The look on his face continues to haunt me today.
I see in my mind what I witnessed yesterday—my dad struggling to walk , his hands gripped tight to his walker, his legs shaking, and his eyes finding mine across the room, his right eye open wider than his left, piercing mine with its intensity. I interpret the expression on his face as one of desperation and terror.
Has his conscious woken up and found him in this condition? I wonder.
“It’s okay,” I say. “You’re doing alright.”
“I’m proud of you, Daddy.”
And I am proud of him. Of every mountain he has to climb just to drag his uncooperative body from the bed, to sit and stand, to walk a few shaky steps across the room to his wheelchair. I am proud of how hard he tries and how he keeps going when he may want to just give up. I would want to give up.
I’m struggling with Dad’s situation more than usual. I think it started with the phone call on Father’s Day. “What did you say that made him cry?” Mom wants to know.
“Hello,” I answered. “I told him Hello.”
Or maybe it was the breakfast we picked up on the Saturday before Father’s Day and all the memories that flooded me as I waited in Dad’s favorite breakfast restaurant where we had waited together so many times.
Today I have to make peace again knowing that there is nothing I can do to help him out of his misery, out of this nightmare he’s living.
Here in my study, I listen to beautiful music and look out at the sun that sparkles off of leaves fluttering on the trees.
I have to make peace with my dad’s situation and with myself. It is the only way to go on.
I feel like I am cutting a painful tooth, a kernel of wisdom about to erupt. And I realize that love is what matters.
Love is all that matters.