My Steady

There is this man in my life.  Someone who doesn’t get much air time.  Not because I don’t love him but because we’ve rarely even had an argument.  This man is my dad.  He may not be my biological father but when I was six and my young mom was just trying to make it with two little girls on her own, he came along and said, “these girls need a dad” and he did just that.  He became our dad.  The only one I’ve ever had.

He adopted me, supported me and stood up for me when mom and I were out of sorts.  Just a few weeks ago, mom and I were having a hard time and it was him that called to make sure I was okay.  And the older I get, the closer I feel to him.  We have this connection.  This similar way of looking at the world, a shared love of history and information and we both love with all our hearts this wacky (in a good way) woman, who is my mom.

On Tuesday at 6:00am my mom called and said, “your dad is having a heart attack.”  How the world stands still when those words are uttered.  My sister and I drove as fast as we could go from Seattle to Spokane.  It was just short of a massive heart attack.  His heart is working at 35% and we hope to improve that to 45% with treatment and the Dr. Dean Ornish diet.  He’s 51, slim, non-smoker, fairly healthy eater – HOW?  We are boiling it down to genetics, work stress and diet.

Today is Friday and we brought him home.  And now we all seem to be living in a before/after scenario.  My youngest sister is riding him about his diet and I’m trying to block him from working for as long as possible.  I wish I could move to be with them.  But I know it’s up to him.  I can’t make the changes for him but I plan on reminding him as often as possible.  As I was walking through the hospital with my sister and my mom, an elderly man said to us, out of nowhere, “the choice will come slowly.”  We took it as an omen.

Now I’m home and I miss them both so much.  I feel like I’m becoming the parent in our relationship.  I’m sad, terrified, still.  I feel so alone in my sadness now that I’m back at home.  My own heart hurts.  I can’t stop the flow of tears from constantly coming.  I wish I was rich and could support them so they could both stop working.  I wish I could fly us all to Hawaii to relax and heal in the sun.  I wish I could just take it all away.

Because he’s my dad.  My daughter’s grandpa.  My fishing buddy. My history buff.  My steady.  And I can’t imagine my world without him.

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