Clement F. Marus Jr. 1939-2005

by Peter Marus

This week has been the worst week I have ever had to endure.  My father passed away in his sleep early Monday morning.  I heard a sickening thud from my parent’s room and my mom was screaming for me.  I go into the room to find my father on the floor motionless and my mom losing it.  She called 911 as I was doing CPR on my dad.  After 5 minutes (but felt like 20) the EMTs, Fire Dept., and police were in my house working on him.  God bless these men because they worked their asses off for almost an hour.  In the end though they couldn’t revive him.  I don’t remember much of the next 48 hours, which I was awake through the entire time.  I still am haunted by the whole night, and I’m sure it will stay with me forever.  The only thing I can take from all this is that I am glad he died in his sleep at home, rather than suffered in pain for a long time in a hospital bed, which I have seen too many people go through.  He was so happy and excited with his job situation, and he was seriously thinking of retiring after next year.  My mom is right when she said that we were cheated.  But on the other hand, I always believe God gives you a certain amount of time on this planet to prove yourself to make it to heaven, and my dad I feel did that and much more

The next several days, my family stayed with us in shifts, my mom’s sisters were always in the house and my cousins would stop in at night to make sure we were cool.  My sister was the one handling everything as far as most of the arraignments with my dad’s job and other issues that had to be done.  My father sat her down one night and told her what exactly to do in case something like this happened.  My mom wasn’t taking all this well at first, but she eventually found the strength to make it through it all.  I also was like a rock through all this and I’m just now starting to realize what is going on.  The wake proved to me who in my family really loved the man, and also showed me all the friends he had.  It was an amazing site and one that made me feel even more proud of my father.  We had the mass and the burial Friday, where it snowed all morning, but when we got to the cemetery, it was sunny.  The person form the funeral home handling the services at the cemetery ended the service with the Irish Blessing.  My mom was so pleased to hear it, and I swear my dad did that just to tell my mom it’s going to be all right (and I think he made the sun shine as well).  

Today my sister and I started to get most of the decorations up in the house, something my dad would have wanted.   He never could stand families that wouldn’t celebrate the holidays in their house if there was a death close to the holidays.  My mom also mentioned that we will still have Christmas at our house this year, again because it would be something my dad would want.  I’m proud of my mom for this, and I feel motivated to make the house look as good as my dad does for the holidays.

This whole thing made me realize how much for granted I took the fact that my dad always called my cousins and other relatives. Another thing that made me feel like this was seeing some of my relatives that came into town for my father’s funeral (one came form Denver to represent my aunt and uncle, which really put him high up on my “cool” list).  I now realize that I should make sure that I continue to keep in contact with them.  I’m going to start this with my Christmas cards this year, where I will put all my contact information in it as well as mention a person thank you for being there for myself and my family through all this.  I also decided that when I get the money, I plan to get a PDA/Blackberry device so I can have all their info with me in one spot (and also have it as a newer cell phone, my old one is getting beaten up).  

How am I handling all that has happened?  OK I guess.  I am starting to realize what is happening.  The past week was such a blur and I was so focused to make sure my sister and mom were ok, and I have yet to rally start to grieve.  I have had some small moments where I felt it really hit me, but I have yet to have the full impact.  The other night I was in the basement getting my laundry from the machine, where I saw my dad’s tool-chest and realized “My god, those are all mine now!”  This is a big deal to me, since a good part of those tools are also my grandfathers’, and I cherish them and hold those tools in a mindset that those are a part of my family’s history.  Tonight before I started writing this, those questions started to creep into my head: What the hell do I do now? How am I going to get through all this? How am I going to make sure that everything is fine and that money wise I can help support this house?  I haven’t dwelled on these questions yet since I don’t feel ready yet.  This week I hope to get a lot of the loose ends all done with my mom, and maybe the week after I can get back to a job or something (my agency has been real cool with the whole situation, saying when I am ready to call them for work).  

I don’t’ know what’s next for me, but I hope that there is something in the cards of life that will help me feel better and secure in all that I do.  I am supposed to be the rock in the family, but it’s hard to be when the foundation is taken from under me without warning.   To steal a cliché, I just have to take all this one day at a time.  

I ask all of you to do this: next time you see your parents, hug them and make sure you spend as much time as you can, because you never know how much more time you have with them