I had to take a First Aid/CPR class at work, the other day. It would be safe to say that I didn’t want to. Initially, that was just because I’m lazy. But, as it progressed, it was hitting a little too close to home. See, if you bring up anything related to the heart, I’m going to think of my Dad. And that terrible day when my mom left me a message saying that his heart stopped and that I should come to the hospital.
It was the day that I lost my dad and was forced to accept the fact that life stops. I spent years saying how grateful I was that I had both my parents and then suddenly I didn’t have both parents. I have had a hard time accepting how it happened or that it happened at all. And I live with the awareness that I will lose my mom, too. That is something that I can’t handle dwelling on so let me just skip past that thought.
When I took the class, my mom was in the hospital. She’s home now and she’s ok. But, it was obviously on my mind. I explained to the instructor that I would be checking my phone and she understood, totally. Anyway, between worrying about my mom and missing my dad, the class was emotional for me. I also was anxious about performing the cpr on the dummy because I am not known for my strength. I was anticipating not being able to make the little lights go on to indicate that I was doing it hard enough and that the rest of the class would wait while I kept trying and trying. But, that’s not what happened!
I reluctantly got down on my knees over this cpr dummy and gave him cpr. When I did, I put my heart into it, no pun intended. (Well, maybe a little pun intended.) And to my surprise, my classmates were saying things like “Wow, she’s got some crazy arm strength!” and “He’s gonna live, damn it!” I laughed with relief. My only mistake was going too fast. She told me to slow the thrusts down. I passed quickly and easily. I awkwardly (but with relief) got off the floor and back in my chair. I was amazed that I, of all people, was referred to as someone having any kind of physical strength. I mean I’m notoriously not strong. I breathe heavy when I walk up hills (small ones) and I can’t spin in a circle without getting dizzy. So why had it been so easy? Then it hit me. I was trying to save my dad.
When I realized that, all the memories of that horrible night came back. Seeing them try to revive him will haunt me always. I don’t actually think that I could have done better but I think in that moment with good old cpr dummy guy, I was going to try.
But, of course, there’s nothing that I can do. I continue to struggle with finding peace. It will probably be a bit longer. There’s really no probably. It’s funny, I attended a funeral for a friend’s father recently. It was sad, obviously. And it was weird to realize that she, I and another friend who was there have all lost our dads. Sometimes, I feel like no one could understand and sometimes I wish that was true. Because I hate the idea that she will now understand and that my friend next to me already did. And as I sat there, I wanted to feel the peace that these people already seemed to feel due to their strong Christian beliefs. But, instead as I listened to “How Great Thou Art,” three words kept going through my mind. I’m Still Pissed.
I am. But I don’t want to be. I do believe he is in heaven. I do believe he is at peace. I do believe that he is hanging out with his parents. But, I still think it’s unfair.
So many things are unfair. But, some things aren’t. It’s nothing short of a blessing that I have my mom. My sisters. My nieces and nephews. My husband. My kids. My friends. My animals. So many things to be grateful for. And I definitely am grateful for the fact that I am apparently stronger than I think. And that I didn’t have to be embarrassed in front of my co-workers. 😉 I will try to focus on all these good things and be grateful for what I have. Because I have so much. I will try not to be pissed. I will try to be a good person, make both of my parents proud, pay it forward and enjoy my life.
Even though, I know some part of me will always be trying to save my dad.