December 30, 1995, a day that would forever change my life and how I look at the rest of the world.
At approximately 10 pm PST on that cool and foggy evening, in the center of the San Joaquin Valley in the small town of Madera, California, the sands of time stood still.
However, this story really started after the Christmas dinner at my sister’s house on December 25, 1995. It was after dinner that my sister was taking her son back to his place, she asked my Mom and Dad to ride in the car with her on this short journey. As they passed the Madera hospital my Dad started to complain about his chest hurting and he was sweating profusely. They immediately turned the car around and admitted Dad to the hospital.
Meanwhile I was in my house in Evergreen, Colorado not knowing these happenings. At about 4am on December 26th, I received a phone call from my brother stating that Dad had a heart attack, but he failed to stress the severity! I immediately decided to get a suitcase packed and get on a plane to Fresno, California. I had this uneasy feeling in my heart!
When I arrived at the Fresno airport, my nephew picked me up and rushed me to the Madera hospital where the family was by my Dad’s bed. Unbeknownst to me, Dad had been in coma since the wee hours of the morning! When I walked up to Dad’s bed, my brother whispered in my Dad’s ear, “Leon’s here”. With that announcement, Dad woke up from his coma!
Dad was lucid and was full of questions, which we answered truthfully. He was now aware of the severity of his heart attack. But by late afternoon he lapsed back into a coma and was later put on a respirator.
That was the last time that I got to talk to him. For four days I watched Dad labor with the respirator in his breathing. His toughness showed through, he wanted to live, he was a fighter!
On the fifth day the doctor advised us that the respirator was not helping him any more and that when the respirator would be removed, Dad would pass away very quickly.
Well, we were hesitant to take Dad off the respirator. When we did take him off, he still was struggling to live! So we brought in a “boombox” and played some of our old time favorite “gospel music” for him to listen to. It worked he still was alive! However about 10pm we had ran out of music to play and his breathing had become more laborious.
As my brother Jerry and I were at his bedside, the end for my Dad, Archie Wilson Hammack came! It was about 10pm December 30, 1995.
I had never witnessed a person’s dying breath, but that night I witnessed my Father’s dying breath! That event, on that cool foggy evening of December 30,1995, will forever remain a vivid memory with me until I take my very last breath!
So when I get where I’m going, I am going to give my Dad a great big hug and tell him how much I have missed him since he left us!
Click on the Brad Paisley video below, “When I Get Where I Am Going’