That last week? He stopped me cold. As if the ground I was standing on was made of ice, with its steely fingers wrapped around my ankles. The cold rising with his words. I hear its crackling as it covers my limbs. I am watching his eyes. I am frozen.
“I have only one working artery and it is 95% blocked. Should I have the heart cath done? I guess I really don’t have a choice?” His shoulders shrug. Head tilted to the side. His lips drawn back tight. But his eyes. Its in his eyes. They are tired. And I see it. And I want to run. And stay. My lips part and I believe I am speaking… do I have a voice?
For years I knew he was dying. For years he held on, beating odds, surprising doctors. Surprising me. He was a walking miracle. Beating cancer. Living with blood sugar level upwards of 200. Daily. A heart pumping at less than 25 %, filled with so much metal mesh, you could almost call it artificial. And it gets worse. His lungs didn’t absorb oxygen. His kidneys were not cleaning they way they should. He was anemic at deathly levels every few months. He could barely walk. His memory failing. His hands shook that he could not even feed himself. His body was failing him every single day. Yet he held on.
My eyes searching the room, my heart searching for answers. Words fill the air, stealing the oxygen… End of life… Power of attorney… Daddy let me do that for you. My sister spooning a bite of chocolate ice cream. Where is the oxygen?
The kids are hungry. The room crowded. We are saying goodbyes. I want to stay. I need to stay. My heart knows…
I lean and kiss his forehead. I love you daddy. I will see you tomorrow.
God are you there?
I’m here. I am right here.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.