In the middle of the night

I was 16 when my dad died out of nowhere in the middle of the night, 30 years ago on this day.

It was about 1am in the morning when the door to my bedroom burst open. My mom was in panic because my dad had made strange noises and she couldn’t get him to react.

I was instantly wide awake and ran downstairs to call the emergency.

When I came back, my dad had already stopped breathing. I tried to reanimate him but it didn’t work.

It took the emergency only 5 minutes to arrive at our house and they immediately started to reanimate, too. Seeing how frightened we were, they ordered us to leave the room and I remember my mother, my brother and myself lying in my bed, anxiously waiting and hearing the sounds from my parent’s bedroom.

It was too late. They tried everything, even after hope was lost. But they couldn’t get him back into life.

My mom froze. He was the love of her life. Being married myself to the love of my life I cannot even imagine how she felt in that moment.

The only thing she could manage after the doctor had gone was to call her best friend. It was the best thing she could have done in that moment.

Before morning broke, the message had spread through our village like wildfire. People came to our house from all directions. Friends. Neighbours. My mom’s brother and sister who live three hours away grabbed a bag and were with us by noon. My dad’s brother flew in by the evening.

We were not alone for a single second since that morning.

My father was a man who had a smile and a helping hand for everyone. I never saw him smile again. But we had so many hands who were there to help us and so many shoulders we could lean on.

I’m grateful to this day for the support we got through these times.

And to my father for being the man he was.

I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

My dad’s favourite song was “Bridge over troubled water”.

Today, I know why.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

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