It was Thanksgiving day, 1989. Life took some unexpected turns the months before and the changes were almost overwhelming.
My father had fallen at work. He'd sustained a back injury that wasn't improving as anticipated. Months of treatment yielded few results, until an x-ray revealed an ominous spot.
Tests revealed a malignancy. The strategy was to go to the best hospital, which was in Houston. He was transported by ambulance and treatments were started.
My wife and I walked into his room around noon. I was shocked to see how much weight he'd lost and how he didn't seem to be aware of our presence.
We visited for a few minutes and decided to go eat Thanksgiving dinner in the cafeteria. We needed to discuss the treatments and I knew my mother needed the time away.
It was a surreal experience. Even though it was a beautiful day, the hospital environment, isolation and conversation were far from the pleasant Thanksgivings we'd shared in the past. There were no happy thoughts, the warmth of all the family was missing and my mother's words of the discovery of more malignancies were ominous.
We discussed the strategy. More treatments were needed, but they could be performed at a local hospital. The game plan was transporting my father in a little over a week, so he could be at home.
After we finished our dinner, we returned to my father's room to visit a little longer. He was the same. After the visit, I rose, took his hand and told him I'd see him later. He squeezed my hand and weakly nodded. I fought back my tears as I hugged my mom.
That was the last visit I ever had with my father. He was gone the second day he returned. I think that was the plan; I just wish somebody would have told me.
So, if you still can, spend some time with your father tomorrow. Life whittles away the opportunities and you can't get them back.
In Case You've Wondered
My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.
If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com
One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.
I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.