I love you.
Three simple words. Three words that I have no trouble saying to my kids, my husband, or even my friends.
Three words that I find difficult to say to my parents. Though I feel it, I just can’t say it. Or I hurry through it, an afterthought before hanging up the phone with them. Mumbled perhaps, so I can feel good about saying it, but not even sure if they hear it.
Then there are days. Days when the only news you hear is bad, days when you wish you could hit the rewind button and start over.
I am having one of those days, in one of those weeks.
A day of wishing that words were not left unsaid, words were spoken more clearly, “I love you” said more loudly.
It is hard to watch your parents age, hard to face their mortality. Knowing that health problems are becoming more common, watching them slow down, seeing….really noticing…how they are aging is all hard to come to terms with.
My dad is going in today for quadruple bypass surgery of his heart. We found out Tuesday, and today is the day he will be cracked open, his heart stopped for a bit during the 4 to 6 hour surgery. Though bypass surgeries are pretty “routine,” this is still major surgery and the worries and concerns are still there.
It is hard for me to be so far from home, unable to be there to sit, wait, and worry with the rest of the family. This is a day where I feel so incredibly impotent in the little I can do, 900 miles from home. I am trying to pray, but my mind is just so weary, distracted, disoriented that I am having a hard time even putting together coherent thoughts. (Which may be why this post is a bit rambling…)
All I really want to do is avoid thinking about it, to lay my head down and sleep through the day. But that is not an option, since my husband is out-of-town for a class, and the wee one needs someone to be conscious to take care of her. The other desire I have is to run, run far, run from my thoughts and fears, run from the reality of life. That I may be able to do, at least for a short time today, with friends watching the wee one. Running has the effect of numbing my thoughts and emotions, the endorphins taking over for a bit, and I am feeling antsy even thinking about it. Wanting to get out, to move, to stop thinking and just go.
I can’t sit here, can’t be still, but can’t do anything, can’t go anywhere. I want to jump out of my skin, to shed this layer of anxiety and discomfort. Part of me want to sit and cry, allow myself to feel the guilt, the weight, of years of words unsaid, love unspoken. To crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and be with the dark and worried pieces of my broken soul. The other part of me want to stuff it down, put on a happy, positive face, think happy thoughts, pray, and say “everything will be alright.”
And truly, I know it will be. I put my faith in that thought, that no matter what happens during today’s surgery or during the weeks and months of recovery, that everything will be alright. I trust that God will be in the midst of every moment of today, and every moment that follows. I trust Him with it all, with every worry, every fear, every regret.
I called last night to the hospital, to talk to Dad one more time. To let him know I loved him. And after a few awkward minutes of conversation, I told him.
I love you.
Wouldn’t you know, as I am trying to get out the words so important to say, to hear, the phone cuts out?? Stupid technology.
And so I said it again, trying not to let him hear the tremor in my voice, the worry and the fear coming to the surface, the tears getting ready to fall. The first time saying it was hard enough, the second time was even tougher.
But some words need to be said. Some things need to be heard.
And thought there still wasn’t much of a response to the words, I know that he heard the words. And I can have peace, knowing I said them.
I love you, Dad.