Photo by Julien Orliac on Unsplash

Family Dreams

Brenda Wiley-Suddarth

I took my father to the VA Medical Center in Allen Park, Michigan, in May 1990, after he suffered a massive heart attack at his apartment. In June, the doctors diagnosed stage 4 pancreatic cancer and gave him less than 6 months to live.

One night, I dreamed my dad was sitting in a barber shop on a bench between two men, when suddenly a man entered the shop and shot my dad. I saw him fall over onto the man on his right, then I woke up. It was 5:30 a.m., and I had to get up soon to go to school because I was taking nursing classes.

I decided to check in on him on the way home from school. Dad was now in hospice at the VA Medical Center with pancreatic cancer and heart failure. It was July 1990. As I entered the hospital room and saw the empty bed, my heart dropped.

His nurse explained that he had coded at 5:30 that morning and they needed to know if he still wanted to be resuscitated if he were to code again. I found him resting quietly in the intensive care unit.  He decided not to continue resuscitation and passed away quietly on July 16, three days after his 67th birthday on July 13, 1990, 30 minutes after our last visit.

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