Mt. Princeton

In Loving Memory To My Father

Mt. Princeton

Dad died on Monday (Nov. 10) at about 12:45 a.m., just past Midnight. He collapsed at home on Saturday night and was taken to the hospital. It turned out his cancer was much worse than communicated to me and had reached many other organs besides his pancreas. During Dad's spill, the cancer ruptured and he coughed up lots of blood that made things very serious. At the hospital, they tried to stop the internal bleeding with some kind of operation that had no lasting or positive effect. Throughout the 24 hours on Sunday, he laid in bed, heavily sedated, given morphine to ease the pain, and slept. Eventually, he needed a machine to help him breath, and he had lost so much blood that is was only a matter of time before he would die.

I was already up at 5:15 a.m. MST on Sunday in Colorado when Mom called, and upon hearing the dire news, I immediately bought a plane ticket, drove 2.5 hours to Denver, then flew to Newark, NJ. What was supposed to be a lazy day of watching football with friends turned into an emotional and frenzied day traveling home to see my Dad. Coincidentally (or perhaps not, I really don't believe in coincedences), just the evening before, I joined Facebook and was in complete "memory lane" as I yapped away with a few old elementary classmates from my hometown in northern New Jersey. Well, little did I know I would be coming back so soon to where I grew up in a matter of hours.

My flight arrived in Newark at 7 p.m. EST and with the help of Bernie Doyle (my best friend from high school), he drove me immediately to the hospital. I am so glad I saw Dad before he died and spent his final five hours at his bedside.

From 7:30 p.m. (Sunday) to 12:45 a.m. (Monday), my Mom, younger brother Mark, my sister-in-law Wendy and myself watched him sleep. (My older brother and his wife were there for 16 hours prior.) It was beautiful in a way. We held his hand, kept him warm, kissed him and rubbed his hair. We said we loved him many times. I doubt he could hear us, but it was still a major blessing for us. His heart beat, blood pressure and other indicators were all gradually going down throughout the evening and the medical staff was clear there was nothing they could do. We understood. At 12:35 a.m., everything on the computer screen began to rapidly decline to 0. Dad had passed away. I will never forget those final 10 minutes in my life.

Above is a photo of my parents and I taken on July 30, 2006, when they spent a few days vacationing in Buena Vista to be with me. Of course, good ol' Mt. Princeton is in the background. (You can see another photo of us at Cottonwood Pass in 2004.)

I am currently typing this from New Jersey. The wake is tomorrow; The funeral is on Thursday. I will be here another eight days after that to look after my Mom and spend time with my family. Obviously there will not be any updates until when I return. Thank you for understanding.

-Steve (November 11, 2008)

P.S. You can read an article I wrote six weeks later: Memories of Dad and my my video tribute to him.

Other Links: Buena Vista, CO - St. Elmo Ghost Town - Cottonwood Pass - Independence Pass

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