Every spring break my family and I go down to Long Beach Island for Easter.
Two years ago, my dad had to leave a couple of days before the rest of the family, because he had to go to work. On the day that my mother, my two sisters and I were going to leave, we got a call.
This call was from a hospital in my home state.
My mom talked on the phone for a very long time, but she had walked far enough away that we couldn't hear her. The three of us in the car were dead silent. My mom got back into the car. She said that daddy was sick.
I then spent a six hour car ride home wondering whether or not my father was alive. I listened to a Harry Potter audio book because it made me feel a bit calmer.
We got to the hospital, and after getting slightly lost and confused, found the building he was in. My mother went ahead and entered his room, while my sisters and I sat in a waiting room at the end of the hall. My older sister chatted amiably with a stranger, but I didn't talk at all. I didn't really listen either. I felt very ill.
Finally, after what seemed like three or four years, my mother walked into the waiting room and opened the door, gesturing towards it. I suddenly flashed many years back, when I was very little and my Grandmother died. All I remember was waking up and my dad gesturing to the couch where she had been laying the night before, except she was no longer there. It felt, very suddenly, like history repeating itself and as I walked closer and closer to where he lay very much alive, I couldn't shake the feeling that he was dead.
I entered his hospital room, and he looked exactly like how my great-grandmother looked the last time I ever saw her. Laying in a hospital bed, looking pale and sickly, hooked up to all kinds of machines. I started to tear up, but I wouldn't let myself cry because he was alive and I had to be strong. I told him this can't happen, because he has to be around to see his great grandchildren.
In April 2010, my father had a heart attack.
He explained how he was walking to a class he had to teach, but his heart was racing and his palms were sweating and he realized he was having a heart attack. He entered the building and told a coworker he needed an ambulance. Once in the ambulance he asked if they had aspirin, which is a blood thinner and would have helped him, and they didn't. They led him into surgery, and they made him sign some papers and he said are you freaking kidding me I'm dying and I have to sign a paper to let you save me? but while he said this he signed the goddamn papers and thank god they saved him.
They saved my daddy.