My dad died from heart failure on July 27, 2010, when he was 50. He was active and in shape. I will admit that my dad was a smoker, and he was a drinker (although he did have 9 years sobriety during my younger years), but 50 is way too young to die.
On July 20, 2010 I had just started a new position and was eager to share my day with my dad when I got home. Unfortunately on my way home I got a call that no one ever expects. My mom and dad were out shopping and she said he complained of feeling strange, and had her call an ambulance. As soon as the ambulance arrived he collapsed and never woke again. For 7 days we sat in the ICU hoping and praying the doctors were wrong. Asking question after question, making them run more tests, all while holding onto hope that he would just wake up. Eventually my mom made the decision to terminate support. My heart was broken. It just so happens that July 27th is also my birthday. I spent my 29th birthday laying next to him in hospice, I was not ready to let him go. Sadly around 10PM that night, when I left the room for just a few seconds, he took his last breath. I believe he was waiting for me to leave because he too was not ready to let go.
It’s nearly ten years later, and occasionally the grief still comes back and hits like a train, and all I can do is ride it out. It really can feel like a proverbial punch in the gut.