Friday, March 25, 2011

"...And You Can't Keep Yours."

I can't go in there. I'm sitting here in the lobby of the hospital down the hall from my dad's room. I know he's resting and trying to make peace with his situation. His situation. I want to fix it; restore his life like a car. But I can't. I can't reach into the air and remove the words, "You have 3 weeks to 3 months." I want to pluck them out of the air and throw them away.

My dad has very limited time left.

And I'm sitting in a lobby down the hall. Why won't my legs walk me into that room? These legs have run me through two half marathons, yet they won't move an inch. So here I sit in the lobby. I listen to people express their good news. I hear them. " grateful this was a close call. Just think what could have happened?"

Just think.

I was one of those people once. Breezing by someone with a broken heart, not understanding that I would be switching places with them one day.

Why is there a grandfather clock in every hospital? What is the deal? Every hospital. Is it to remind me that time is fucking brutal? Tick Tock, time moves forward. It keeps ticking and my dad's cancer keeps spreading. He keeps hurting. The world keeps spinning.

I want painkillers. Each time my dad takes one, I want one too. It's difficult standing on the sidelines sober and raw, watching and feeling every breath, every cough and every wince of pain.

I feel it too, but I have no choice but to be healthy and aware of every teeny tiny change that puts him one inch closer to a place I'm not allowed access. A velvet rope I can't jump. Where is he going? What's over there? What's so exclusive about it? I won't know for a very long time. It's not my turn. The bouncers won't even allow a peek.

Fifty years. I told him yesterday that I want 50 more years with him. I grabbed his hand when he wiped the rivers of tears draining out of eyes. "But when something good is in my life, I want to keep it. And you're a Good. So I want to keep you."

He sat up a little straighter and said, "Well Kel. I couldn't keep my parents. They couldn't keep theirs. And you can't keep yours. But you can hope for 50 more years with your kids."

He's trying to change my line of vision. When I was little he would say, "Look at that eagle! Isn't that something!" When I couldn't find it, he'd grab my chin and turn my face. "Do you see it now?"

Yes, I see it now.

I look up to the blue, blue sky. It's the same sky I saw when I was 11 and my dad coached our softball team. We won the championship, so we all piled in the back of his truck to go have ice cream. It's the same sky; why is everything under it so different now?

Yes, I see it now.

It's time to treasure words, smiles and looks. It's time to treasure his hand that reaches out for me when I visit. It's time to treasure the "I love you's."

Maybe time is a good thing after all. He's still here which means I have time to lock more memories away into my heart. Stockpiling a silver lining for when the storm hits. Yes, maybe time is a beautiful thing after all.

1 comment:

  1. this is absolutely so touching. i'm crying at my desk.