January 10th, 2012 started like any other day. I woke up started breakfast for the kids, packed their lunches, and got them out the door and dropped off at school. It was not until around 9:30 PM that night I received a phone call from my Mom asking me to come pick her up from the hospital, my Dad had just passed away…. he lost his fight against Leukemia.
I remember that phone call as if it happened today. Mom’s voice was calm and steady, unbelievably soft, no panic in her voice…. only “Misha, come pick me up from the hospital Man (my Dad’s nickname) just died.” All I could say to her was okay, I am on my way! I hung up and called both of my sisters to tell them the news, I then went and told my husband we must go to the hospital….my Dad just died. My three kids bless their hearts…. Jayden was 11 yrs old at the time, Wesley was 7 yrs old, and Peyton was only 5 years old. I did not know what and how to tell them, so I did not…I packed the kids up and we dropped them off at my husband’s parents’ house.
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My father had been battling Leukemia since September of 2010. After going in for a routine check-up with his cardiologist, his lab work came back later that day showing his white blood cell count was extremely high. My father’s Cardiologist called him and told him he needed to check into Seton Main, they were expecting him. That night he began treatment.
My father was admitted to Seton Main in September of 2010, January of 2011 my father was put on hospice and told that there was nothing more they could do for him here in Austin, he was referred to MD Anderson in Houston. I fought like hell to get him admitted to MD Anderson in early 2011. There was so much paperwork needed, only to be told that because my father did not have insurance, he would need at least 20 thousand dollars to be evaluated. Tears streamed down my face because at that point I felt defeated, I wanted to help my father receive the best care and treatment…. only to be told that I needed 20 thousand dollars to be evaluated. I asked the gentleman on the phone with me, you must be kidding me. I asked him what do you do for patients who cannot afford this? I told him that there must be something that you can do for patients who cannot afford the costs. I was then told that you said the “magic words”, I asked what you mean? I was told that they do not come out forthright and tell patients that they have programs available for patients who cannot afford the treatments at MD Anderson, I had to ask for the services to be offered to my father. My father was admitted into MD Anderson March of 2011, and he stayed there until November of 2011. My father received all treatments that was available to him for his form of Leukemia, his sister also came from Georgia and participated in a Bone Marrow Transplant that was not successful. In November of 2011, my dad was sent home for Thanksgiving, the only treatments he was receiving at the time was platelets from the blood bank at Seton. Shortly after Christmas of 2011 my father was admitted back into Seton Main for having a seizure while receiving platelets, he never left the hospital after that. While admitted he suffered a stroke in early January 2012, and after that his health deteriorated until his passing on January 10th, 2012.
My family gathered at the hospital to say our goodbyes, and we went our separate ways after leaving the hospital. The next day I had to find the words to tell my three beautiful children that my father, their Papa had passed away. To see the tears run down their little faces, to see the sadness in their eyes, knowing that they would never see their Papa again broke me. One thing that I pride myself on is the fact that my father loved his grandchildren, all 7 of them. The relationship that he had with each of them, words cannot describe the bond that he had will them…. he was their Papa.
At that moment when I explained to them that their Papa had passed away and had now gone to heaven, my life…. our lives had forever changed. My father was the only male in the house with my two sisters, myself, and my Mother. There was so many things that I knew my Mom would have to learn how to do on her own without him and that hurt me, I was so scared for her. I did not know how we would continue to go on without him. Nine years later my father is deeply missed every day, I make it a point to keep his memory alive in my house with my children. We talk about him often; we talk about memories that the children still have with their Papa, that is the only way I know how to keep his memory alive.
I think back knowing that when my father passed my three kids was 11, 7, and 5 years old. I know that my dad is smiling down on our family and so proud of his grandchildren’s accomplishments. I had to work through the trauma of my father’s passing. The death of my father affected my marriage, I became incredibly angry with Christ, it was a hard period for me to get through because I could not understand why he had to die. Collectively my family is in a good place and has grieved my father’s passing, but our family is forever changed by losing him on January 10th, 2012.