There’s nothing like having a conversation with your dad where he talks about how he’s really slowing down to bring up thoughts of mortality and loss. My dad is fast approaching 90 — and he’s been in, and continues to be in, remarkably good health. Sure, he’s had his share of medical stuff — a heart stent, open heart surgery (quintuple bypass), a broken hip just two years ago. But unlike lots of folks his age, he’s not on any daily prescriptions; a point of some pride to him.
Dad still lives alone … hours away from all of us ‘kids’ …despite the broken hip which was a big deal because he didn’t see a doctor until the bone had already started to heal. Fortunately that healing worked out really well. Thanks mostly to my brother Mike who commandeered dad’s life and moved dad into Mike’s house for the duration. Dad chafed about that ‘kidnapping’ and that’s how we knew he was feeling a lot better. Then Dad lobbied and schemed to go back home — it worked.
Dad is a survivor; he’s stubborn and fiercely independent. And he is generally upbeat. So it makes his matter-of-fact references to not being around forever a little more concerning. I’m doing my best not to spin his slowing down statements into planning the impact his death will have on my immediate and ongoing life. Sometimes it takes me a little time though.
Really I know worrying about his eventual death solves nothing. Actually I know those musings create their own problems. They definitely take me out of now. this moment. And they take me away from enjoying and celebrating Dad’s presence in my life today.
Dad is a great guy and I love him.