Well, January sucked…

_DSC9456-smallThe last 2 weeks have been pure madness for us here in the Wizzer household.  Pretty much all of January has sucked.  I don’t mean that in a “Well my chip broke off in the dip so FML” kind of way.  I mean it in a “Wow, a ton of crap got dumped on me and my family” kind of way.

January started off with my Sister-in-Law being rushed to the hospital with a brain aneurysm.  Yes, a brain aneurysm.  She is 26 years old, and a month after it happened they still are trying to figure out what caused it.  On the plus side, she is back to 100% normal (well normal for Rachel) and is in good spirits.

A week after that, I hear that my father had to be rushed to the hospital for congestive heart failure.  Apparently, a large amount of fluid was building up around his heart and needed to be removed.

It was during a conversation about my fathers condition that I learned that my Sister was having quite a few health issues related to stress and has had to completely change her work and home lifestyle so that she does not end up in the hospital.  Given that the issues are all stress related, I can only imagine that having to change everything in your life would only cause MORE stress, while you are trying to DECREASE the stress.

Then the 18th happened.

On Saturday January 18th, Sarah and I went into DC to visit some of the museums with her mom.  While there I broke off to the Air and Space Museum to do some photography for a friend.  After that was done I met back up with Sarah and we went back to visit with Rachel and have dinner.  While sitting down and talking with Sarah’s family, I get a notification that my Dad had replied to something on Facebook asking if I had read an e-mail about photography insurance.  I briefly thought about video chatting with him, but figured I would just call him later.  It was a good thing I didn’t as I learned later that he was Video chatting with my niece and helping her out with some poetry.

After dinner Sarah and I headed home.  It was a full day with a lot of walking.  Both of us were pretty tired so I headed upstairs to take a shower before bed.  As I exited the shower, Sarah tells me that my phone has been blowing up with my sister and Mother trying to call.  She had answered but all she got was that something had happened and that my Dad was on his way to the hospital.  I quickly called my Mom to get the full story.

After a very good day of researching a school paper he was finishing up, and making some calls to Andrew, my son, and my niece Sarah (Littlest Sarah), my father was helping my Mom get ready for dinner when he collapsed in the kitchen.  My mother performed CPR while calling 911.  The EMT’s arrived and did everything they could, both on scene and in route to the hospital.

On January 18th at 9:55pm (EST) my father passed away

  • 10pm – I heard the news
  • 12pm – I had a ticket to Crescent City CA. (Closest Airport)
  • 1am – I e-mailed my work to say I wasn’t coming in
  • 2am – I arrived at BWI Airport
  • 6am – My plane left BWI
  • 10am (pst) – I landed in SFO
  • 1pm (pst) – I landed in Crescent City

I spent the next week consoling my Mom and helping her with all of the various details that go into this sort of thing.  I coordinated bringing in family, arranging sleeping accommodations, working with the red cross to help Andrew try and come out (Sadly, he couldn’t make it).  Essentially working non-stop for a week straight.  Any time I felt the emotions rising, I reminded myself that Petrucelli stands for “little rock” and I suppressed in order to get the mission done.

2 weeks later and I feel I still haven’t let go yet.

For the memorial I was asked to write a eulogy.  I would like to share it here, only because it pretty much sums up the relationship I had with my Dad, and I would like it to be a part of this blog.  You don’t have to read it.  I just need it to be here.

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  I am not really sure how to write a Eulogy.  The last few folks in my life that passed on did so while I was either really young, or while I was so far separated from them, both physically, and socially, so I guess you can count me as lucky as I have not yet had to experience this sort of loss until now. Thanks for breaking the streak there dad!

  My father was a stubborn, sarcastic, so-and-so, and if my Wife and my Mother are to believed, it’s apparent that I am truly “My Fathers Son”.  But, You all probably know him best as the Pastor here. This is a job that he dove into roughly 8 years ago and in one respect it made talking to him somewhat difficult.  Not for any bad reason, just that he was so excited about it, he just wouldn’t shut up about it.  “Hey dad, how are things up there?” “Things are great, I’m a pastor now!” “Yeah dad, we know, you’ve told us….a lot”. Now, one of the things I have always admired about him was his ability to put others first.  This is something that I have always tried to incorporate into my life.  The ability to look at a situation and see what it is that everyone else needs, and then when all that is said and done, what it that I need.  That’s just how he looked at things.  For example, my Mother and I were looking around the house at what he left behind and remarked about how little physically he had.  What was left was a few books, lots of papers, and a little bit of himself in every person in this room.  Knowing him, I am guessing he would be ok with you all taking that bit home and keeping it.

I am also not a religious person, yet this did not stop my dad and I from having a number of conversations about mankind and beliefs.  Most of the time this was while I was driving home from work and had a few min (or hours, traffic in VA is kinda hit and miss).  These conversations would usually start with the usual how you doin, and then from there lead into various topics that really ranged from simple photography, to in depth philosophical analysis of why humans are on this earth. (There may have been some about aliens too). Most of these had us on opposite sides of the fence, but, being “My Fathers Son”, I am pretty sure I was right, especially since he is not here to contest it now.

One of the latest conversations we had was about his degree program.  He was desperately trying to get his Bachelors degree in Divinity, something he has spent many many years working on. You all may think that he wanted to get his degree to be a respected member of society and be looked upon as a scholar in his field. In truth, he and I have been in a race to be the only ones in the family to gain our Bachelors, and he was just trying to catch up.  Although, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting that his final assignment would have been an in depth analysis of the hereafter.  Well, knowing him the way I do, I am pretty sure he passed that final exam and as far as I am concerned, he and I are tied.  Now, if we can just get mom to dissect that frog so she can catch up.

My father had a favorite joke.  He told this one to pretty much everyone so I am sure you have heard it.  Socrates was a famous atheist, But, It’s rumored that whenever he would pass a church, he would do the sign of the cross.  People would come up to him as ask him “ If you don’t believe in God, why do you make the sign of the cross when you pass a church?”  To which Socrates would reply with a shrug “Meh, I may be wrong!”

So many of our other conversations stemmed from our religious differences. And while personally, I may believe that until it happens, none of us really know what goes on after we pass, I know that my father truly believed in heaven and I know that, if he was right, he will meet me there with a warm hug and a hearty and well meaning “I told you so”.

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He will be missed.

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  1. Really sorry for your family’s loss. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Sorry for your loss, condolences to you and your family. Stay strong and let me know if there’s anything I can do.

  3. Steve, I enjoyed reading about your dad. I’m praying that your February will be less burdensome, stressful and complicated to that you can continue to process all this. Blessings!

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