My dad woke up in the ICU today. He’s been there for a couple of days, but he doesn’t remember anything – just an alien bed and white walls. Not an easy thing to deal with all at once. He called me from my little brother’s phone saying he just wanted to hear my voice. It’s weird being your father’s support system; it’s supposed to be the other way around. But I was happy to hear him as well.
It’s easy to ignore the realities of a situation when you’re so far away. I’ve been worried, sure, but I’m fairly ineffective when it comes to “being there” for my family. I’m usually the one that needs the help.
We only spoke for a couple of minutes, but I could hear the pain in his voice. Maybe not incredible physical pain, but emotional – we’ve got the same brain, he and I.
It’s weird waking up somewhere and not knowing the place. I’ve done it before. Not like this, but similar in its own way. The bed is unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and the environment itself is altogether unsound. Mine was a different country, and a war I didn’t want to fight. I remembered getting there, but I didn’t want to believe it was actually happening. In some sense, not knowing and not believing are the same, I suppose. But you come to terms with it after a while.
I told my dad all of this, in the best words I could find at the time: “You know, it’s just one of those things…”. I’m not sure he bought into the idea, per se; not at the moment. It’s a tough lump to swallow. But he chuckled when I told him that eventually, it’d just be another story he could tell: a survivor of a distant, warlike reality. He’ll make it through I’m sure, forgotten days and all. It’ll be hard at first, but my dad’s stronger than he likes to admit. Hell, I did it, and he taught me a lot of what I know.
I guess, in some ways, I’d consider him lucky. I’m sure it’s not a situation he would wish on anyone, nor would anyone on him, but every experience is beautiful in that it makes us who we are. My dad is a great guy, but not by default. He’s a great guy because of what he’s lived through to get where he is. Some trials are harder than others, but it’s the survivors that we look up to at the end of the day.
In any case, family and friends are near to fill him in on his missings, should he want to hear about them. And one day (I would hope soon), we might be sitting in his living room laughing about it all. Him in his favorite chair, both of us with a Miller Lite – just like when I came home and my brain wasn’t great at dealing with it all yet. He’ll have a story like the one his mother used to tell about her ambulance ride through downtown; painful, sure, but it’s hard be sad when you’re holding back the laughs.
Truth be told, I think we all have a few days we wish we could forget. And, I don’t know, maybe having a few less of them bouncing around in your head just makes the ones you do remember all the more special.
Get well soon, Dad.
1… 2… 3… (swoosh)
-spin (rsOr III)