Monday, January 25, 2010

Reality Check

I think we all want to believe that our parents will live forever even though we KNOW that at some point they will pass on and we will be left to carry on without them.   For the most part, I try to avoid thinking about when or how my parents will pass away.  This weekend I was forced to look at the mortality of my parents and realized that, like all of us, I am in no way, shape, or form ready to lose either one of them.

Saturday night my son was performing in the State Junior High Honor Choir.  I enjoyed watching him sing with 349 other Junior High choir students.  They did an amazing job and I am proud that my son was able to participate.  When I turned my phone back on after the concert, I had a message from my sister-in-law, "Call me. ASAP."  Naturally, I called her right away.  She isn't an alarmist and an ASAP from her must mean something important.  The conversation started like this, "Don't panic but we took your dad to the hospital because he was having chest pains. He is okay."

While I was at the choir concert, my mom was at work, and my dad was watching my nephews.  When my brother and his wife got back to my parents house, my dad was having some pains in his chest.  At first they weren't worried but the pain got worse.  Along with the pain in his chest, he was feeling kind of dizzy, nauseated, and his left arm had some numbness.  He took two aspirin and my brother drove him to the hospital.  They determined that he did not have a heart attack but to make sure they had him stay overnight so they could check his blood throughout the night.  On Sunday morning, they had him do a stress test.  The results showed that nothing is wrong with his heart and they aren't sure what caused his symptoms. It could have something to do with his acid reflux or something else completely unrelated to his heart.   Today he was feeling fine and even went to work.

My dad and I have a special relationship.  For as long as I can remember he has called me Mabel. Nobody else in the family does.  He is grumpy and ornery a lot of the time, and I am the only one that can tell him to cheer up and knock it off or let him know when I think he is out of line and believe me I do.  My little brother jokes that I am the only one of us kids that can make him laugh and smile like I do.  He is my fishing buddy and my friend. 

The last few days have reiterated to me the need to make sure both of my parents know how much I love them and appreciate everything they do for us.  I don't know what I would do without them and God willing, I won't have to find out for a good long while. 

I hope all of you take the time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.  Even if I love you isn't easy for you to say, say it anyway.  Even if showing affection isn't easy, do it anyway.  I would rather say and show how I feel than let it pass and wish I had.


linda said...

This was a wonderful post, written from the heart. Thank you for the reminder as we ALL need it from time to time.

I saw my FIL yesterday and looking at pictures last night I could see how much he has aged. He's not the spry, life of the party that he once was. He is quiet and reflective now. It was a wake up call that I need to visit him more often. Like you, I don't want any regrets.

So glad that you Dad is ok!

linda said...

"your" Dad...guess I should proof read!

just call me jo said...

The "sandwich generation" has special challenges. We are at the junior high concert with a child and then drawn quickly to an aging parent. Tough position.
My husband has been (literally) an orphan since age 5, so he adopted my parents. Now that my dad is gone and my mom has dementia, it's hard on both of us.
Dementia holds another pain--losing the loved one twice. Once when they leave you mentally and one which will come when they actually pass on. I really miss my mom the way she used to be. I grieve for the loss of that mom too.

Amy said...

Linda-It's tough to realize they are not as young as they used to be. A little more gray, a little less active.

Jo-My SIL has lost both of her parents as well. My folks are now her folks. Her mom passed away when she was a teen and her dad about 4 years ago. I can't imagine the pain of losing a parent to dementia.