Members orphan42 Posted March 30, 2012 Members Report Share Posted March 30, 2012 February 11, 2012 was my daughter's birthday. It was also the day my parents were to travel 5 hours across the state of Florida to come visit for two weeks, as they did every year around their grandchildren's birthdays. (My son's birthday was just a few days later on February 14, 2012.) So the day started out great, everyone was happy, and my parents had started their journey around 9am. About midway through their drive, my father who had been driving for the first 3 hours handed off the wheel to my mother. Shortly after the switch, my sister, who was in New York where they lived year round, had actually spoke to my father who was now resting in the passenger seat. He told my sister that his shoulder was hurting so he was going to rest for a bit while my mom drove. This was around 11:45am they spoke. Fast forward a few hours to 2pm. This is the time I was expecting my parents but figuring maybe they stopped along the way or hit traffic, I wasn't thinking much. When 3pm rolled around I decided to give my parents a call on their cell phone. First I tried my dad, and then my mom. No response. Perhaps they were in a dead zone and their cells weren't working. 3:30pm comes and they don't show up. Starting to get worried, I call again. Again, no response from either phone, only voicemail. 4pm comes and now my stomach is turning. This is not like my parents to just not show up without calling. They were excited to come and they knew we were having a birthday dinner, so there was no way they would be this late on purpose. 4:15pm comes and my wife has to leave for the airport to pickup another relative. She takes our daughter who is still on cloud 9 about her birthday, but leaves our almost 4 year old son behind. I was trying to keep my son busy and my mind occupied, but I had also started looking online for numbers to call the Florida Highway Patrol. Something was not right and I knew it. I mapped their trip on Google and then figured out where they might have been when my sister spoke with them last at 11:45am. I was about to pick up the phone just after 5pm when the phone rang. I saw the callerID said Florida Highway Patrol and immediately knew something tragic had happened. The trooper told me my parents had been in a fatal car accident. My mother died at the scene and my father had been taken to the hospital by helicopter in very critical condition. As my son was right next to me at the time I just dropped to the ground. I was shocked and speechless. My son only wanting to play and looking out the window for Grandma and Grandpa's car, I could not even begin to explain what was going on. I texted my wife and asked her how long it was going to be before she got home. It was a long 40 minutes before she walked through the door with her grandmother. I immediately took her in the bedroom and told her what happened. We both cried for about 10 minutes and then I stood up and said I need to get to the hospital which was about 60 miles way. I needed to see what condition my father was in. So I got in the car and made my way 65 miles south to the hospital. Along the way calling my sister, the friend they had just visited on the other site of the state, and several other close family and friends. The hour of driving to the hospital not knowing if my father was going to make it was excruciating. When I got there around 9pm I was told he had just gotten out of surgery. He had broken the entire left side of his body in the car crash. But those were all bones that could heal. His major problem was brain trauma. When I finally saw him he was in a coma on a ventilator and he had a feeding tube. For the next 11 days he showed absolutely no signs of improvement and we were told that by 2 weeks he would need to have his ventilator removed and have a procedure known as a trach/peg, where they insert the breathing tube through the neck and the feeding tube through the belly. This is in preparation for shipping the patient off to the nursing home of your choice for long term care. We were told he had next to zero percent chance of being anything more than in a vegetative state. As my father had an advanced health directive and a DNR, we pulled him off life support (an extremely emotional and difficult decision no one should have to make ever). The doctors removed the breathing tube and feeding tubes and my father was moved into hospice care.Unlike the movies, people don't just die when they're taken off life support. In my dad's case, he went another 8 days, breathing on his own for that period, as his body slowly started shutting down. The most difficult thing a person can see and watch is to see a loved one as their life ends. Not to mention, this whole time, now 18 days after my mom died, I never had time to process that she actually died.So within 3 weeks I'm an adult orphan. The wisdom of my parents, the only people who knew everything about my early days are gone. The only people I could trust and turn to whenever anything happened are gone. The only people I could rely on 100% of the time, 24/7 are gone....and in such a tragic, violent, abrupt manner. As if none of what I've said is bad enough, as it's not typical that both of your parents die at basically the same time, and in a tragic car accident, the legal mess that has already begun makes everything that has already happened even more painful. Most of all I wonder why. Why did this happen the way it did? Why did it happen when it did? Another few seconds and they would've have driven 70mph directly into a tree. If my dad wasn't sleeping he would've panicked and tried to grab the wheel. If my mother wasn't slumped over or didn't have a medical emergency (now confirmed by autopsy), she would've swerved. But rather they drove on a straight line into the only tree around. This just an hour or two before the birthday dinner of their grandchildren they were so happy to be coming to see. So there are a lot of questions I have that repeat themselves in my head over and over and over. And being thrust into legal claims and probate issues is certainly not fun when I'm still trying to process and come to terms with what has happened.The only thing since my parent's deaths that has given me some sort of comfort is what happened the other day to me. Alone in a park w/ my dogs, I looked up in the sky. There were a bunch of clouds scattered about, but with a gust of wind, the clouds started moving and converging over me. Within seconds a feeling of warmth and laughter came over me. I looked up and was staring at a cloud that appeared to be a face, and a face that appeared to be that of my father. I instantly started giggling and talking to this face cloud as if it was my father. I thanked him for letting me know he was OK and for looking over me. For about 10 minutes this cloud stayed overhead as I experienced just a level of comfort throughout my whole body. I recall smiling the whole time until someone else showed up. And as that person showed up the clouds (and face) started to dissipate. After, I showed the photos I took of the cloud face to my wife, kids, friends and so on. Every single one of them agreed they saw a face. As to whether or not it was my father, I can only believe it was him telling me that my parents are OK. I've attached the photo so you can judge for yourself what I saw...but since I've at least accepted the fact that they're gone and they're in peace. That doesn't change the fact that every day there are triggers that cause me to grieve over and over, but I guess in time that gets better. Not really sure when it will get better. Sometimes I think it's better they both basically went together, because at 70 years old, having been married 46 years to each other, could they have survived apart? Is that why when my mom died, my dad went with her? even if 3 weeks later? Lots of questions......which I mostly think about while I'm not sleeping.Would love to hear from other adult orphans or people who have recently lost a parent and have any thoughts, tips, advice on how to better cope and grieve. Seems like there is always something to set me off whether it's a restaurant they liked that I pass by, or hearing a song they liked, or just watching my kids knowing they'll never see grandma and grandpa again.(Some rant, huh? Helps to talk about it!) Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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