My Dad passed away at home on Memorial Day. It seemed fitting, as many said, for a Vietnam Hero and wounded warrior.
When I wrote last he had just been diagnosed with cancer during a 9 day hospital stay. 2 days before Mother’s Day he was taken back for a mild heart attack. On Mother’s Day, my mom who was at the hospital with him had a severe heart attack and was rushed to the cath lab immediately. She underwent stent repair, replacement and additional stents were added. She has 7 now. She spent several days in ICU while dad was on the cardiac unit.
My mom has had a pacemaker for several years now. The doctors said her heart cannot be fixed anymore. Ever. She’s had at least a half dozen heart attacks now, and 3 or 4 in just the last 2 years.
During that time we learned Dads cancer was stage 4, and had already spread. He made it home for a day, and was taken to his chemo appt, where an ambulance was called and was admitted again. He finally made it back home to pass away. He was gone just a few days later.
When mom was discharged after 6 days they wouldn’t let her return to the hospital to be with him. Due to her own health, they said. She was so scared, and unwell. But for him.
There’s a couple blessings in this heartache. One is that mom was in the hospital when she collapsed with her heart attack, it saved her life. The other is that Dad did make it back home to pass on with her with her by his side.
The thought and possibly of them being separated in his death was devastating.
I wasn’t able to be there for them. I’m in California and they’re in Georgia. I wasn’t able to attend his services or burial, and that’ll forever tug my heart.
Between the cost of a plane ticket, averaging a $1000 at the time, and my physical ability, or rather inability the obstacles became larger. I kept thinking if funds were available I could do the trip but it would have to be from here. Prices were coming down some, but that was flying out of San Francisco (always cheaper that way) instead of Sacramento where I reside. Frisco is 90 minutes to 2 hours away. Traffic can add hours to that, and Bay area traffic can be rough. It would have taken me 12 hours or about (flight and travel) just to get to Atlanta GA, and then another 90 minute car ride to get to my parents home in Manchester. Not counting any layover or plane transfers.
If I could have gotten on a plane in Sacramento on a non stop flight that would have assisted my physical obstacles to manage getting there but those were the expensive tickets. If a caregiver accompanied me that of course would be double the cost. It was all out of reach.
I’m praying with all my heart tickets come down enough that I might still be able to make it there in the next months to see my mom. I already know that if I can somehow, that it’ll be the last time in this life I’ll ever see her. I’ve been trying to come to terms with that.
But more so that I’ll never see her again anyway since her heart is in that bad of condition, and the loss of dad has her in deep depression as well. I have to prepare myself in advance.
This Father’s Day, both of my Dad’s are in heaven. Lauren Wood 1991, and Don Tresca 2022.
One is my birth dad, and the second is my dad not by blood, but by love. Technically Don was my step dad, but has been just dad too for nearly 25 years.
Breaks my heart that my mama has been widowed twice now.
Some children never had a dad at all. How incredibly blessed I am to have had 2 of them.
Rest in peace and love. Best Dads ever!!!