Somehow, even though I never suspected in the preceding weeks that something was wrong with my father's health, I just knew I had to rush to the hospital in our town. And indeed, there they were, in the last Emergency cell, my father sitting upright in a mobile bed, my mother at his side, both apprehensively, although they tried very hard not to look worried. They explained that father had felt so miserable that mother had felt compelled to call the MUG (Medisch Urgentieteam, Medical Urgency Ambulance).
Actually, at that precise moment, dad didn't look too bad. With his typical dry humor, he asked one nurse what his chances of survival were. That nurse stood with arms crossed, calmly pondering the situation as it were, and with a humorous wink shrugged his concerns off, saying that it couldn't be that bad, could it, and besides, he was going to be carried away by a beautiful nurse. Which was true, the one preparing dad to be carted to his room was a beautiful young lady.
However - it turned out that alas, it WAS bad.
It turned out that it was VERY bad.
A couple of minutes later, we left father alone in his room and went home. The last thing I remember about that scene was how father assumed a fetal position on his right side with a grimace of pain on his visage. And still I somehow expected that after a short stay in hospital all would be well again. Hadn't dad participated, just the sunday before, in the yearly reunion of his old class of the Institut Technique in A., and hadn't he been clearly the strongest character, walking proud and upright among all the cane-toting seventy-plussers with a plethora of deficiencies and handicaps?
In the morning, at about 7 am, mom called in a panic urging me to come immediately to pick her up and rush to the hospital because during the early hours father had suffered a cardiac arrest.
That was the beginning of a month long struggle which ended with... father's passing.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Dad... you are sorely missed.