Not too long ago my dad confessed that he’d never changed any of our diapers. Ever. Three daughters, zero diaper changes. He would be the first to tell you that he was never the warm and fuzzy, hands-on father type, but for as long as I can remember, one single look of disapproval from him was enough to stop a temper tantrum (if I could bottle this method of discipline I might get rich). A hint of disappointment would send you packing to three miserable years of law school. But a smile of pride would last this daughter a lifetime and pull you through your most difficult hours.
A week ago we had my father hospitalized for a serious illness. When he gets well, I hope he’ll give me permission to write about our experience here, using my diary as a way to hopefully help other families that may be going through the same challenges.
It’s been an emotionally and physically brutal week for us here, especially for my mom and me, but once I was able to stop crying and process the shock of it all, I found my way into a secret hiding place, away from all the turmoil, where I could reflect on his quiet, immense strength. Perhaps after 71 years of rising to life’s toughest hurdles and overcoming all of them brilliantly, he just needed this time to be taken care of. As we, his nuclear as well as extended family, huddle around him now to cheer him on to his road to recovery, I try to temper the images in my mind of him in the hospital with those of his gentle smile, full of unspoken love for his family. This picture below was taken 3 Junes ago. I wish I could take us back in time and freeze that moment, when he was healthy, forever.
This is a tough Father’s Day, but what I’ve learned in these last ten days is that every day, and every moment, we are family first and everything else second. If you are lucky enough to have family in your life, show them you love them.