Monday had been marred with stress already when I got the news that my Dad had a heart attack. Being the first time my Dad has really ever been at a point where he was actually down and out, I was thoroughly shocked. And a little scared. Okay, a lot scared.
I finally got to see him today, all snuggled up in a hospital bed, wrapped in those crunchy, unsoft hospital blankets, wrapped in light from the huge windows, spearing watermelon and fake eggs with a stainless steel fork. He was quiet, and soft spoken. His jokes came, as they always did, but the delivery was less than boisterous. It was then that it hit me. My Dad was human. Vincible. Not INvincible. Not eternal. He was very real. Very human. Prone to crazy things like getting sick, and having heart attacks, and being betrayed by his body, a body that was always fit and in shape. That man that always seemed to stand against anything and succeed….was laying in a bed, trying to get back up as quickly as possible.
I don’t know why, but when I got down to my car, and looked at my hands, I started to cry. I know it’s warranted, healthy even, to process emotions. And I know I’m not the first person to shed tears aplenty in that hospital parking lot. I bet some other person was also sitting behind the wheel of their car, hands gripping on to the steering wheel, as if squeezing it would give them the answers, or at least the solace they so desired.
But life’s funny that way, I guess. One minute, you’re fighting personal demons, thinking about how much you need to do, mentally calculating how many weddings you need to book in order to travel to Ireland and capture thick green hills and crashing waves and old cobblestones, the next, you’re calling siblings, making sure they have someone to hold on to, and making sense of the madness, and trying to quell the overwhelming desire to drive 150 MPH all the way to the hospital.
I guess I’m writing here because words make more sense than swirling heart ache. Typing it out makes more sense than thinking it and trying to make sense of it all in my head. Transparency, and responding in love, my two mantras, have always served to give me solace, peace, and answers when I needed them, so I use them now.
So today, I’m holding myself. I’m allowing myself to have moments to feel it out, to let the emotions wash over me, to accept that we’re all getting older, that life has a cycle, that fear and anger are emotions with as much right to exist as love and graciousness. I’m reminding myself that I don’t have to have all the answers. But even more importantly, I’m reminding myself that I’m not in control. It doesn’t have to be okay by me….I just have to tip my hat at it. It’s a lesson that keeps lapping at my toes, like a tide rushing in to smooth and refine the sand. I have no control. And even if I hate it, sometimes, just knowing it’s a thing is all I need.
And I’m gonna make more time to be with my family, regardless of the fact that we’re hours apart. Distance is nothing compared to the missed memories I was regretting as I waited to hear how he was doing. My Dad, thankfully, is made of crazy strong stuff (he’d have to be, to drive himself to the hospital while having a heart attack), and he’s already chomping at the bit to go back and do more fishing. I love my Dad, and my family, and I need to make sure I let them know it, not just with words, but with actions too.
❤ Thanks for letting me share my heart here, captive audience. Now go hug a family member or a pet or a piece of furniture. Something. Go on! Get!