I’ve always seen my parents as these immortal beings even though logically I know everyone is dying from the day they are born. Somehow I never related death to them. Daily, I read the Obituaries in the paper, lingering on those who are my parents age slightly longer. “My parents are still alive. They are healthy. They’re not old.” Truth is, my father will be 70 in 2 weeks. My mother a couple of years behind.
After returning from my business trip last Thursday, I was hit with the reality. My parents are not immortal superheroes, they are as human as the rest of us and death will one day knock on their door.
I was at work on Friday and received a text mid afternoon that my father was being admitted to the hospital. Panic hit me almost instantly. I could feel the anxiety in my belly rising up. This can’t be, my father is the epitome of health. This man probably exercises too much. My mother continues, they don’t know what happened, just that my father complained of weakness, dizziness, and vision problems on his left side. Once I read the words “Left Side”, I immediately thought the worst, my dad had a stroke. All I kept thinking was “Oh my God, I am going to lose him.” This was quickly followed by, “No, no, I can’t lose him. I am not ready to lose my parents yet. I can’t, I just can’t.”
My brain, prone to thinking the worst, was already thinking about seeing my father as an invalid. A man that is very outgoing, caring and loving. I immediately wanted to go to the hospital and see him. My mother had responded not yet, they were still in the ER. I sat at my desk attempting to do work, but it was no use, Anxiety Girl had returned which left me foggy and unable to focus on anything but my father. I recounted numerous times as a teenager fighting with him. Our personas are so similar. Over and over, I tried to retract the times I told myself I hated him as a teen. Then I began praying to whatever higher being is among us.
Time ticked by so slow. I made the decision at 4pm that I was going to straight to the hospital even if my mother had not told me to come. When I arrived, I focused solely on my father ignoring the fact that a year ago exactly I had admitted myself for Severe Depression and intrusive thoughts. I entered through the main entrance so I would not be triggered by the sight of the ER. I gave the desk my father’s name and was told that he was still in the ER. Putting up blinders, I went straight to the ER and the room they gave me where I found there to be no bed. I was puzzled. What happened to my father?! Where was he?! A nurse came over and quickly squelched my fears by telling me I just missed him, he was taken for and MRI and would be gone for 45 minutes. She told me to wait in the main waiting area, so back I went. I texted my mother and sister and we sat there for an hour.
I couldn’t eat. I was nauseas, irritable, exhausted, overwhelmed and most of all… I wanted to know if my Daddy was okay.
When we were finally able to see him, my anxiety was lessened as he was acting completely normal. Talking about how he should be given an award for getting and MRI. Ordering our favorite sandwich, Chicken Salad, to eat. I am my father’s daughter.
Once home, I thought about the day’s events. It became a reality. I could’ve lost him. Age is not on his side anymore. I have to come to terms that one day they will both be gone and that as I hope it is a couple of decades from now, it will happen. I am not the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman. We are all human and as humans we are mortal. I just never thought of my parents as aging. I saw them the same age that they were when I was little, my daughter’s age, but time doesn’t just stop. After all, I am older. I am married and I have a child. It is obvious they would have to age as well. I guess I just thought it wouldn’t have approached so quickly.
Update: My father is home and they found nothing wrong with him… except for maybe his undying love of Chicken Salad Sandwiches 🙂