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On a Sunday night in July, I saw my dad die.

We argued over trivial details that afternoon (McDonald's, buses and the weather), and reached a moment of comfortable detachment within an awkward silence. Afterwards, he was preparing a snack for himself. I was texting someone. He asked if I wanted to watch a film. I said that'd be great.

Within a minute, I heard him cough. This was not unusual, but then I heard him struggle to force out the words "Lily*, I'm having an attack."

I jumped up and ran immediately to him, phone at ready to dial emergency services. Then I saw the blood.

As I was on the phone to paramedics, I stayed calm. I don't know how. I gave every piece of information required with perfect control and detail, as I watched blood pouring - like a tap on full blast, like a waterfall - out of my dad's mouth and into the kitchen sink. Some of it bright, some of it dark, some of it thick like tar, some of it clotted and clumped. It just kept coming.

I confirmed he was alive. I confirmed he could hear me. I confirmed he had a pulse.

Until he slumped backwards, and slid down to his bottom, leaning back against the oven. He wasn't breathing anymore. His skin began to turn purple. The blood flooded down his shirt, then clotted around his mouth. The life left his eyes. They were wide. They were wild. They were frightened. They were shocked and pained and scared.

I struggled to drag him flat onto his back. I have spastic hemiplegia, which makes one entire side of my body almost completely useless. It spasmed and curled like a foetus as I began one-handed chest compressions. I compressed the wrong locations, but I kept going. I was pleading and exhausted and drenched in blood, but I kept going until the ambulance arrived.

They did everything. They were amazing. By the time they drained his airways of the blood, however, it was far too late.

Truthfully, the moment he left, I knew that was it - he was gone. I knew he wasn't coming back. I knew there was no way of surviving something like that.

I kept my composure all night. I was the strong one among weeping neighbours and friends congregating during the commotion. I was the one who dealt with the coroners, the police, the ambulance services. I touched his hand and kissed his forehead and stroked his cheek before they took him away from me. He felt so cold.

I showered twice, but I still feel the blood. I feel it on my arm and shoulder. I feel it across my chest. I feel it matted in my hair and I can taste it in my mouth.

On a Sunday night in July, I saw my dad die, and he took my soul with him.
:icondonotuseplz::iconmyartplz:

*Name was changed.

This isn't a story. This happened. Feedback and constructive criticism is welcome and encouraged, but please deliver it bearing this in mind.

I am beginning the process of writing a biography consisting of many short, true stories. I would greatly appreciate any guidance at all.

Areas I would like feedback on:
:bulletblack: How is the flow/pace? Does this need to be longer or shorter?
:bulletblack: Is any of the imagery clichéd?
:bulletblack: Does the imagery work for this piece? Is it too strong?
:bulletblack: I feel this piece needs to be elaborated on. For me, it feels incomplete. Did you feel this from reading it?

My critique for theWrittenRevolution was for this wonderful piece:
fav.me/dckd48y

Thank you!
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:iconalapip:
alapip Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I'm sorry for your loss, and the trauma of it.

Your dad is gone, but his love remains.
Remember him well and treasure the
good times. The randomness of life took
him away. It of course feels personal,
but it's not. Time will pass. You'll miss
him less. Allow this. It is natural. Our
minds are self protective. :nod: pip
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:iconpearwood:
pearwood Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh, wow. Beautifully done. You are a strong and fragile person, like most of the rest of us. :hug;
Blessings,
Steve
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:iconkoi--no--yokan:
Koi--No--Yokan Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2018  Student Writer
Thank you so much Steve! :hug:
Reply
:iconochaun:
ochaun Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2018
I had to go through a similar experience with my mother. She was having a heart attack. She survived though, and there wasn't any...blood.

- I don't see any problem with the flow. Shorter would diminish the experience, longer would feel inappropriate somehow, like adding unnecessary details to it that would rob away from the raw emotion and trauma you are trying to convey.

- Nothing here seems cliché because I wouldn't even know what to compare it with to make that determination. I don't think this kind of prose would suffer from something like that, not when you are able to take what happened, what you felt and...everything else, and tell it in such direct and searing detail.

- It needs to be strong, otherwise it wouldn't work. It's fine.

- I can imagine why it would feel incomplete. You could probably write an entire novel on that event and it would still feel incomplete. This particular piece is fine though, as I stated previously. It's long enough to deliver the inkling of a punch to the gut you were dealt with but not too long to weaken the blow.

I'm so sorry for your loss and the circumstances in which it happened, it's terrible.
I often think that someone's creativity comes out and flourishes in times of duress. It's a big price to pay to learn how to transfer one's passion and raw emotion into works of creativity though.
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