Mom and I were driven to the hospital by the local pastor of the Methodist Church, who was also the Emergency services Chaplain. After the ambulance left with sirens blaring and lights fully on we were told it was a good sign it meant they'd gotten a heart beat back. I prayed all the way to the hospital he would be OK, but deep down I knew what that feeling had meant. He was gone.
The youngish ER doctor came into the waiting room with his scrubs and white coat. His brownish hair tussled a bit and stethoscope hanging from his pocket. Pastor G, Mom and I had been waiting a good while for news about Dad. I couldn't fully control my tears, try as I might I could not control them on the four mile drive to the hospital or in the waiting room.
As the doctor began to speak, I could tell the news wasn't good. He went through this long explanation and the big words “myocardial infarction” which from all the reading I had done I knew meant heart attack. The doctor explained that whilst they were able to get Dad's heart going for transport, he was in fact DOA. They had worked on Dad in the ER, but gave up far past the time they would normally have done, that is why the doctor took so long coming out to us. Once he was done, I asked “Did Daddy suffer at all?” and he said no, probably he was gone before his head hit the snow. I thought back to those minutes working on Dad and that just didn't feel right to me at the time. I tried to dismiss the feelings, but couldn't.
Now I see it as I have learned over the years. No Dad didn't suffer. He was probably unconscious as his head hit the snow but he was still tethered to his body and life at that time. Somewhere between those minutes and when I was working on him, he or Creator and he decided it was time to go.
Sometimes we're given choices on when we can go, sometimes we know best in that realm that no matter how much we want to stay for our loved ones, it's really best for everyone that we go to the other side, crossing that eternal veil. We here might not always see it that way, but I know from what those on the other side have told me over the years, this is a decision many face at that time.