I pressed close, wishing I could give them to him without all the pain and terror of surgery, but I couldn't. The tumor had grown too big. The doctors gave him 2 weeks to live without intervention.
So, on a brutally cold Thursday morning, I gave him one last hug and sent him off with a nurse to the OR. And then the wait began. Four of his five children met that wait the only way we knew how-- through laughter and endless stories. When time dragged, we dug out our smartphones and delved into our collective Youtube favs to shed the pall lingering over that dismal gray waiting room.
We faced the unknown together, knowing we were honoring the man who raised us.
The room grew sparser as loved ones collected loves ones, leaving us sitting waiting, wondering and praying for news that our pop would get five more years. 10 hours later, we met with the surgeon who informed us dad had survived the surgery. Time would tell if he would survive the recovery.
I didn't want that news. I didn't want to wait--it was like I was holding my breath. I wanted him to say everything was going to be just fine. I wanted the happy ending now.
Flash forward. Through the weeks of visiting pop at the hospital, I put my life on hold. Not one word written. Not one thought shed to anything but helping my dad navigate the confusing care choices and rough bumps that sent him spiraling downhill.
I know the day he turned the corner. The day his 85 year old girlfriend visited, Henry began fighting back. He walked when the doctor said walked, and ate what they brought him though his appetite was gone.
Flash forward to today. Dad's in rehab. Looks like he'll be home in a few weeks. Looks like Pop will get those five years.
I'm releasing that breath now. I'm writing this post. I began writing on a new draft of Fairless today. And, God willing, I'll have a book to hand to my dad before that five years is up.
I wish you all the best, through life, almost death and writing-