There comes a time when despite your best efforts to avoid further chaos in your life, you are faced with a crisis. Regardless of your emotional state, you have to find a way to maintain your sanity and weather the storm. In my case, it just so happens that this crisis involved my father. He will be turning 85 on September 20th. As far as someone who is 84 is concerned, he is in good health. However, he does suffer with terrible memory loss, and has occasionally been known to pass out. A few weeks ago, for a reason that is unclear, he proceeded down to the basement in his house, lost his balance, and fell. The floor in the basement is essentially concrete. By the time I heard about it, he was in the ER at the hospital nearby, and was just a mess.
Ever since my mom passed away, and I was institutionalized, I find it extremely difficult to set foot in any hospital. Let alone the one that had me committed. Walking into that place brought back every unpleasant feeling that I had been trying to avoid. On top of those feelings of sheer terror, and the burning in my stomach, you can add the fear that I was also going to lose my dad. I’m just not ready for that. I know nobody is ever ready to lose a loved one, but since I still haven’t recovered from losing my mom and my brother, I am even less likely to recover from the loss of my father.
Thankfully, when I entered the ER where he was being treated, I knew that he was awake and fairly aware. He was confused, and kept talking about strange things. However, judging by the enormous cut on his head, and his torn up little body, this was no shock to me. I so wanted to stay with him, and talk him through this. Yet, I so needed to get out of there. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. Knowing that you can’t be there for someone 100% because you are so lost in the maze of your own fears.
Since that day, my dad has been moved a couple of times, and has had surgery on his neck. They removed 4 sections of his neck and replaced them with metal rods. Had he not had the surgery, and he fell again, he would have been paralyzed. His current status is that he has physical therapy every day. He is in a neck brace, his right hand is broken, and his left hand still hasn’t returned to a functional state.
Every time we go see him, he recalls a letter that I wrote him this year for Father’s Day. I decided that I wasn’t going to get him a card, I was going to write him a heartfelt letter. Apparently, he had forgotten about it, and discovered it on his desk a few days before his accident. He cries every time he recalls my words. He said to me, “Boy, you’re a real writer. I didn’t know you felt that way. I feel the same way about you”. Despite myself, I had to smile. I knew that now he was truly aware of my feelings for him. The best part? I knew that he was proud of me, and now looked at me in a new way, because he knows I have writing skills. What an amazing gift to receive through such a tragedy.
I still have tremendous difficulty going to see him. It’s very hard to see the one person that has always been your Superman, in that state. Not to mention, I have to deal with the possibility of seeing family members that I have severed ties with. If I can’t get there to see him, we call him and one of the nurses holds the phone up to his ear. We are hoping he is released before his birthday. I am working through my fear, and with the support of my husband, I hope to come to terms with the situation. I love my father, and I am grateful that he now knows without a shadow of a doubt how much.
True strength is not necessarily found where you would hope. It is found in the subtle nuances of your daily life. Every day that you wake up, and summon the energy to live, you are finding strength. Now that you have lived through another catastrophe, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Dedicated to the memory of
Thank you for the laughter. You will be missed.
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