“I’m so sorry to disturb you,” I said to the woman next to me.
“It’s ok. I wasn’t sleeping, I was just dreaming,” she replied as I stood to slip past her on the Philadelphia-bound train to visit Dad in the hospital.
I smiled. Across the aisle*, her elderly husband was full-on asleep, arms crossed and head bowed. He was older than his wife who had taken the lead in finding seats and then in ensuring his comfort.
Looking at them as a couple, I thought of my mother, fit and strong and ten years younger than my father. Growing up, I never thought of their age difference as a big deal. Now, Dad’s age and health conditions are yielding a lot of heartache.
I’m trying not to equate love with pain and loss. But right now, it’s so very hard. Someday everyone I love will be gone. I too will leave this earth someday. And because I don’t have the crutch of believing in heaven, these feelings are a heavy burden.
Dad’s condition is stable now, but eight days into this hospital stay, we have no sense of when he might be ready to go home. No independence for Dad this July 4th.
I usually spend Independence Day with a family group in Rehoboth Beach. This year, there was an issue with the house we stay at so even if Dad were healthy, we were not going to be able to spend the holiday there together as is our tradition.
My long-term concerns over Dad’s health have been a sad weight to carry around. Having our vacation together canceled or at least indefinitely postponed added to my glum state.
But then two wacky super-fun back-to-back girls’ nights out saved the day.
On Friday, I went out for tacos with Caroline aka @goldpennyloafer, a wonderful friend I made on the trip to Kenya.
On Saturday, I started the night with a lovely friend in town from LA and another dear friend who stayed local for the holiday too. We drank fancy cocktails and befriended Argentinean men and met a gal who brought her dog to the bar.
We stayed out too late and drank too much, leading me to stay in bed for extra hours, but all in all, it was just what I needed to get a smile on my face and to forget my troubles for a few hours. Thanks, friends.
*JSYK I didn’t offer to swap seats because the girl across the aisle admitted she snuck her small dog onto the train against Amtrak policy. While I don’t object to what she did, I’m allergic and was relieved to avoid both contact with the dog and having the couple ask us to swap seats.
It’s tough to deal with the struggles your dad is facing, Jen. Sorry to hear your family destination holiday in Rehobeth also was scuttled this year. Hang in there. I know you’re a tough one. A few drinks with friends always helps, for sure. I’ll be thinking of you here in Syracuse. You’ve got a lot of friends in your corner all around the blog world. Lean on us word-wise as needed.