Jessica's Story "Chapter 1 - Dad"

“I don't know if you've ever seen anyone die, but it's eerie and undeniably spiritual. You know it immediately, but you still can't believe it. I fully felt nearly every human emotion within a span of about ten seconds--disbelief, rage, relief, fear, guilt, and crushingly powerful grief."

"The weirdest part is, after all that--I understood what I had seen, but I couldn't make it real. It's still not real.”

Jessica lost her father unexpectedly when she was 26 years old. “My dad had a stroke at my grandfather’s visitation in February of 2012, and he ended up in the hospital. He didn’t get to go to my grandfather’s funeral, but the doctors thought he was okay, and as far as we knew, he was alright. A few days before Thanksgiving that year, I got a phone call. My dad had collapsed in a restaurant and wasn’t responsive. When my mom, brother, and I had gotten to St. Louis, he still wasn’t responsive. The doctors had removed a blood clot from his brain stem that was so big it had to be manually removed. They didn’t know if he would wake up, or if he would even be the same person if he did. So we waited. I think that was one of the hardest things--the not knowing, the waiting, and having no control whatsoever over what was going to happen.

Jessica and her family spent several days waiting on her father to wake up. Finally, the neurosurgeons told Jessica and her family that he was not getting better and that they didn’t think that he was going to wake up.

“So they told us that we could leave him on life-support and just see, or that we could take him off of it. Can you imagine that moment? Hearing the doctor say those words? Those were the moments when a simple sentence spoke the volumes of an encyclopedia, and mere seconds lasted what felt like days."

Surrounded by family, we all came to the conclusion that in talking to my dad previously, that leaving him on life support was not what he would have wanted. He wasn’t living- his body was just being kept alive. So we elected to take him off life support and when we did he held on forever. He was breathing on his own, but he just kept slowly fading. There was this moment where I was sitting there wondering, is this not what we should have done? Could he have lived? Could he have come out of it if we had left him on life-support longer? That was the hardest thing. 

So how did I make it through this tragedy? As best I could, I held tight to my faith. Ultimately I trusted God even though I didn't understand why it happened. It keeps me going.

Chapter Two of Jessica's story coming soon.