. That’s only the third time we’ve skipped an issue in the past 20+ years. I’m sorry.

Two weeks ago, as I sat here writing my article, my dad was lying in a hospital bed in Texas. He’d had a stroke, was mostly unresponsive, and not expected to survive. I’d talked to my dad the Saturday prior and I learned of his stroke the following Monday. He was apparently talking one minute, and paralyzed the next. As the paramedics rolled him out, the last thing he said to Peggy, his soulmate of 15 years was, “I love you.” And, those were the last words he would ever speak.

At the hospital, they determined he could not breathe or swallow on his own. The decision was made to put him on a ventilator for three to five days to see if he would improve.

I sat here writing and working on that Wednesday. I didn’t mention it to any of you because, well, I honestly think I was disassociating. It didn’t seem real so, in my mind, it wasn’t. After our Managing Editor, Brian, and I finished the issue of WritersWeekly, and sent it out, I turned to him, and said, “Do you think there’s something wrong with me? I don’t feel…ANYTHING.”

He responded, “However someone responds to grief is the right response for them.” He lost his dad seven years ago after a long illness and he knew what I was experiencing.

The next day, Thanksgiving prep, cooking, and dinner came and went. That night, I just happened to be alone in the townhouse for a half hour (family was here, there, and everywhere) and I received a text from Peggy, telling me there was more bleeding on his brain and that we “had to let him go.”

And, that’s when I lost it. I don’t remember EVER crying like that. I was wailing and, frankly, relieved that nobody was in the house with me at the time. I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t call the cops.

About 20 minutes later, I grabbed a roll of toilet paper, and used a good bit of it on my eyes and nose. I stood up, left all the used wads on the sofa, and opened up a box of Christmas decorations. I went to work hanging this, that, and the other, busying myself because busy means you don’t have to think.

Brian arrived, saw the mounds of toilet paper on the sofa, and asked, “Um, having some sinus issues???” And, then I started crying again (but no wailing and body-wracking sobs that time). I HATE crying and I very rarely do it. I can’t share the reason why here. I’m sorry.

I talked to my younger brother that evening, and asked him if there was any way I could talk to my dad before they pulled the plug. Despite being on a ventilator (something my dad never wanted done to him), the doctors said he could still hear us (I’m not sure if that was true or not). My younger brother is a pastor in Texas and he said he’d make it happen. He was permitted in the hospital room because he was helping to make end of life decisions with Peggy. They were going to unplug my dad on Friday. I think they were waiting until after Thanksgiving so that our family wouldn’t associate every future Thanksgiving with my dad’s passing. But, now we’ll associate Black Friday with it. I detest Black Friday so that’s okay.

I spent all day Friday on my laptop, tearing up a bit at times, but really trying not to think about that phone call that was coming. And, it came at 4:13 p.m. I could hear my brother telling my dad I was on the phone, and he held it up to his ear. I was bawling and I hoped my dad would be able to understand me.

I told my dad that I loved him, and that he was always a good dad to me. Even though I wasn’t his biological daughter (he adopted me and my older brother when we were 5 and 6 after our dad died), he never, ever treated me like I wasn’t his. He spoiled me rotten growing up. I don’t remember him ever spanking me (though I was grounded QUITE a bit!). He taught me how to play pinochle, backgammon, and poker (ha ha). We would watch football together. We attended church as a family (I took comfort in that in the end, knowing he was a Christian). He attended my school functions, loved that I was on the golf team, gave me my first job at his real estate company, and had numerous friends in the community.

My dad wasn’t a saint by any stretch (oh, the stories I could tell!!) but he was always there for me and he always made sure I was taken care of. While some family members were not supportive of me over the years (that’s another subject I won’t go into here), he always remained steadfastly so. In my adult years, he never judged me, and would only give advice when asked. He didn’t gossip about other family members. He simply listened to us. If you told him something private, it would remain that way. He was extremely proud of me as a mother, and as a successful business owner. The entrepreneurial apple did not fall far from the family tree! He LOVED hearing about the new books we were publishing at BookLocker and, over the years, to his delight, I mailed him some of the history and political books we published – his favorite subjects!

For the last 15 years, his health was failing in a variety of ways and, every single time I talked to him on the phone, I wondered if it was the last time. Last Saturday, I was right.

I continued, telling my dad that I’d miss talking to him and that I’d see him “soon…but not TOO SOON because I plan on hanging out down here for another 20 or 30 years!” I know he chuckled inside at that. I said that Justin, Peggy, and I would keep checking in with each other and that he didn’t need to worry about us.

And, then I told him it was okay to go, said I loved him one final time, and hung up.

He died at 4:19 p.m. My brother reported his passing was peaceful. There is no funeral planned, and may never be one because of Covid, but he was blessed during his passing and he’s no longer in that body so no funeral is okay with me. I know that Jesus is happy that my dad attended church with his children, giving them the chance for salvation as well.

During my last conversation with my dad, he was extremely lucid. I could understand everything he said. He sounded better than he had in years! One of the last things he said to me was that he wanted to “fly to Florida to see all of us.” I thought that was an odd thing to say because he could barely walk in the end, fell frequently, couldn’t sleep, had tons of doctor appointments, and was on numerous medications. Knowing it would never happen, I responded with, “Oh, okay! That would be great!”

Little did I know that, just six days later, my dad’s spirit would leave his body, and that he’d be able to fly to Florida to check on us whenever he wants. 🙂

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Angela Hoy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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23 Responses to "My Dad Died on Black Friday – but NOT from Covid"

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  3. Dawn Colclasure  December 27, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Angela, I can’t keep up with all my emails, but I did notice no newsletter that week. I understand why. I am just now reading this and I am so very sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your loved ones. I enjoyed reading your tribute to your dad and it sounds like you were blessed to have such an amazing dad in your life. My thoughts are with you.

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  5. Ethel Geary  December 14, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Your dad has crossed over to a lovely place. He will touch base with you from time to time. Watch for the signs. It does not always come in words.Talk to him when in a quandry. The difficult part is not bring there at his side. I still wonder why i wasn’t for the passing of Mom, Dad and oldest son. I have tapes of Dad’s memoirs. Took 5 Yrs to listen and not sob. Blessings to you.

  6. Cheryl Pickett  December 13, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Angela, I am so sorry to read about your Dad. God’s peace to you as you mourn, and I also celebrate with you the joy of his faith and that he is now home with the Lord. May the good memories also help bring you comfort in the weeks and months ahead.

  7. Wendy Jones  December 12, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Angela,

    A very loving tribute to your father.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Wendy

  8. Kathleen  December 12, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Oh my Angela – it’s so beautiful that you could use your strength (writing) to honor your dad and expose your grief while also maintaining your own personal boundaries. Please accept my condolences.

  9. JENNIFER BROWN-BANKS  December 12, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Dear Angela,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Having lost my mom earlier, I know how difficult this period of time can be.

    God bless.
    JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

  10. Tatia  December 11, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. Please accept my sincere condolences. Angela, I am praying for you and your family…

  11. Pamela Allegretto  December 11, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Oh Angela I am so, so sorry. I had a strong feeling that something not good was happening in your life when there wasn’t a weekly newsletter last week. And then again earlier today. I’m sorry that my hunch was right. I understand the deep sorrow of losing a father, and you have lost 2. Your father sounds like an amazing man who, I believe, is still only a whisper away. Losing a parent at holiday time is especially significant. Please know that I send you a huge hug and my deepest condolences.

  12. Rita Kueber  December 11, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    So sorry for you and your family. He will always be with you. Hang in there.

    Rita

  13. Vince Clews  December 11, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Angela,’m so sorry about the passing of your father. Isn’t it good to have the reassurance that he “is with Abraham, Issac and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven…”
    I was just a bit older than you when my father died. It broke my heart. I hated thinking about him because of the pain his loss caused me. Here is the good news. Over time, the memories of him have changed from grief of his passing to gladness for what I had. Time does not heal pain, but it smoothers it in the joy that he was with me here and that I will be with him again for eternity. Amen?

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  December 12, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      AMEN!!!! 🙂

  14. Johnny Townsend  December 11, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    I’m so sorry, Angela. Thanks for sharing this sweet, painful account.

  15. Chris Norbury  December 11, 2020 at 10:24 am

    My condolences on your father’s passing, Angela. Thank you for sharing that sad but also heartwarming story.

  16. william adams, pe, phd  December 11, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Our most heartfelt and deepest sympathies for you at this time.
    We have lost people close to us and understand the reaction that causes to the survivors.

  17. Werner Meyer  December 11, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Oh, Angela, I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful story. You and your family have my deepest condolences.

    Regards,
    Werner
    Your Former Neighbor from New Hampshire

  18. Erika Wright  December 11, 2020 at 8:41 am

    I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences. I lost my dad 20 years ago…unbelievable to me that its been that long. It seems like yesterday. I kept a pair of his eyeglasses and one of his ever present white handkerchiefs. He is always a part of our lives. Your dad will be with you too. ❤️

  19. El McMeen  December 11, 2020 at 3:51 am

    Thanks so much for sharing about your dad, with such an honest and beautiful tribute. So glad he knows the Lord.

    El McMeen

  20. Cheryl Tuskes  December 10, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    So sorry for your loss Angela. Brian’s right. There is no wrong way to grieve.

  21. Linda G  December 10, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Angela,

    My condolences and be assured that your reactions are absolutely normal. Completely.

    Yes he is part of the great host of witnesses and can see and hear you (but don’t expect an audible answer). He can pray for you.

    Take care of yourself and let the memories roll.

    Hugs.

  22. Sarah Bates  December 10, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Angela,

    Lovely poignant story about your dad. Please accept my condolences. I lost my dad in a similar way. We always know it will happen, but are never prepared. Never.

    Thank you for sharing this intimate experience.

    Sarah