Today, I visited with a patient’s son who was around the same age as my dad. And he began sharing not just about the pt’s fall down stairs, but his own upcoming surgery on Friday. He shared that he had been in an accident, rear ended by a insurance less driver, has lots of back issues, needs a nerve block surgery, and is having a constant fight with his insurance about care.
Did it sound familiar or what?
It was like hearing my dad talk about his situation now. But what hurt is the realization back in the back of my mind that my dad is human and finite, like all other people. But it is hard to see our loved ones, especially parents who have been so good at being hard workers who tirelessly worked and avoided stopping- who have been so good at acting as though their life is endless- are found to be vulnerable or weak. It’s scary to think about a father who is moving on into a different stage of life, and one that I am afraid he will not enjoy because of his back pain and the likely result that he will never fully recover. Now, I know my dad won’t die tomorrow from his back injury, but the reality is he will someday. That realization is hard because as a kid I grew up believing my father, just like any other kid would, was invulnerable. I got to work on that when he had seizures back when I was 14 or so. That certainly helped me realize the finiteness of dad. But today, it was difficult. It was hard. As I interacted with that man who had so much sadness about his life, I could see my dad trying to survive and make a good life in his life. I don’t want this back stuff to be the defining stuff of the remainder of his life (10, 25, 40 more years?). In other words, I want dad to be dad. But life may not always be so kind, and that is okay, because God will still be there with him, and God will still be here with me, and our relationship will always be full of love, no matter what.