I remember the day after Valentines Day my senior year of High School. I was walking to the music building when all of a sudden I remembered that I hadn't called my dad the day before and I had forgotten to bring him the Chocolate Heart I got him. Then my phone rang. It was my mom. She told me my dad had passed out and that he had been taken to a hospital but she didn't know which one. They were divorced so she wasn't there when it happened and probably wasn't told she was no longer "family". So I quickly excused myself from my classes that day and proceeded to call the local hospitals.
About 20 minutes later I found out which one he was being held out and drove over. My grandmother was already there. I remember how lonely she looked. Sitting alone in the ER gripping her purse and just starring blankly at the wall. I went to sit with her. A while later my mom and my dad's sister both arrived. When we were able to see him my mom and I got to go first. He had suffered a stroke. He was alert but couldn't speak and couldn't move the left side of his body from the paralysis. This was probably the last time I ever felt like a family. I remember my dad holding my moms hand and looking at her with tears in his eyes. They both just looked as if they were saying "I'm so sorry". It had been nearly 4 years since their divorce but finally I think they had made amends for everything in that moment.
Through out the next three days there was allot of struggle. My dad was frustrated with not being able to communicate and I really had never had anyone in that position before. It was rough. He was just so angry with all of us. Like we weren't listening. The time came when they had to transfer hospitals. Now that he was stable they felt it was time to move him. The next day we got a call. He had been moved to the Santa Clara hospital but in the course of the night he had suffered many small strokes. He was in a coma. That day he was moved to the ICU. I remember sitting outside the hospital. It was absolutely still and quiet and so beautiful. But I didn't know what to do, think or say about anything. I couldn't think I really might loose my dad. Then out of no where one of my best friends from High School showed up. She just rushed over to me, sat down and held me. I remember just sobbing. I had never felt so helpless in all of my life and the reality of everything just hit me.
After she left I went back inside. My Aunt told me that since my dad never wanted to kept alive on a machine they were going to turn of his machines and just let things take their course. I wanted to be there so badly. And I thought I had every right to be but they wouldn't let me. And since I was still 17 I didn't have much say in the matter. So the next day on February 19th, 2002 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon the Doctor turned off all my dad's breathing machines. He died around 4:30. As I went to go say my good-bye I had a minute alone with him. The nurses had shaved his face and combed his hair and he looked much like the way he did every day. That was the last time I ever saw him.
Now Seven years later I look back on this part of my life and know that as sad as it was I could never change t or would I for anything in the world. Although it was one of the hardest times of my life it is what softened my heart to accept the Gospel nearly five years ago. He has since had all his work done in the temple. And I know that this was the only way he was able to make it to my wedding day. I loved and love my dad more than anything. But the gift he gave me was the greatest thing I could have ever hoped for.