Every now and then something triggers memories and I obsess over them. This time it was probably a television show showing a “near death experience”.
My father had a heart attack in November 1975. He was in the hospital and he had another attack one day while I was visiting at the hospital. The scene was like something from a TV episode from a Grey’s Anatomy or ER. Nurses shuffled me out the door and I held my breath and banged the wall in the hall and sobbed uncontrollably.
Our family kept vigil the next three days when finally the doctors thought dad was out of the woods. His total time in the hospital was two weeks.
It was Sunday December 7th. Dad and I were alone visiting and he told me about the day in the hospital when he flat lined and they put the paddles on him. He said he was looking down and he saw all of the nurses and the doctor. He saw me crying in the hall. He described me pounding the wall and sobbing. He described a peaceful light and going towards it. He said it was wonderful and he did not want to leave the light. (Keep in mind this was 1975 before all the television and books on “near death experience”) He was almost crying and said. “Why did I come back, I need to know the reason, what could it be”.
We were interrupted when Annie came into see him. She had her little Black baby doll Lulu. Daddy said, “Feed your baby Annie”. Annie jumped up on the rocking chair, pulled up her shirt and nursed her doll. He always got such a kick out of that. It is a picture that is painted in my mind, Annie and her Gigi.
Then Daddy said, “I want you to go back to school. I cannot work any more; maybe I can be strong enough to watch the baby. You have to go back to school”.
I kissed Dad goodbye and made him promise to lie down after he ate his dinner.
He died that evening; he went in after dinner, laid his head back and had another attack.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind why daddy came back from the light. It was to deliver the message that changed my life. Each time I wanted to give up when I finally did return to school with two babies, two jobs and no money I thought of daddy and his last words to me.
I love teaching even with all of the bureaucracy and crap. I am a teacher, I make a difference. Thanks, daddy.