...I wrote this:
If you are the praying kind please keep my Dad in your prayers and thoughts tomorrow. I love him so much and although I know in my heart he will be ok, tomorrow will be the longest day of my life. And very difficult to see someone I look up to so much put in such a vulnerable, scary place.
A year ago today, I had dinner at my father's house, just around the corner from my own home. We all barely ate, he snuggled with my children, and although the fear was definetly there, I was confident that everything would go just like the doctors said they would. Maybe a little hearing loss in one ear. Maybe some balance issues. I still believed in God, and the fact that I had JUST lost my marriage and was in an enormous amount of stress and emotional turmoil meant that God knew I could not handle more, and that the "balance" of my life was so uneven that there was no way it could get worse.
And up until that point, I just knew that if a doctor says to you, "You may have hearing loss" it only meant "You might have hearing loss but probably not because I'm giving you worse case scenario." I believed in doctors. In the medical system in general. I had never heard of a doctor whose ego greatly exceeded his ability. But unfortunately, the man standing in front of us that next morning, the one whose hands I so blindly put my father's life in, was just that kind of doctor. Now I know they are out there. (although I hope that as soon as we are done with him, there will be one less in practice)
I didn't know that I was saying goodbye. Yes, my father is still alive. But when I visited him last week, he mouthed to me (he still can't speak) to "Drop me off at home". He hasn't walked in a year, he's connected to a feeding tube and a trach, and hasn't seen his home in a year. He is not really my father as I have known him my whole life. The man who was the first in the delivery room each time I had a baby, the first to hold each one. The man whose shoulder I cried on and offered ME comfort when he found out about HIS tumor. The man who walked me down the aisle, who taught me about music, walked everywhere with me on his shoulders as a little girl. His eyes are there. His love for me and my kids is there. His memories are still there. I do take comfort in that.
I tried to steer clear of the "a year ago's" until today, and once I let myself go there, it was like opening Pandora's box. My life a year ago was a hospital every single day and night, cafeteria food when I could get something down, friends bringing dinners, finding new coping mechanisms (my brother and I spent almost every evening the first few weeks at a bar), and just generally finding a way to get through each second. I've come a long way since then. Dad has not. It doesn't seem fair.
Dad is in a rehab center now. About 3 months ago he was at what must have been his 10th rehab center, developed another CDIFF infection (staph), started having seizures, and basically was a conscious vegetable for the next couple of months. All progress he had made was gone. He has been recovering at a specialty hospital all this time and they finally felt he was up to try rehab again. As I said, he is able to mouth sentences to me now, and they have him exercising. It's progress. But I've pretty much accepted that he will never be the same.
A year ago today marks the end of my optimism, my belief that life is fair and balanced, and that bad things don't happen to good people.
I miss life the way it was. My Dad was the one person in my life who I knew I could call up any day of the week, day or night, say I wanted to have lunch or dinner together, and no matter what he had planned he would drop them to see me. How lucky was I to have someone in my life that loved me like that, that wanted to be with me like that. I knew it too. And that's the one thing I'm grateful for. Dad and I both knew what a special relationship we had (and he had just as great of one with my brother, too). I have known my whole life that my Dad is the greatest man alive, not just a daughter's bias...many people feel that way and so many people who know him are also left scratching their heads wondering how something so tragic could happen to someone so great.
There is a huge hole in my heart that will never be filled by anyone else. And I will continue to hold out hope for some sort of medical miracle, somewhere deep inside where I can't access it until it happens.
A year ago today was the birth of this version of me. A little bitter, a lot stronger, and missing her Daddy so much that it hurts.