My heart, a thousand miles away

I am just crying and crying.   Dad is awake and very aware of what is going on, but in no pain.

But…

he is asking for me.  Over and over and over.   I am in Arizona, aching over the fact that he is Florida.

My sister Barbie called and said that’s the report from Ann, his wife’s daughter.

No phones allowed in ICU.   Oh, it tears at my heart so.   Six weeks of  struggle, of oxygen masks, catheters, kidney infections, fluid on the chest, sores, inability to swallow solid food, kidney failure, pneumonia.  Three attempts at rehab.   Struggling yesterday, he signed a DNR for the first time.  His choice.  His wish.

I can’t bear the thought of him suffering.  Now, he’s calling for me and I am not there to hold his hand or tell him in person that I love him.  It’s too late to fly in and it hurts.

I thought, What can I say that would ease his mind?  What could I tell the nurse to tell him?

Barbie and I thought over the phone, miles separating us, too.  And we cried.

I grabbed a tissue, took a deep breath, so I called the nurse- who just started her shift and had no idea what was going on-
and I said,

“Tell my dad Nina called.  Tell him…that…I love him and Brett and Katrina send their love, too.  And tell him…
I promise to write the book.”

He’s wanted that so badly for me.  Unfinished business.  Write! he tells me.

He had to hear it.  It’s the only thing I think he would worry about.

It speaks volumes in a short sentence.  That I shared his love of writing. That I honored his advice.

I can’t think of anything more.  But oh God,  to be awake and aware like this.   His wife’s daughter- a nurse- said he is so swollen with fluids as his body is shutting down.

Don’t go…please don’t go.

In November, I had the chance to fly out and see him.  We did nothing but talk and visit, laugh and sit together at the table and talk some more, as if  the years between visits were without consequence.

In the end,  that’s all that matters.   That we love and are loved.

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