Thursday, September 15, 2011

It just sucks.

Singing Lily to sleep. One of my favorite memories--because he sang me to sleep too.
My father is 91.

He is dying. He is not dying from cancer or liver failure or even heart disease (although he has a bad ticker). He is dying because he is 91. And that is what most 90-somethings do--they begin the process towards the end.

It just sucks.

For a large part of my life, I have prayed for more time with my dad. When I was 8, I realized, because of some asshole grown-up at my church who talked too loud, that my dad was an old man. He was born in 1920. I was born in 1977. Often people thought he was my grandfather.


And to an 8 year old, whose friends were loosing grandparents like Barbie shoes, all I could think was: My dad is going to die.

That is when I became hooked on prayer. I would pray constantly. In the bathroom, in the morning, in the evening, in my dreams, for my old man to live like the young men.

And of course he did. My Dad was always active (exercising every morning, even right after he had knee replacement surgery). My Dad was young at heart.

The year before Mike and I got married, my Dad had to have bypass surgery. So I prayed some more. Begging God to let my Dad walk me down the aisle. I told God I would not get married without my Pop--so he better keep him ticking, we had already made a deposit on the reception hall. And, of course, my Dad walked me down the aisle, yelled at me for stepping on his toes during our dance and nearly had a heart attack when he got the bill. Everything the father of the bride is supposed to do.


Then I was pregnant with Lily and I prayed for him to be there. He was--he was right in the NICU, checking on Lily. So scared for us. Then I prayed for him to make it through his third knee replacement surgery (a revision, he only has two legs like the rest of us!) and be there to see Lily turn one and help her blow out the candles. My Dad spent Lily's first birthday in a rehabilitation center.

And I have to admit, I was pretty pissed off. It sucked. It sucked to celebrate without him. But, then, I kept praying and he was there for her 2nd and her 3rd.  By the time Lily was turning 4 and Chloe was turning 1, my Dad was starting to fade away. My prayers for him started shifting from "please God let him be here," to "please God where is my Dad. Who is this person who sleeps all the time? Who is confused? bring me my Dad"

And in small bits, my Dad came back. But never fully. And now, as I get ready to drive to Jamison and meet the ambulance who will bring him home for the last time, I have no idea what to pray for. I, for the first time in a long time, have no words.

It just sucks.

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