My son John has been in the hospital. He has the flu which means he needs ventilator support and drugs that open his airway and more drugs to counter the side effects of those drugs. It’s a vicious cycle with the drugs, scares me to think the damage it’s doing to his body. But, extremely grateful for the good it does. Wednesday and Thursday night I never left the hospital. I closed the store Thursday night because no one could cover my shift. The kids that work for me seem too busy to work at times between college, family and social obligations. Friday morning, I had to go into the shop to clean a machine. I figured while I was out I would catch lunch with Nora and her daughter Zoe.
Zoe is a feisty, bossy little lady that is descend for great things. She’s a princess on some days with her Frozen princess Ella dress and a regular little girl on other days with her Pajama wearing style. She loves to make people smile but she has to be fed first. She’s a girl after my own heart. Nora and I arrived at Fannies, our favorite BLT hot spot, at the same time. She was walking from her car with little Zoe trotting beside her chatting while I crossed the street to meet them at the front door. Something about Zoe’s spark made me emotional. I started thinking about Johnny and how he loves to make people smile. My heart was broken watching him struggle in the hospital. The last three days he hasn’t smiled at all. When Zoe seen me she walked right up to me and hugged my legs. The top of her head reaches just above my knees. Her skinny little arms grabbed hold of my knees and gave a big squeeze. Then she looked up at me and handed me two stickers. Nora explained that she wanted to share her stickers to make me happy while I am so sad. The water works came on so much so that I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and eat lunch.
This scene lasted less than a minute but has forever been engraved in my mind. It reminded me of my own childhood and how we dealt with tears and sadness. As a child, if I saw someone cry I was like a deer in headlights. I didn’t know what to do. The thought of providing a sad person with a hug or pat on the back was completely awkward to me. It still is sometimes today.
My father never cried, other than when his mother died and my son was born. I believe the fact that he didn’t cry was a life accomplishment for him. While my dad was dying from cancer I set up his bedroom in our living room, Sunshine Rehab he called it. I was forced to enroll John back in school instead of homeschooling because I knew I couldn’t handle the pressures of caring for Dad and John at the same time. The first day of John’s school I came home crying because I felt they didn’t want him there, I was almost 5years sober at this time so crying wasn’t a weakness anymore, it was my strength. My dad just stared at me like a deer in headlights. A few days later he confessed to me that when he seen me like that, crying and all, “I almost cried”. Imagine that. He said it like it was an accomplishment that he didn’t cry. As if crying would have been a bad thing.
The last time my dad cried was with me. He told me he was sorry I had to go through this. I asked, “This? Go through what?”. He said, “Having to watch me die. You had to watch your mother die and now you are watching me die and I’m sorry for that”. I said, “Thank you for allowing me to be here to take care of you, I love you”. Then we cried with our foreheads touching each other.
Dad said, “Im gonna miss you”
I said, “You’ll be gone, Im gonna miss you more”
And I do ❤