She holds the phone in her hands as tightly as she can when she hears her Uncle talking to her. “Katrina, come back home. Your dad’s surgery for his colon wasn’t successful. He might not make it,” he says softly. Tears fall down to her cheeks, as she hangs up and immediately drives to her apartment to buy a ticket to Los Angeles. She is heading back home while she was halfway through her junior year of college. She didn’t look at the price and bought the earliest flight as she starts to quickly pack.
As she lands in Los Angeles the next day, her Aunt Kelly picks her up with a smile. She can see Aunt Kelly pretending everything was going well but knew on the inside that it wasn’t. They park at the hospital and they both hop out of the car to start slowly walking through the Hospital doors. Her heart beats fast as she walks to the ICU room. Everything around her moved in slow motion as she sees her dad at the end of the hall. She cries and stops moving. She didn’t want to go inside. She didn’t want to see her own father in this condition. Her father who was a rebel, adventurous, funny, bad-ass, creative, and a builder was now in a bed covered in tubes.
Her mom walks out of the room and holds her in her arms. She cried in her mother’s shoulder asking why? What happened? Why isn’t he making it? Letting go of her mom’s arms, she walks into the room. The tears she chokes back prevent her from talking. She whispers “Dad. It’s me.” No response, but only the sound of life support pushing air into his mouth. She gets louder. “Dad. You need to fight this, please. You have to teach me things still. Get better or I will run your Mustang into a wall!” She smiles a bit when she states the mustang and remembers how her dad left her and her older sister in the house as babies to work on the Mustang in the garage. The result? Drawings on the walls that he had to quickly paint over before mom got home.
As she holds her dad’s hand, she squeezes it a bit as a nurse comes in. She looks at the nurse and stately asks one question: “Is my father going to make it?” Her mom walked in the room and stopped, giving her a sad look. The nurse looks at her with sympathy and shakes his head. “I am so sorry. He most likely won’t make it. His body is slowly dying and the only thing that is keeping him alive is life support.” She nods her head in acknowledgment and looks at dad.
She sees her older sister walk in and embraces her. Her older sister lets go and walks over to dad. Not asking how is he, or what’s going on, she grabs his hand and smiles. “Dad. You will get better. I know you will fight this. You are such a strong dad.” Her older sister walks away from him and into the waiting room, where the rest of dad’s friends and family are.
The next day, her mother tells her how the doctors were coming in today to give them, their dad’s results. The doctors walk into the care room where all the family is and sits them down. Her mom, sister, brother-in-law, and her Aunt Kelly. Her mom holds her best friend hand as her sister holds her husband. Katrina wraps her arms around her legs with no one to hold her and waits for the results. The doctor sadly looks and say “We now have the results. Your father and your husband have colon cancer stage 3 to 4.” The only response was the sound of crying. As Katrina’s family leans to each other, she holds herself tighter and cries softly into her knees. “How long?” she whispers. Her mom looks at her and quickly looks back at the doctors for their response. “The only thing keeping him alive is life support” the doctor responded. As the doctors give them their alone time, her mom decides that Saturday was the day to let her husband and Katrina and Cheyanne’s father go.
Saturday came too fast. In the morning, all three women wore his Hawaiian shirts in his honor. As they walk into his room, each one of them had a special time to say goodbye. Katrina, the youngest daughter, walks in. She kisses her dad’s hand and whispers to him, “I know I’m the selfish and sensitive one in the family, but I want to be selfish. I want to have you alive forever, but I can’t let you suffer anymore. I am going to be strong and let you go. I have mom and my older sis with me. I love you forever and ever dad. You will always and forever be the man that I love the most” she cries out. She kisses her dad’s head and walks out for her older sis and her mom to have their turns. When everyone is finished, the nurse comes in and turns off the machine. They pull the tube out of his mouth and they only hear the sound of her dad’s snoring. Slow, but loud. She holds his hand as his breath gets slower and slower.
“Goodbye for now.”