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Gone Too Soon

March 31, 2014

I am ... A Caregiver or Family Member

Gone Too Soon

I never even thought of stroke until it affected me.

December 4, 1998 was the worst day of my life. My mother had stayed overnight at my house to babysit my son while I went to a meeting. That morning she woke up in the midst of having her second heart attack in a matter of 5 years. While she was being taken by ambulance to the hospital I kept trying to get a hold of my dad to let him know what was going on. After about an hour I got a hold of their neighbor and asked her to check on him. I'll never forget the call I received back from her. She had found my father semi-conscious on the floor of his home. Paramedics had rushed over and while I was heading to the hospital to see how my mom was doing, I had a paramedic telling me over the phone that it seemed my dad had had a stroke. I can't begin to tell you how this affected my life.

Within days my mother was having a quad-bypass and my father was dead of a massive stroke. He was only 66 years old. He had been a long time smoker (since age 12) but had quit in 1989 when my son was 3 years old. His reason? Because he wanted to be around to see my son grow up. But apparently all those years of smoking took their toll and he only lived to see my son turn 12.

I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through what I went through that day. Losing my dad so quickly and unexpectedly, while also dealing with my mother's heart attack, was sheer and absolute torture for me and my family.

Please please please.....everyone.....I beg you not to smoke. You just don't know what your family will be losing once you're gone.

RIP Richard Dean Henrichsen
July 29 1932 - December 7, 1998.

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