Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Today is my dad's 88th birthday. It would be wonderful if he would go out on the same day he came into this world. We'll see.
Yesterday had some blessing mixed in with the unbearable waitng. When they first disconnected my dad from the tubes, we anticipated a short wait. The doctors told us it could take a while, and we all relaxed into that. Instead of gathering all at once, we started giving ourselves permission to leave for a while every now and then.
I left to run to his house, make calls, check emails. One of the friends that I've connected with on Facebook is a girl who was my best friend in the second grade. My first best friend, really, and I haven't seen her since high school. Forty years. On my way in from the parking deck to the hospital, I looked up and there she was. Julia? I said. Mamie? she replied. I've been in the hospital chapel praying for you and your father, she said. And we hugged and cried and talked for a few minutes in the lobby. She prayed a beautiful prayer with me, and I felt strong to face the room again.
The nurse came in later, bathed and shaved my dad, combed his hair, changed his bed. At 12:01 this morning in honor of his 88th birthday, my four siblings, two in-laws, three of my nieces, one of my dad's caretakers, and the nursing staff sang happy birthday and ate cake. Tired to the bone, rawer than raw, we all left the hosptial to try to get some rest.
Blessings among the sadness.
Happy Birthday, Dad.