The Waiting Is the Hardest Part
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
My dadâ€™s health is getting worse. Heâ€™s completely bed- ridden and on full-blast Â oxygen now. No visitors except for the trail of medical personnel.
The girls are facing final exams this week after a very, very difficult semester thatâ€™s included romantic break-ups, funerals Â of Â friends, Â andÂ stressful Â competitions. Â I Â donâ€™t want to add to their stress but I wonâ€™t hide anything either. Whatâ€™s the point? Theyâ€™re far too intuitive for me to even make the effort. They are aware, but weâ€™ve all been through the emotional wringer so much that Iâ€™m not sure anythingâ€™s left.
I refuse to feel guilty or selfish for saying that. Itâ€™s not like there hasnâ€™t been emotion. Thereâ€™s been plenty of it, just drawn out over a very long time and sucked dry and replenishedÂ Â and Â sucked Â dry Â more Â that Â I Â would Â have thought humanly possible. We are down below the emotional marrow now.
Shannon and I had a long talk this afternoon about the situation Â and how sheâ€™s heard his impendingÂ death drilled into her since the fourth grade or younger. By him. By him when he was far healthier. We talked Â about the rollercoaster that went with every visit and plenty of times in-between that she never knew about.
We talked Â about Â her Â great-grandfather,Â Â too. Â About how strong he was and the difference in their attitudes as they approached the end of their lives, knowing painfully well that it was coming. I think it made a huge difference in quality of life and in the quality of life for those around them in their last years.
My dad, for at least 10 years, has prefaced his good- byes to the girlsâ€”even when they were very littleâ€”with â€œHurry back and see me because I may not make it that much longerâ€ and â€œI may not make it until you get backâ€ and â€œI might not live to see you again.â€
My motherâ€™s dad saw his end coming, too, but we remembered the way he phrased it, even as he worried more and more that it was closer. â€œI hope Iâ€™m here when you Â get Â back.â€ Â Or Â â€œMaybe Â Iâ€™ll Â be Â here Â when Â you Â get back.â€ There was hope amid the sadness.
Both phrased their goodbyes based on the inevitable, yes, but with my motherâ€™s father, I never felt guilty when I left from a visit, and the girls never cried all the way home.
Meanwhile, I canâ€™t sleep tonight, and I have to be up in 4 hours.