My husband got a new job in Texas, and had a second interview scheduled. We decided that I would drive there from California with our two young sons and meet him there. The trip was going to be about 10 days, and while considring asking my father to come along, he called me up one day and asked if he could invite himself along. Dad always loved traveling and was always looking out for his daughter to make sure ethat the place she chose to live was "suitable".
We were having fun as usual, the first few days and got tired of eachother's company soon after that. The second interview went well, and we had decided to put our house on the market when we got home. My husband flew back to California, and my kids, myself, and my Dad headed out to finish our long road trip, and do a little touring on the way home.
We decided to go out of our way to hit Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We were having fun, and upon leaving "civilization" as we knew it, on our way to El Paso, my Dad had a massive heart attack, and died within seconds. We drove back to the nearest phone which happened to be a hotel, and called for help. Any ressucitations were futile. With $150 in my wallet, my two boys and I headed for a motel. I made calls to the family, and waited for my mom and husband to come rescue us. I did all the cremation arrangments. We all traveled back together, and I had a hard time each time my boys asked when we were going to pick up "Poppy" from the hospital. I explaind the best I could, but it never seemed enough, or real.
The only time my Dad mentioned he felt under the weather was seconds before his attack. He was never one to complain or to ruin a family vacation. I wished this time he would have mentioned something when the symptoms showed up days before.
Since then, I have been diagnosed with panic attacks, and have started to learn to grieve, laugh, and take care of myself. I can't say it's been all bad, though. Since my Dad died I have suddenly had the courage to draw boundaries with family memberes I never could before. I have this new sense of caring less of what other people think, just like Dad. I do sillier things, just like Dad. I explore new things, just like Dad. We were a lot alike, and now that he is gone, I am more comfortable with the way I am. He said a lot of very complimentary things to me on this last trip, he rarely said before. In a way, I got what I always wanted--his approval. Now I just have to learn to move on.