Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Shower the People....
The waiting area in the Cardiac Care unit was full...
Mainly with my family...
My brother and my sisters and me.
For the first time I could ever remember, the six of us were there without a parent.
One had been taken to the back of the unit about thirty minutes before, and the other awaited in another part of the hospital on our return with a full report of her progress.
I was able to go back to see her for a second, and I could tell when my sister looked up, she thought I was there to "run her out", as we had done all morning, since she was only allowed one of us at time until they took her for surgery.
I just winked at her and approached the bed where my mother lay.
I reached out and touched her hand.
"Hey. How are you?"
In true mother-fashion, she reassured me, "I'm fine. I'm just fine," in the best slurred voice she could manage.
"Hmmm. Did they give you some valium?"
(Now, people, comments like THIS one are why my mother cracks me up!)
"Yeah, they did. I guess they have to get you drunk when you're in here. I mean, really, what would you do just laying around her for hours if they didn't make it fun?"
My sister and I just glanced at one another and giggled at her.
"I guess you're right! It'd be a pretty long morning otherwise, wouldn't it?"
"Yep." Her hands motioned toward the beside table, "Look. Take my glasses and put them in my blue bag."
"OK. I will."
"OK. In my blue bag."
"I know, Mother. I'll take care of it."
"OK. Just don't forget. I'll need them later. Well, if I don't die, I guess."
So, I teased her...
"Well, I'll just lay them somewhere and if you make it out of surgery, I'll put them in your bag."
She scolded me. "Put those glasses in my bag."
"I will, Mother."
I continued on, "I'm gonna go on over to the other tower and check on Pop. It's getting lunchtime and someone needs to be there to feed him. They'll call me when your surgery starts and I'll come back, ok?"
"Yeah. Check on your daddy. He's probably pretty worried."
"Ok. I'll see you when you get out, ok?"
"Ok. Now, Pam, put those glasses in my blue bag."
"Good bye, Mother. I'm giving your glasses to a blind homeless person....."
I started the trek to his room, which by the end of the day, I determined was 212 miles, with anticipation.
It's a strange sensation having both your parents in the same building for different ailments...
When you're there with one, you're feeling guilty because you're not with the other one, so you move on to the next room, only to find out that within 15 minutes, the same "antsy" feeling is in your legs, making you want to get up and walk to the next room...
So, you make that hike 10 times in the day...
Each of them waiting on a report of what you found in the room you just left...
Over and over and over again.
When I walked in my dad's room and saw him for the first time, without the "full effect" of all the family since it all happened, my heart fell in my chest.
So very frail...
So very vulnerable...
So very beautiful.
I sat down beside him and just took him in. In those few minutes, the last 25 years with him as my dad ran through my mind.
I was overcome with the amount of love he had jammed into those 25 years.
Raising adult children of another man could never have been easy for him, but he never complained.
For 25 years I have been the most loved "little girl" in the world.
With my natural father, I was never "Daddy's Girl"...
But, for the beautiful person I saw in front of me, I had been "Daddy's Girl" from day one.
The gravity of the situation set in, and for the first time, hot tears began to come to the surface.
I tried to fight them, but found those tears were stronger than me...
So, I sat in silence, wiping my cheeks and watching him when it happened...
My dad, who had been in and out of a drug-induced sleep for three days looked at me with eyes clearer than I had seen on him in over a year.
"Don't you cry." He said. "Don't you do that."
I stood up and took his hand.
"I just love you. I love you so much, and I hate to see you hurting like this."
"You stop that crying. You didn't have anything to do with me being hurt."
His eyes lost focus, but he continued talking...
"You didn't do anything wrong, baby."
"You know that you and Kelsie and Camron are the most special things ever given to me, right?"
"And, you and...Paul.....Jan......Beverly.......Susie.....Judy....and Mama are the most special things I ever got, too."
The tears wouldn't hold back anymore. I was bawling.
"I love you more than I could ever say."
"That's how much I love you, too."
(And, THIS is why I LOVE MY DAD like you can't imagine!)
With all the innocense of the child, he asked me, "Do you know how much that is?"
Without stopping, he raised his frail arms into the air and streched them out by his side...
"That's about yay big and around and around and around."
Yeah, PawPaw. That's how much I love you, too...
About yay big and around and around and around...