“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. Continue reading