Coming to terms.

I apologize if todays posting is a bit of a ramble……

People die every day what are you gonna do about it?

I have held this quote very close to my chest. In my line of work we see people in the worst situations perish on a regular basis. I dare say I have seen more people die than I have friends living. It is a hard thing to witness, it doesn’t get easier with time, your mind just chooses to find alternate ways to deal with images left behind. I have always chosen humor. Humor when in the right context can take the edge off any situation. Even when that situation is beyond our control.

Humor, yep that’s what works every time… except for today. My dad has been falling down a lot lately, and though that might not seem a big deal, when you are 75 with diabetes, a pace maker and multiple stints a fall can quickly become a very scary event. He has been withering away for many years, as he once stood 6 feet tall at a robust 250-300 pounds. He now tips the scales a 165 with a towering height of 5’8. Osteoporosis along with a multitude of medications keeping him alive have definitely taken their toll on my fathers well-being. It seems the falls were all indicative of a larger problem, as it couldn’t be any other way.

Sit down I can take it

Doctors report is in, it seems dads kidneys are failing (he has 50% function) and his cardiologist wants to replace the stents surrounding his heart. What does all this mean for him? He has some very tough decisions to make in regards to his health and future care. What does it mean for me? What does it mean for my kids? What does it mean for our friends?

It means eventually I will witness one more person perish from this earth. My dad. I have always realized a day will come when one or both of my parents will pass away, but it never seems like a real date. It’s that unknown, the boogie man in the closet, the sunset on the horizon you can never get too. But it’s there, its life’s dirty little secret. It may not happen for a year, it may not happen for 5 years, but when kidneys start down the road of failure its only a matter of time.

I am scared. I feel like a little boy whose emotions are raw. I am alone in a dark room without my blankie. I worry for my children, witnessing their first real experience with death. How will we handle it as a family? Making a negative seem positive sounds like a daunting task. What impression will this leave in their minds as I grow older? How do I reassure them I am not going anywhere for a while? Then I wonder what are they really going to remember of their grandfather?

My father is a tough man to be around sometimes. Stoic and silent about his personal affairs, we have never really seen eye to eye on anything. He can be loud and brooding when irritated. He yells first, apologizes later. You are always in the wrong until he determines you to be in the right. Even to this day it’s hard to find conversation we can share. I love you has never flowed freely from his lips yet somehow I know he does.

But for all his rough and jagged edges he is the reason I have a sense of humor. When the man was in his prime he could charm the parka from freezing Eskimos and sell sand to land owners in the Sahara desert. He was funny, people loved him, he was always in charge and the first to help when ever it was needed. He wanted you to like him but was never offended if he wasnt your cup of tea. When we strolled into his clubhouse he was “Norm” from Cheers. I marveled at how many people really enjoyed being around him. I have tried my hardest to emulate those qualities as an adult.

He worried day and night about my future and what would become of a half witt such as myself. What I took for anger and frustration was his way of saying I care. I wanted nothing more than to get out of that house as a teenager, yet my wife and I helped my parents put a house on our property. Life has come full circle. When something like this comes about we always end up wishing we could go back in time. Its ridiculous really, but if I could go back for just five minutes I would be 8 years old and we would play one more game of basketball. Standing in the dirt on a warm summers night, playing a good old fashioned game of HORSE. Nothing beat those nights throwing the ball at the basketball hoop attached to the telephone pole alongside our house. Why? Because I really just want to see him laugh while he snooker’s me with his famous “hook” shot.

So what is my point? Where am I going with all this doom and gloom? Why am I rambling about events I have no control over? Its like this, sometimes the horizon isn’t the horizon anymore. It’s an actual place that you can reach, a destination once thought unobtainable now stares you in the face. No matter what you tell yourself, no matter how you go about your day, no matter what carnage you leave behind by your actions, and regardless of how deep you place your head in the sand.

People die everyday, what are you going to do about it means something. It means there is absolutely nothing you can do, so make the most of every moment, good bad or otherwise. Because someday that person will be someone you thought could never die. Then what are going to do? Huh?

When you find out please let me know. Ok?

I love you dad…

4 thoughts on “Coming to terms.

  1. That’s powerful. I’m choking back the tears. I do hope your dad sticks around for a heck of a lot longer. We believe our parents are invincible. It’s a scary thought when we realise they’re not. Beautifully written, with amazing core sentiments, though I’m saddened by the ‘inspiration’ behind it. Wishing you and your family all the best.


  2. You do many things, you get angry, you grieve, you laugh at the memories, some days you get so busy you do forget, and then you feel guilty about it afterwards, but no matter what, you always keep them close to your heart. It’s been five years since I lost my father to colon cancer, there are still times where I wish I had said more and spent more time with him. There are others where I’m still pissed off he didn’t listen to us all when we kept telling him to do more than the minimum checkup required to pass his pilots licencing medical, because a colonoscopy at 60 would have in all likely hood lead to a much different outcome than discovering it a N-stage at 65. And there are still others where I’m so glad we got that last family vacation, was able to watch him and my husband fulfill Dad’s lifelong dream of golfing at St. Andrews in Scotland a mere three months before he passed. Losing a parent, even as a full grown adult and knowing that is just how the world works, isn’t easy. Everyone’s journey is different, but at least you don’t have to make it alone. My thoughts are with you.


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