Meet Alton, my father in law.
I can still see my daughter crawling all over him as he lay on the floor with her.
He had just shy of a year to be her grandpa, and then it happened.
I will never forget January 28 for as long as I live.
He happened to be in the basement of our house.
I was just about to head down the stairs, when "something" held me back. Like an angel. All I knew is that the steps were guarded and I could not get through. I obeyed and stayed with my daughter.
Not long after...maybe 30 seconds...someone drove in.
The way down the stairs was paved, and I immediately made my descent.
"What's wrong with Alton? Is he sleeping? I could see him in the window," this man questioned as he entered the basement door.
Something was wrong.
Running into the office, there he was, slumped in his chair.
"Help me get him to the floor and call 911. Tell them that I am starting CPR. My daughter is upstairs. Go take care of her," I ordered.
The man did as I asked, trembling and sweating as he dialed.
"Do you know what you are doing?" was all I remember him saying.
Relief saturated his sweating face as the shrill of my pager went off.
Back then, I worked on an ambulance. I carried my beeper with me everywhere. Though loud, it comforted me knowing my crew was coming.
Pumping his chest, I counted out loud.
15 and 2. No...maybe 30 and 1. The numbers from training raced through my mind. I thought I had him as I wiped the bile from his stomach on my arm, not caring about the smell or the taste.
My crew arrived and kicked me out of the room.
"I want to stay. I have him. I got a breath. Let me help," I begged.
He didn't survive.
Those were hard days. I try not to think so much about his last minutes, but more about his life.
He lived it well.
I am grateful for his legacy. I know he is watching over my family. He never got to meet our son, but I know for sure he winks at him and our daughter daily from his perch up there in heaven.
I like to think he is their angel.