"Sometimes the lights all shinin on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been."
- Jerry Garcia
Connecticut, in my childhood home, was the last place I expected to be this summer. Especially in the midst of so much change in my adult home in Texas. Emily was packing up for college, Kev and I nervously approaching empty nest status, and so many plans in the making. But the late night call came. My Dad was in the hospital with an aortic aneurism. I was on the first plane north, while Kev and Em would take on move-in day without me. The two weeks ahead would hold heartbreaks,tears, prayers, resolutions, and a permanent change in my soul.
I've always loved my parents. I've always known they love each other. But life or death situations have a way of bringing out truest words and "don't hold back" feelings. In the days before surgery, we filled nervous hours with our appreciation for one another. In the hours before the operation, our tones became a bit more serious, and in the delicate hours following surgery the most beautiful emotions emerged. I thought I might be reading into what I was seeing but my sister-in-law saw the same picture. Though my Dad wasn't able to speak or open his eyes, my parents spoke with the subtle touch of their hands. These were the gentle touches that assured one another they were together, they were alive, and everything would be ok; their wordless connections perfected over 46 years of marriage.
Within two weeks, everything I thought I knew, arrogances I held, and childish misconceptions I hoarded over the years all fell away, were disproven, stripped down until only love and faith remained. I saw in my parents the love I have for Kevin- the willingness to see through together whatever life brings. A total acceptance of the other. A bond necessary for a full life. Without one, the other is but a shell.
My Dad is well on his way to full recovery. Despite the hospital setting, and missing Emily's move-in day at UIW, the two weeks in Connecticut were magical life lessons that I will bring home to Texas. Most importantly, I learned to appreciate Kevin and Emily not only as my husband and daughter but as individual people with their own identities and their own stories to tell.
The easiest way for me to sum it all up is this: Enjoy this life. Cherish the people with whom you share it. Don't hold back on love, kind words and laughter. It is the stuff that makes this life so alive. Find the answers you seek. Ask the questions that scare you the most. Share your story for it is not the great deeds that are treasured,but the small steps we make everyday.
LOVE & LESSONS LEARNED