11 Months Today

11 months today….

I write this today, because I’ve been thinking for a little while about opening up about my little journey for the past 9 months. I was planning on waiting for one year. Just to make sure it was legit. But time is short and not promised. So I looked at my calendar today, because recently all I’m focused on is times, hours, days – but never weeks and never months, certainly not years.

11 months ago today I wrote a blog. “Not another girl with daddy issues”. Catch up and read it if you must – but in doing so, I never would have imagined how drastically my life would be changed with one blog….11 months ago.

On August 2nd, I started off my day normal. It actually ended up being an exciting day because my sweet baby nephew Carson was brought into this world. After work I drove down to North Carolina to hold that sweet babe. While I was there, my phone received a text. I glanced but didn’t recognize the number so waited until I left to check it. It was a simple text, as if it were an everyday text.

“Hey Kristen, it’s your dad Steve. How are you? Can we talk?”

He found my blog. He read my blog. He found me. He texted me. Now it was my turn. Do I respond? Do I text back? What do I say?
On the way home, I thought about it. That hour drive seemed to take all night. I got home, and texted back. I was ready to talk. He called me. We talked for hours. Almost empty. The weather, I reminded him how old I was, when my birthday was, about my kids, my husband, my life today.
He asked permission to talk to me again. I said yes. I honestly wasn’t sure I could do this. But, I wrote that blog. I welcomed him in, that day 11 months ago. So I continued. So did the texts. Daily. He would text me daily, just saying hi. So developed our “relationship”.

During that first phone call, he told me he was sick. I sorta knew this. I knew he had had many heart attacks and he wasn’t in the best of health. I had no idea. I had no idea that 9 months after our first call, 11 months after my blog post – it would be like it is today. Just 11 months.

My biological father has congestive heart failure. He is dying. He is a very sick man. As soon as I found this out, I became invested – the nurse in me wanted to fix him. I wanted to make him well. It was the thing that I was able to focus on instead of focusing on my own feelings of him coming back into my life. It was my escape from reality almost. So I became very invested in his health. Very very invested.

I wouldn’t get texts for a few days in a row, then find out he was in the hospital again. Another heart attack, another event. Soon I became the first person his wife would call during these events.
I have watched him decline. Watched the physicians make very bad decisions, bad calls, wait too long on too many things. I call and talk to hospitals, nurses, risk management, patient advocates. Doing the best I can states and thousands of miles away. Through the phone – focusing on his health and his heartbeat – forgetting all about my own.

He finally, in January got approved for a heart transplant eval. We were so excited. Unfortunately the transplant team did not accept him until MARCH. 3 months after the okay and all clear. He drove from Fort Worth Texas to Dallas every morning for four days of testing. Day 3 of 4, he woke up coughing blood and unable to breath. Upon entering the hospital, they quickly discovered he had MULTIPLE pulmonary embolisms and he was sick. I was on the phone with the doctor and his wife that evening as they frantically Intubated him. This was a Wednesday. I waited a couple of days, checked in daily. No plan, no idea if he was coming out of this. If his heart and lungs could take it. I made the decision to book a flight out that Saturday to Texas. I needed to say goodbye. For me. I needed to say hello, actually, and meet a man I haven’t seen in over 20 years – to say goodbye. I sat at his bedside every day while I was there. Held it together. And wondered what I would actually say to him if he was awake enough to talk to me. I had no clue.
I left the hospital that Tuesday after. Said goodbye to him, made sure he looked comfortable and had a good show on TV. And said “see you later Steve”.
And broke down for the first time walking out of the hospital. Knowing that could be my last time but so unwilling to accept that.

Too many details and I’ll spare you them all – but here we are today. After my blog post – 11 months later.

He’s in and out of the ICU. Sick. And the physicians have finally said to us he is too sick to do anything. Today, 11 months later is the day where we will hear the FINAL “No” from the Medical City Hospital in Dallas, that they are unwilling to take this man on to give him a chance. To help give him a new heart.

Ive been working tirelessly with the medical team. Pushing every which way I can. Fighting. Not giving up for him. And that came to a screeching halt yesterday.

I have talked to the palliative care coordinator, talked to his cardiologist and we are arranging hospice to come in. The difficult conversations have been had about DNRs and what he needs at home to die comfortably.

I am going to Texas for work in just a few short weeks. On June 5th I am flying in and the idea was to spend the day with him. While he was alert and knew I was there. Again, not knowing how I’d even handle it – I’ve not thought that far. Ive only thought about his heart – not my own. I told the palliative care nurse I was going to be there in June 5th. She was silent. Then she softly replied “let’s just take this one day at a time”. That’s what I needed to hear. To make it real. To make it real that this man, who owes me a lifetime of texts, conversations, time – has only given me 11 months where I’ve been okay with finally accepting him back into my life – no contingencies, no grudges. No hard feelings and just openness.

11 Months.

I talked to him last night. Told him I forgave him. For the first time, I cried. I let him hear me cry. I ugly cried. I told him I was sorry his other kids didn’t get to the place where I am. I’m sorry he is scared. I’m sorry this is happening. Im sorry I’m not there.

Now here I am. I actually took the day off today, after being up sobbing all night. I’ve sat in silence with tears and in pain all day long. Sitting outside of panera – with sunglasses on and a cup of water. Knowing people are watching me wondering if I’m crazy. I just needed to be alone today, but amongst people at the same time. I needed to be reminded by the sunshine that IM STILL ALIVE today. Because today it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like part of me is dying too.

I didn’t expect this to hurt so much. 11 months ago, I didn’t expect this to take so much of me. To care so much. But here I am. And now, I have absolutely nothing left to fight about. Nothing more to focus on – I cannot win his heart battle anymore. So, now, the nurse in me is dying and fading and the daughter in me is beginning to grieve and mourn. And this sucks. So so much just sucks. And, no matter how many ugly people in this world (surprising there are so many) who tell me or elude I’m not as heartbroken as I am feeling simply because this man hasn’t been an active part of my life for my whole life – it’s so wrong. Because despite not having 32 years of holidays, hugs, events, texts, presence of his man – he is a part of me – and always has been – for 32 years.

So here I am. 11 months later. Taking the time to write this today. Because today, I’m not sure if there will be a “12 months later” from my blog post or the first text which I can feel safe. Today is all I have. If we get to tomorrow – we will take that day as it comes and goes.

Who would have thought right? Who would have thought that I would meet someone I’ve always been so desperately craving a relationship with and in the same “meet and greet” conversation I would also be saying my first goodbyes.

…..only 11 months after I opened this door up via one blog post.

651 responses to “11 Months Today”

  1. I’m so sorry, Kristen. To wait a lifetime to welcome him in, then have to slowly usher him out a few months later…I cannot imagine your pain. You are such a fixer, such a pleaser and a helper and a problem solver. I can empathize with the sadness of finding a problem you cannot fix. I’m sorry. No words will fix that, but sharing the hurt on your heart is a precious gift to your friends who are reading. I am praying for you and Steve’s family. I’m praying for your heart, breaking from distance and from a lifetime of hurt and from a new rush of pain, too. I’m praying for clarity and guidance and comfort. ~peggy

  2. Praying for you Kristen that God will strengthen and heal all your pain that you are facing at this time,and remember all things work out for them who Love the Lord!

  3. I just saw this and I am so thankful for the day I texted him the link to your blog. You see I had only seen your blog one time when Brittany posted it.
    I texted Steve and told him about the blog. He said to send him the link. I never knew he looked it up but I am so glad for you that he did that day.
    My prayers answered.