As the big hand roles around to 11 p.m., the opinions editor begins to lose his concentration. It could be the late hour or maybe the odd stench seeping from his under arms. On the other hand, it could be the twins, who have mercilessly ranted for the past nine hours and hurled random objects at his head. No matter what the hour, their spirits never deter almost to a near annoying extent. Sisters Courtney and Kristen Lundgren have chosen to live each day to the best of their ability, and at the same time, make their father proud.
“My dad was the funniest person I have ever known,” said sophomore Courtney Lundgren. “He was a single parent raising three kids for 14 years and was still the most positive person I’ve ever met. I loved him more than anything in the entire world.”
During the summer of 2003, Courtney and Kristen’s father, John Lundgren, had returned from dropping off his daughters at a coworker’s house to babysit when he suffered a sudden stroke and brain aneurysm. The twins neared the emergency room with the confidence that their father, in his joking nature, would snap a sarcastic comment as they walked through the door. Yet his motionless figure was a sight they swear they’ll never forget.
“It was an image that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life,” Kristen explained. “When we walked into the emergency room, we saw him laying lifeless with his eyes closed. He was hooked up to several different machines that were keeping him alive. Courtney and I both started screaming and crying. We didn’t know or understand what was going on because he was feeling fine that morning.”
Due to their distraught nature, a hospital employee immediately rushed the girls to a private room where they were reunited with their brother who had experienced the entire ordeal.
“My brother was white as a ghost. I had never seen a look like that on anybody’s face,” said Courtney.
As the day went on, their father was moved into intensive care. It was then that they got to see and talk to their unconscious dad.
“When we were talking to him, it almost seemed like he could hear us. His vital signs would improve and his eye lids appeared to flutter when we spoke to him. We don’t know if it was wishful thinking or just the body’s natural reaction, but I like to think that he was actually responding to us,” said Kristen.
Later on that night, the siblings were reunited with their grandparents and uncle who had immediately taken the first flight that they could from Cleveland, OH.
“It was such a relief to see a familiar family face. When we saw them coming down the hall, we all ran to their arms and just started crying,” said Courtney.
Throughout the night, their father showed no improvements regarding his health. After a sleepless night, they returned the next morning with a special present for their father.
“My dad was an avid baseball memorabilia and card collector. There was a pocket in his hospital gown, so we went and bought him some cards to put in that pocket. We thought that he would get a kick out of them being there when he saw them when he woke up.” explained Courtney.
To their devastation, this was one of the last times that they would get to see their dad.
“We were sitting in the waiting room when the doctor called my grandma over. He started whispering, so we knew that it wasn’t good. She turned around and just looked at us. She told my brother, sister and I to follow her. We went back into the room where my dad was and it was there that we were told we had to say our final goodbyes,” said Courtney “I can remember repeating as I hugged him that I wanted to go with him.”
The twins and their brother lost their father at such a young age. Although they admit that it was the most traumatic loss they’ve experienced, they firmly believe that the event has only made them stronger throughout their college career and with life in general.
“We don’t want people to feel sorry for us,” said Kristen. “It was an unfortunate event that has forever changed our lives and has taught us to never take things for granted. As the old saying goes, ‘You never know what you have until it’s gone.’ I’m forever grateful for the times that we did get to share with him. My siblings and I just hope that he is proud of us.”