My father and I share the same eyes, hair color, and the family pre-disposition to poke fun at everything, no matter the situation, regardless of social etiquette. So it seems fair that in this morning's conversation I jokingly accused him of attention seeking while he referenced Monty Python's Holy Grail with a slurred holler, "Bring out yer dead!" Normal banter, but bittersweet today as he was flown by helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital in the wee hours of the morning with an aneurism. I missed the frantic overnight call from my Mom but I was relieved this morning to hear everyone alert and as calm as one can be given the circumstances. I have never been so painfully aware of every mile between Texas and Connecticut. To end the call knowing I am at least 24 hours of travel away from home, hollowed like an internal sink hole of desperation.
The seconds between noticing that out of place missed call at 12:39 a.m. until hearing my Mom's voice felt like slow motion running in mud. It's like a nightmare being chased by all the negative outcomes and fears of what she'll say, how her voice will sound, or even who will answer at the other end. With every phone ring I found myself saying, "no, no, no,no,no!!!" Louder and louder, my dogs bewildered at my feet. And then the huge relieved sigh when I hear her: voice steady, matter of fact, with that barely noticeable trace of panic (my Mom wears stress like everyday shoes!), "Yes, your Dad is stable, awaiting surgery and complaining because he can't have a snack or a cigarette." Yep. That's my Dad!
Over the past weeks, I've watched my friends go through long hospital scenarios with their husbands, mothers, and even one dear friend who unexpectedly lost her father just a few days ago. People in my family tend to stay healthy well into their 90's, so I have had the privilege of avoiding such heartaches until now. It's a very different empathy today than I had yesterday. The understanding of potential loss, things left unsaid, minutes and hours taken for granted. All the memories floating in like an old-timey snapshot slideshow as we wait for the doctor's next words.
So to all my friends that have struggled over long hospital hours, for the ones still fighting for their loved ones, for a special mouse-maker who continues to be a champion for her husband, and my dear friend who sadly will attend her father's funeral today; I reinforce my hugs, strengthen my prayers for you and understand with a fuller heart.
LOVE & PRAYERS!