If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you know that my Dad has a terminal illness, Interstitial Lung Disease. This basically means that he has scar tissue forming on his lungs. It is progressive and eventually it will kill him. He has already outlived the average life span for someone post-diagnosis by taking really good care of himself. However, over the past few weeks we’ve seen him go seriously downhill, and from Thursday to Friday he went from having a slight cold to serious pneumonia and having to be hospitalized. He was sicker than I’d ever seen him before, not able to communicate with us, just opening his eyes briefly and then falling back to sleep. I thought that this was “it”. After two antibiotic infusions and several breathing treatments, he improved dramatically, but he’s still in the hospital. Regardless, we know that it’s just a matter of months, or less.
Seeing someone you love and knowing that they will soon cease to be alive is so acutely painful, it’s almost numbing. After all I’ve been through with my illness, I’ve ceased believing in God or any Loving Presence that wants the best for us. However, I can’t help but pray for my Dad. I’m asking his previously passed sisters to come and be by his side. I wish I could have a sign that they’re here with him. I want him to be comforted. He has been such a tremendous caretaker and provider for his wife and six kids, I know he doesn’t want to leave us. He needs to know that we will be ok. For me in particular, as sick as I have been with my Bipolar, I need to let him know that I will be ok once he’s gone.
I’ve found Dad’s hospitalization and near-death to be extremely stressful, but I’m coping. I’m still stable. I’m lucky enough to have some mechanisms in place to help me deal with the feelings. I have close, supportive sisters. I exercise. I take time to myself. I write. Sometimes, I just sit down and cry. And that’s appropriate.
I don’t know how much longer I get to have my Dad alive, but I want to be brave enough to be with him, and be with him with an open heart. I want to be brave enough to talk with him about death, if he wants to. I want to honestly reassure him that I will be ok, and then back that promise up with positive action. This is one of those times where life isn’t easy, and the most important thing is to be present for the moment. I’m hoping to put into practice every life lesson I’ve learned so far, to be my best me. For my Dad.