Dad’s Story Part 8
I won’t deny that I cried many times throughout this grand adventure. I did. It seemed like there was always a lump in my throat and tears pooled in the inner corners of my eyes those weeks we were letting go of Dad. Sometimes the tears would quietly escape and run down my cheeks. Sometimes others saw this. Most of time I managed to tilt my chin up to heaven and the lump would get swallowed and the tears would magically soak back into my eyeballs. I held an umbrella over me…I wore a shell. I needed to. I had to protect that soft part of me I hated for others to see. I convinced myself then, as I did most of my life, I needed to be tough. It was difficult to carry on this way. But for some reason I thought it was easier this way. It wasn’t..
That night….the one with Donny and “Are you ready?”……I stayed late at the hospital with my sister, Michelle. We were exhausted but didn’t want to leave dad. He was awake and restless. He had this giiiiiiinormous incision from his heart to his gut that wasn’t ever going to heal.
I don’t think my heart or gut will ever heal either.
He was in pain and confused a bit from the medication. Michelle and I did our best to soothe him and just be by his side while he was still alert.
Because, this was it.
The three of us knew it. This was our last chance to talk with our father. I remember trying to think of things to do and say to stretch those moments out. We didn’t want him to drift off..…away from us. And yet, we wanted him to be at peace and sleep was the only way he could be.
But we were selfish. …He allowed us be.
The nurses came in and out checking this and that. I have no idea of what it is we were talking about before he jerked forward…like he wanted to get up. Dad began to fidget around with his IV and the monitor’s wires wrapped around his frail body. He started to mumble something. “I have to go,” he calmly said. “I have to go—-.” This time more urgently.
Michelle ran out to get the nurse as Dad got more agitated. He kept trying to get up out of the bed. The nurse told us he probably had to go to the bathroom. His body was all out of wack from the hell it had been put through and it was probably making him very uncomfortable. We really needed to get him calm.
The more we tried to cool him down the more disturbed he became. Finally the nurse put something in his IV to sedate him more. As she was doing this Dad said, “I have to go—………home.”
That’s the last thing I remember him telling us before the medicine kicked in. He wanted to go home. Not to the bathroom…home. And I don’t think he was thinking of the little house on North Shirley Avenue. He was ready to hop right out of that hospital bed and run. He believed he could.
Somehow I managed to arrive home safely in the middle of the night from the hospital. I must have been like a zombie. Have you ever been driving and somehow arrived at your destination and thought to yourself…What the hell? I don’t even remember how I got here! It was one of those nights. Late. Dark. Hot. August.
When I got into my house I managed to stumble alone into bed, first grabbing “Monks”, the stuffed monkey I am way…way….too close to. (https://jabattheworld.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/comfort/) I cried. I cried harder than I ever did in my whole life. I can still feel it.
I cried so hard I felt my soul from the bottom of my toes come out through my tears turning me inside out like a glove pulled off to fast.
Everything was out there…exposed. Sobs. Moans. Tears. Snot. The dam was broken and emotions like none I’d ever experienced flooded all over me. The lump lingering in my throat was no longer able to hold anything back. Agony. It was absolutely the worst feeling I’ve ever felt to this day.
My dad was going to die.
My dad… was going…to die.
Exhausted, completely and literally drained…of tears and snot….I fell asleep. As I type this now I’ve come to realize something very significant. Extremely significant, actually. A personal breakthrough I suppose…something I need and have needed to see for myself for quite a while. …
When I awoke the next morning, I was numb.
I went from being a rock…covered in armor…hidden in shell….to being deadened. It’s one thing to conceal yourself within or under something…it’s another to feel like the dentist accidentally slipped and missed your tooth and got you in the heart with the shot of Novocain.
I got up the next morning and I was different. I was a robot. I had lost hope. I was emotionally frozen.
I was protected.
Nothing, and I thought nothing, was ever going to get to me to this degree ever again. And it didn’t For a while at least. The last couple of years I have experienced way too many horrific things personally and within my family. But I’ve been numb. Frozen. The horrible stuff hurt, for sure, but I wasn’t going to let those things break me down like I did once. I’ve had a wall ice around my heart and head keeping me from feeling what’s really going on. That’s probably caused more damage that anything. Numb.
My grandma has this thing called neuropathy. It’s basically numbness in the feet. She also has this thing called diabetes. It’s common for people to develop sores on their feet due to poor circulation from the diabetes. The problem here is that as my grandma was developing these sores…she couldn’t feel them. Nothing hurt. She had no idea. Let’s face it…the woman is old. She really can’t bend those appendages up to inspect them anymore. The sores, the numbness, it all went too far and well…Granny Two Shoes (as my dad called her) now only needs one.
I was numb…I didn’t feel the sores developing within me either.
But boy…there are wounds. And not until this moment…at 2:36 a.m….did I realize that some things need to be finally taken care of. I have some healing ahead of me. A lot of healing. I have to dig that confidence I know I have somewhere here within myself up and know that nothing can break me. Not loss, not poverty, not disappointment, not failure, not the drama I create in my head….not even death. I need to allow myself to feel again so that I can recognize when I hurt and take care of it before it gets too late.
“Write like you talk, J.”
My dad gave me this advice some years ago. Write like I talk. Writing has been my medicine. My drug. My cure
Now…. I just need to remember to talk like I write.