My Dad just celebrated his 61st Birthday and his tenth borrowed year on this earth. On February 8, 2002, my Dad died. He went into congestive heart failure. His heart was just fluttering and they did everything they could to bring him back to us. The man we got back wasn’t the man who raised me. He had aged and his mind wasn’t the same. Since I was at college when all of this went down, he didn’t remember who I was. He would call me by my Mother’s and Sister’s names. I had decided to call him Pete, Pete stuck. My dad aka Pete, knows who I am now and his memory thou sketchy at times, has returned.
In January I got to watch Pete meet his first granddaughter. Tears filled his eyes as he touched Sophia’s tiny hand. My heart melted into the NICU floor as I listened to him whisper “You are a fighter, welcome to the world little one”. In that moment I thought of all the Fathers who never got to meet their granddaughters, instead they watch them grow from heaven. Sophia is one lucky little lady, she is born into a family of fighters and survivors. She proved her worth during her fist weeks of life as she fought of Strep B, like a ninja.
This December we will celebrate with Sophia and our hearts we will be with all of those who are missing a love one. Our family knows first hand what its like to say goodbye to a little girl. Our Hearts are with My Uncle Jeffrey and his children. It will be 16 years on December 29th, since Emma left this world. Emma will always be in our hearts, she is the reason we started advocating for the American Heart Association. Because of her, our lives were saved. Every life lost is not a waste. Every life lost becomes a learning Moment for Doctors and from that life they learn how to treat the next patient. It is my family’s hope that one day there will no longer be a need for research. Why, because we dream of a day where there is a cure. Where families will not have to go through what we did.
It is my dream that one day Sophia will not have to worry about her birth control ending or harming her life. That she will grow up in a world where heart disease is a distant memory. Until that day comes we will teach her how lucky she is. Because not many little girls have a Grandfather and Auntie who beat the widow maker. Not many little girls can say “My Grandpa is a congestive heart failure survivor and my Auntie is a stroke survivor.” She is lucky because many little girls stand by the grave side confused and wondering what happened. Instead our Sophia will one day pound the halls of congress advocating for heart health and a cure, because she comes from a family of survivors.