Monday, October 20, 2008

"Doesn't take a genius to realize sometimes life is hard..."

I wanted to post last night, but I was just too wiped out. We made an unexpected trip to Houston yesterday.

It was an emotional roller coaster we were on yesterday. My dad was suddenly much worse, so we dropped everything to go to Houston, even forgetting to call the friend whom we had arranged would keep the kids if we had to suddenly leave.

You know, we should have sent the Impossible Son in to see him the moment we got there. Because Dad was semi-conscious and barely lucid. I got him to open his eyes and to look at me when I came in, talking to him and stroking his face. He answered me, though it was an effort. He's got pneumonia again, and I know how that feels. About forty-five minutes or maybe an hour after we arrived, my mom finally sent the Impertinent Daughter and the Impossible Son in to see him. He opened his eyes for Miss Priss, responded to her when she told him she loved him. But... when Mr. Impossible came up and piped, "Hi Grand-Daddy! I love you. I wish you were awake so I could talk to you. Okay, bye," and he skipped out of the room.

It was like someone had flipped a switch. Dad's eyes popped open, and moved, looking around. He looked surprised and mumbled exhaustedly, "Was that the Impossible Son?"

"Yes," said my mother, looking greatly surprised and with tears in her eyes. "Do you want to see him?"

"Yeah," he said, and tried to turn on his side.

So, we called the Impossible Son in, and my dad saw him and reached for his hand, and they stood there and chatted for a bit. Well, the Impossible Son chattered, and Dad just smiled, nodded, occasionally trying to answer him though it was clear it was a huge effort. But he was making it, for Mr. Manzie. Then my very sneaky son said, "I was eating some of your Push-Pops, Grand-Daddy. If you don't eat one, I might not leave you any."

"You can have all the grape ones, " my dad said with a grimace. "Don't like 'em."

"No," said my son, "I'll eat the orange ones."

"You will not... those're... mine," my dad said, getting a little color in his cheeks.

Nothing like arguing with a seven year old over frozen treats to give someone the will to live, I guess.

Dad had his orange treat, and he and my son discussed the little cars Mr. Manzie had brought along. My son didn't stay in there long. He'd leave for a while, then come back with something else to show Grand-Daddy, or a question to ask, and it kept Dad animated for a while.

I'm glad Dad was able to pull out of it for a bit, but you know, he's getting so... well, he's too weak to get out of bed now. He spends most of his time sleeping, or staring out the windows, looking into the backyard he loves so much. He won't watch TV or listen to music. He hears other music now that we can't hear. When everyone bustled off to grab towels, or to check on the kids, or to get more water, etc, and we were alone, he'd look at me and smile, squeezing my hand as best he could, but sometimes, his eyes would go distant, and I knew he wasn't really with me anymore, and that's... well, that's just part of the journey he's on. He's letting go. He's not really here with us so much as he just comes back for brief visits. Like he did yesterday with my son.

He actually livened up enough to play with the Impossible Son. The Husbandly One blew up a couple of rubber gloves and tied knots in the end, and Mr. Impossible would bat one to Grand-Daddy, who would catch it as best he could, or would wait until his grandson handed it to him, and then he'd snap it back to Mr. Impossible with his fingers. I had to leave the room, because I knew it would exhaust him, but the sheer enjoyment in his eyes, and how happy my son was to be playing with him... I know he's going to remember it for the rest of his life. So, I had to leave the room to resist the urge to put a stop to it, to tell Daddy to save his strength. Because I realized... what would he be saving it for, if not for moments like these?

When we left, and I leaned over to kiss his forehead, I said, "You know, a simple, 'would you come visit, I miss you,' would have sufficed. You didn't have to scare Mom and the girls half to death to get me here. We were coming next weekend, you know."

He smiled. "Practice run." He was already sleepy.

I felt suddenly very scared, and very five years old. "Don't go anywhere just yet, " I said lightly.

"I can't even get to the bathroom," he said, then smiled to show he understood what I was really saying. "I'll try, but... they're waiting for me, you know," and he didn't have to say who. Because I knew.

So I just kissed the top of his head again, listened to my daughter tell him a joke, "Why did the chicken cross the road? EEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRK->BANG<... we may never know," which made him snort and laugh weakly, and then he waved, his eyes already drifting closed... and we left.

So, I'm exhausted. I'm worn. I'm frazzled. And I feel like I'm in suspension, sometimes. This will happen in its own time, I know that. I am reassured, too, that he isn't in a great deal of pain, and that for the most part, he's comfortable. In the meantime, though, it's like having my emotions wrung out on a regular basis, and the stress is getting to me. And my stress is getting to my husband and my children.

I think... I think I will go work in the garden. Maybe getting my hands dirty will help me restore my sense of balance. Because, I feel so very out of kilter, lately.

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