My Dad

My Dad was a good man. He loved Mary his wife and he insisted that we his children love our Mom Mary. Certainly this priority guided him in making life decisions. Strings were attached to his every action but this was not some ploy to gain personal advantage. Rather it was a means to an end: “Love your Mother.” Dad’s ability to be intrusive, invading personal space would have been an understatement. His one-track agenda often resulted in hurt and dismay. Eventually after a series of heart attacks Dad’s motto became “Flight not Fight.”

Possibly “that’s just the way it is” could be used to relay consequences of many faults. However in this case his father passed away while Dad was a high school student. This event might describe why “avoidance of vulnerability” became so pervasive on his psyche. If you found Dad’s good side he seemingly had no reason to blame you and he did not hesitate to share his good fortune but watch out if you ever drew his ire! “You’re on your own” takes a whole new meaning if no preferential options are exercised in your behalf.

Mom endured trauma beginning in 1954 the first year of their marriage. She witnessed her Grandmother’s death shortly after giving birth to my sister. Soon following arrival at his new family’s home Dad returned to work. A winter storm was restricting everyone’s mobility with no exceptions. Great-grandma was enlisted to stay with the mother and child. While seated in a rocking chair beside the bed she suffered a fatal heart attack. The females convalesced from their recent birth experience but they were helpless while the elderly woman died. The futile situation—being stranded in the storm and trapped underneath blankets—was replayed with vivid recall in 1998 when a comatose Dad became Mom’s dependent.

If a surgeon holds a private conference to discuss serious and confidential prognoses (EG: 75% chance the patient will never recuperate 100%) there is much room for prayer. Mercy and acceptance. Strength, resolve, and will. Wait and hope.

Healing is a miraculous process! Are any of us in less-than-perfect relationships? Who must lead and show the way to resolve problems? We illuminate dark spaces each time we reintroduce a flicker of hope. A display of obedience for doctors, nurses, family, friends, neighbors, coworkers—all caregivers—signals new life.

Come on Dad. You can do it Dad. Hang in there Dad. We love you Dad. Try harder Dad. Don’t give up Dad. You’re doing better Dad. We’re proud of you Dad…I’m so proud of you, Dad. What can we learn? A rub-on tattoo adorned arm raises in defiance of statistics and indicates “It ain’t over—not while there is still fight left in me.” Determination is the gift my Dad gave me and I gladly share it with you.

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