Last night I sat on the couch in silence after putting children to bed, and as the stillness enveloped me I found my mind able to ponder the day. Though I tried to keep it occupied with mindless folly via Facebook I couldn’t help but notice the mood that permeated my thoughts, and as I sat in the dim living room with my husband I felt the fear creeping into my heart. I was worried about my daddy.
All day I had pushed away any real concern. I had made it move over to make way for logical thought. I brushed over my emotions with my own nursey questions, and I had approached the entire happening of my father’s hospitalization with a medical mindset. It was a light stroke, or something like that since we didn’t really know, nothing to get up in arms about, but I guess after a full day of smiling strongly I was feeling a bit weak.
This morning when I woke the reality of my dad laying in a hospital bed surrounded me, and I realized that even though my nurse brain knew he was stable, my daughter mind was worried about him. I couldn’t lose him.
It didn’t matter that I knew he wasn’t knocking at death’s door. What seemed to matter was that I knew death came like a thief in the night, and ever since it had stole my mother before I was ready to say goodbye, things had changed. My perception had changed after we buried my mom, and I couldn’t pretend that the people I loved would always be with me. I knew that accidents happened, that sickness befell the strongest of individuals, and that once someone was gone you no longer had the luxury of picking up the phone to say hello. No matter how much you wanted to.
My dad was going to be okay, my logical mind told me so, but my daughter broken-heart whispered the things I didn’t want to hear, the rampant, rambling thoughts I normally kept hidden way down deep. I knew the pain of losing one parent, and something about that hard knock opens your eyes to the gift of life still lived around you. And anything that threatened to rock that boat was a hard pill to swallow.
I wasn’t ready to see my strong father lying weak in a hospital bed. I wasn’t prepared to watch him have difficulty swallowing, or to realize he couldn’t remember speaking with me the day before. I didn’t like the tired look in his eyes, and as I stood there looking at his heavy lids droop I just wanted to crawl into his lap like I did when I was little. I needed him to hold me more than ever. But his right arm was too weak.
Even now I sit crying as I hold my own daughter in my lap, and I’m ambushed by emotion at the idea of my strong tower suddenly so frail. I realize I wasn’t ready to go visit my dad in the hospital, and the pain I still feel over my mother passing makes kissing his cheek and leaving his side even harder than it would have been before.
My only solace at a world overcome by sickness and death is the strong arms of my Heavenly Father that hold me so tight when my earthy father is far too tired to do the same. Right now I know my daddy will be okay, and though this scared me some, I know he always will be. Our Abba Father holds him too.
What I do know is that already having one parent who has died opens your eyes to what’s before you. It makes you appreciate the people still in your life, and hug them a little tighter than you might have before. It causes you to hold that embrace a little bit longer, and brush a kiss on prickly cheeks more often. You hold that sleepy gaze a moment more, and you linger for a minute before you walk out the door.
It also awakens you to where you have been lacking, all the ways you’ve let life get so busy that you forget to frequently tell the people who are most dear to you, “I love you so much.”
I’m glad it’s not too late.
So you tell them that you care, and you decide to appreciate them more. You thank God for daddies, and for mommies too, for time and relationships, and for every moment you are given together. You thank God for Heaven, and especially that death never wins. You wait expectantly and patiently for a reunion that awaits like no other. You see more readily the gift of one another, and you cherish each and every day that you are given.