Dad was born December 2, 1923, the second of eight children. Four of his siblings have died. Last summer at a gathering at my cousin Paula’s place, the survivors were calling themselves “the final four.” The name has stuck. Gallows humor and what some might think a rude insensitivity runs deep in my family. We show our love by insulting each other.
Dad’s never sick. He’s one of these guys who retired without ever having used a sick day. So when he rainchecks a weekend barbeque because he’s feeling ill, we have cause to worry. My sister and I pestered him mercilessly on the telephone yesterday. And last night his friend Sandy said she was taking him to “urgent care” and she’d let us know if we needed to be concerned. Haven’t heard from her since and it’s too early to call….
I’m glad dad has lived to read Brokaw’s book and to see the WWII memorial unveiled. He was never any kind of American Legion or VFW guy. Like a lot of combat veterans he kept his memories pretty much to himself and didn’t have much use for flag waving and parades. On the other hand, ever since my brother was posted to Vietnam in the late sixties, dad has flown a flag at home.
We rainchecked the barbeque yesterday because dad said he just didn’t feel up to standing over a charcoal grill. And now, while I was writing this, my sister called and said they kept him in the hospital last night and they may be keeping him there for a few more days. The diagnosis seems to be an inflamed pancreas, but I’ll know more when I’ve talked with dad and the docs.
I think it’ll be my job later this morning to show up at the hospital and chide him for malingering. It’s my job right now to just find my own center and hold dad in the love that’s in my heart.