12/2/2012… The day I found out that my dad had a stroke, in the hospital, where he was awaiting surgery to replace his heart valve, put in a defibrillator, and a pace maker. Those assholes let my dad have a stroke. It was awful, my stomach twisting and turning all the way to the hospital. Nothing could have prepared me for the next couple of days to come. Nothing. My dad had a stroke, and he was more than likely going to die. There was hope that first day, that the bleeding and swelling of the brain had slowed some, but the bad news: they couldn’t do surgery for another 24 hours because of the TPA, that he probably didn’t need because he was on two Plavix a day. So we sat around and cried, and comforted each other (my mom, siblings, and I). We smoked a lot of cigarettes that next 24 hours, not knowing what was to come, wishing we could take this from our father, the man none of us has ever seen in a vulnerable situation such as this. Nothing could prepare us for what we were about to endure. The next morning as my sister, Clara, and I stood over our father, talking, and waiting for them to come and get him for his CAT scan, we were holding his hands. We were talking about my son (who wasn’t even three months old yet), and my dad started stirring around in his bed, trying to rip out his breathing tube, as if he understood what we were saying, and it was almost like he was trying to say, “Hey! I’m here! I’m not gone yet! I’ll be okay!” That gave us hope. They came to get him. Those assholes who let my dad’s brain hemorrhage. And all we could do was wait. Wait and cry, wait and smoke, wait and… what? Be calm while we knew our daddy was dying and there wasn’t a damn thing we could do about it? My husband came up early that morning to be with me all day, and to help me deal with the horrible, gut wrenching information that we were to receive that day: His brain had swelled more over night, and he will probably die on the operating table if we decided to go with the operation to offset the swelling. And if he did make it through surgery, he was definitely going to have a shit-ton of cognitive impairments. Did we want him to live the rest of his days, however long, like that? No. So we (my mom, siblings, and I) made the decision to take him off life support. But while we were waiting to do so, we were all in and out of his Critical Care room spending time with him. I remember that I was in there at one point, holding his hand, and the nurse came in and asked us all to leave so she could do an assessment. As I was getting up to leave the room, my dad grabbed onto my hand and would not let go. I tried everything to get out of his grasp, but he was strong. The nurse told me I could stay. She was asking my dad questions and he was doing what she said (open your eyes, close your eyes, let go of your daughter’s hand if you are in pain). And I thought to myself… Why in the hell can’t they do something?!? He’s here! After all of that, my husband came into the room and he and I just sat in silence with my dad. He was trying to pull his breathing tube out, and I smacked his hand away and said, “We are taking that out in a minute, stop it.” And he rolled his head over towards me, opened his eyes, and gave me the dirtiest look I believe I have ever received from anyone. That was the David Rucker I knew, but they still kept saying they could do nothing. After a bunch of non-sense with the organ donor people, we were finally able to give that dude what he wanted: that damn breathing tube out of his throat. He was free for however long he would continue to live. The next 24 hours was the worse. My dad kept trucking along, his lungs were filling up with saliva and mucous, and all I can remember from that was he sounded like a percolator when he breathed. It was the worst sound ever. The day my dad died (12/4/2012) was crazy. He made it all the way to 7 something that evening. At one point, he became so hot (when your brain swells, it pressed down on your “thermostat” and throws the temperature out of wack) that he was turning purple. I kept putting ice and a rag on his forehead, but with no luck; I never seen ice melt so fast. We all were able to, at one point or another that day, tell him goodbye, that we loved him, and anything else we wanted to tell him, in private. That was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. That, and help make the decision to take him off life support. My dad was only 48 when he died. Such a waste of a great life. This has been, and still continues to be the WORST part of my whole entire life. If you have never experienced the death of a parent, I will just say this, You’re never going to be prepared for it, no matter how much you think you will.