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This was an English assignment that Robbie wrote this year. The teacher chose one to read to the class, and the poor woman chose Robbie's at random.  She told me she's been teaching for 10 years and she's never had an essay bring her to tears like Robbie's did.

On April 9, 2012 the kids were brought up to the hospital so they could say their goodbyes to Patrick.  Some things are a little off, but for the most part he was right on.




As I walked out of the class, the bell blaring just a few feet above my head and to the left, I took one last look at the date “April 9th, 2012.” My heart dropped and my stomach began to roll furiously, making me feel like I was going to throw up at anytime. It had been just over a month. A month since my dad was standing in the same doorway that I was walking out of. I remembered it perfectly: his favorite tennis shoes, double knotted for the laces were too long. Then came his worn out blue jeans. He was a tall man so they sprawled upward from his shoes for 3-4 feet. Then exceeding just a little over his pants was his favorite sweater. Charcoal black, with a zipper, bringing the two sides together. Right above his heart read a red circles showing the words “Beckman Coulter.” Dad’s old job before we had moved here to Watsonville. Then was his long, pale neck. It leads up to his chin where his freshly groomed goatee waits. He was always extremely anal about the length of it. If it was too long it would “irritate his face,” he always proclaimed, “Too short, it was like losing an old friend.” And at the very tip top of his head, like always, were his blue flamed black sunglasses which he never left home without. He just came out and told me. “I’m getting the heart transplant that I’ve needed since I was born.” He was ecstatic. Handed me his old phone, so my mom had a way to keep in touch, briskly said, “I love you,” and he and my mom were off.

As I walked outside onto the ramp, the cold, damp air nipping at the small hairs on the back of my bare neck, I look down the peach colored ramp to see my little sister. I saw worry in her eyes as they frantically searched for me. Then suddenly they lock onto me. Her pale freckled hand raises and furiously shook back and forth. There was a look of terror in her eyes and I knew that something was up. I quickened my pace until I was finally at her height. “Something’s wrong, we have to hurry,” she said in a horrible morose voice. My stomach hit the floor couldn’t handle it. I wanted to throw up. All the bad news I was given in that month was related to my dad in some way. My heart was pounding, not from anger, but from fear. We began running as fast as we could, causing my heartbeat to skyrocket. The white Escalade that my mom's close friend Janette, was driving finally came into view. I opened the door and jumped in. There was nothing that was going to stop me. There I was informed, “traffic is horrible it might be a long drive,” by Janette. I tried fighting off the looming darkness, but it still seemed to overwhelm me. The last thing I remember was the fading highway that we were driving on.

We stop. My eyes open drearily to see a giant red glowing sign, at the top of a white building containing multiple windows. The sign read, “Stanford Hospital.” We were finally here. I stepped out of the Escalade on to the wet asphalt parking lot. We walked through the cold damp air, onto a sidewalk surrounded by flowers and trees, till we finally reached the front doors of the hospital. They slid open revealing a black counter, with dividing sections all containing; a computer, some brochures, pens, and at least one clipboard. Janette didn’t stop just turned left and said, “Let’s go, come on, hurry.” My sister and I now walking beside her, turned right into a little hallway with an elevator on the left. My sister pushed the up button and instantly the shiny doors open to reveal a wood paneled room no bigger than seven feet by seven feet. Janette hits the 3rd floor button and slowly we edge upward. For it was hospital there elevators moved slowly, so they could work while in them. The doors open and we step out onto what seemed to be a balcony. The floor was tiled with large white tiles that felt unbelievably slick even through my shoe. To the left a thick white wall darted upward from the floor for three feet to which a small railing protruded off of it another foot. To my right there was a small blue section that came up from the floor for a few inches dipped in and a white wall darted upward for seven to eight feet. The ceiling was that white just as well. The only exception would be the small silver cylinders protruding into it holding a small, yet extremely bright light. It had that weird indescribable smell….. It smelled, “clean.” We were still hurrying but I looked over the small railing to see that just over thirty feet down was a small dining area where several doctors were sitting enjoying a meal. We turned left, went through some huge iron plated doors, turned left again and there I saw my mom, uncle, grandma, grandpa, other grandma, best friend and his sister, their parents, and some of my dad’s close friends.

They huddled all of us into a small peach room, no bigger than an office cubicle. Then a social worker, provided by the hospital, appeared into the room. He sat down, just as my mom’s mouth dropped open. The tears rolling down her cheeks, nothing came out of her mouth, not even for a brief second air. “We called you here, to say good bye to your dad,” my mother finally said, as quiet as she could. It wasn’t quiet enough, my heart dropped and I began to cry, we all did. All of us, every single one, were crying. That’s when my uncle, reached under both of my arms, and shoved me into the direction of my mom. “Come on, we need to say good bye now,” my mom said pushing me up to stand on my own feet. We walked out the peach door, into the larger waiting area. She nudged me to the right, where a low hanging sign that read, “Intensive Care Unit.”

Just a small detour to the right and the first big door, was where he was. I wasn’t able to get to the door before I was on the ground, sobbing my heart out, all I said was, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”My mom picked me up and pushed me in through the doorway where I finally saw my dad. There were for different huge machines in the room with him, all hooked up and penetrating his skin. Then there were all the IVs he was hooked up to, sixteen in total, just barely keeping him alive so we could say good bye. His long legs were covered up with a Dallas Cowboys blanket, his favorite team. Then came his orange tinted, bare, scarred chest. Dozens of tubes ran this way and that, which was like a little maze of tubes. I couldn’t follow where each one went, but I didn’t try. Then were the two four inch long scars on both sides of his neck, where he had pace makers from previous years. Then came his neck, untouched surprisingly. Then his chin. Holding his over grown goatee, or at least it would be considered to him, right above was his mouth, forced open by a breathing tube. Then his nose, with the oxygen tubes, for he couldn’t breathe for himself. Then all the small round circles, with wires running away from them, measuring his vitals. Then came his eye patches, that kept his eye from drying out from the bright hospital lights. It was the saddest thing I had ever looked at. Knowing that this would be the last day i ever spent with my dad. I walked past him, to grab his left hand. Tears still cascading down my cheeks. I was gasping for air. It was so hard to do it, but I finally did it, my mouth slowly opened, but nothing came out. I forced it out, all of it as fast as I could. "Good bye daddy, I love you," I said. His blackened, oxygen-less hand grabbed mine barely. That was him telling me, "I love you two, everything will be ok." Then my sister was brought in to say goodbye. I couldn’t stand to see him like that anymore. I ran out, back into the waiting room, and cried my little heart out.

Soon after my sister was done saying goodbye, Janette and my mom, drove us home. I instantly bolted to my room where I slumped into bed, and spent the rest of the day.

The next morning rolled around. It started as any other morning; shower, put clothes on, brush teeth, brush hair, shoes and out the door, but today felt different, like there was a hole. I tried to ignore it, but just couldn’t, Janette pulled up to the math buildings, I jumped out and headed to B2, Mr. Patino's room. It all went swell, until nine o'clock came around. I had this horrible feeling in my stomach, I didn’t know what it was, but it got worse and worse and worse. At that time the bell had just rung, and Math Academy was over. I texted Janette, asking if she could pick me up cause I felt like I was gonna throw up. Fifteen minutes go by, and finally see Kelvin, Janette's husband, there to pick me up. Only he looked different, sad or depressed. The first words out his mouth were, "Your dad died at nine o' seven." My heart dropped, the tears were flowing down my face, like a dam breaking releasing millions of gallons of water a minute. I just cried. That was the day I lost my dad.

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Comment by Patience on June 4, 2014 at 5:21pm
Heart shattering ... And Robbie's a very bright and talented writer. So sorry ...
Comment by Gaining Strength on June 4, 2014 at 4:56pm


How could someone so young write such a heartfelt article?  He had described in detail all the things that I forced myself not see and to register in my brain (denial). How awful for all of you. My deepest condolences.


Comment by MsKris12 on November 25, 2013 at 12:50pm

(((Sam))  My heart hurts for all of you.  Robbie's expressive , detailed  accounting of the day he lost his dad speaks volumes about you and Patrick as parents and Robbie as a young man with a heart full of love.


Comment by Morgana (Janet) on November 22, 2013 at 2:31pm

(((Sam))) I am so glad Robbie could write it down.  You and the children are amazing and doing so much to bring aware of donor donations to the public's attention a long with the Donate for Life Fb site.  Love and Hugs to you all.

Comment by laurajay on November 22, 2013 at 12:32pm

Excellent that your son was able to express himself with telling the story in his own words and by writing it down.  Part of healing is to purge the negative emotions and move towards acceptance of reality.

We tell our stories as often as we need to to gain understanding and to move forward.  Hope your children remember their dad with love but grow to having successful lives.   Hope you grow in wisdom and  grace to continue raising children you are proud of that reflect their dad's best qualities.      love to you, sam.   lj

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