Where Do We Go From Here?
I have written about my dad’s love interest, my fight to accept her, and the happiness she has brought him. This weekend she suffered a stroke. It doesn’t seem too severe, but he is worried. I spoke with him last night, he won’t come right out with it, but I can tell he is scared that he will be burying two wives.
This seems like an everybody’s family issue. But you would have to understand how we got here. There was never one moment we ever thought my dad would outlive my mom. She was strong and vibrant. She worked into her eighties in the yard, no matter the heat. She was born into a decade of wars and depressions. They went to bed hungry more than once, I know many of you have had the same story. But it was my dad with the iffy heart. He had the huge heart attack in '97. He has had a heart surgery, two stents, and two smaller attacks since the big one. He would have died, had he not have been operating on his own patient. So when he dropped, they were on it within seconds. It saved his life.
We used to have a little joke about who mom was going to live with after dad left. Then it just all went bad! My mom passed away, not my dad, and it spun us all! It isn’t that we wanted my dad to die, we just that never thought he would outlive her. Then he gets with this woman many years his junior, and he seems in better health than she is. And now this.
One night my dad asked me to look after his gal when he passed. I stood stunned. It had not been too far out since my mom had died. I was trying to accept the dating part, but I just wasn’t expecting that. I said I would. He looked so vulnerable and sweet. That is when I realized that he was more shocked to outlive my mom than we were. He had no idea how to proceed solo. So he did what many do: he got a girlfriend.
I have grown to admire this woman. Now her nursing career is over, and I wonder what the plan is now. He has not asked her to marry him yet, and I think he loves her, but I wonder with this new event how things will unfold. I know he is worried, and that makes me worry. I don’t think he could take another death, and I don’t think I could take it right now myself, so where do we go from here?
I have asked the universe for very little. I have received more than I deserve. I have three good sons. I have a good marriage, a budding career, and a dad who is scared of losing yet another woman he loves. The last time we were all together, she was saying that she had fought dating my dad. “Not again!” She said as she did a loving pinch on his arm that wrapped around her shoulders. I have grown used to the affection, only after he told me the hardest part was sleeping alone. He is a guy wanting to be loved, as he loves. He raised his family, married a hearty 60 years, and now he worries about yet another.
“I will watch over her, Pop.” I do not know what will happen, and I know not to expect anything. But I do see a man falling in love while healing from a huge death, asking a favor. I will honor this, and will proceed as if all will be alright. In my heart, I am so very frightened. I am trying to act like this is no big deal, but he is a doc, and he isn’t a fool. He knows that there is a risk that she will not outlive him.
No matter what happens, I am proud of him. He has tried to get the most life has to give, he has forgiven the huge losses of children, and his wife. And this man asked his youngest daughter to do what he deems the right thing, and I will do it. No, she is not my mom, but she loves my dad, so I love her. Wish my family strength and health. Give this man a reprieve from a funeral home, and a headstone designer. Give him Ireland and a healthy wife. Give him the love he desires and needs, and give me the strength to do what he asks. Because, after all, it is the right thing to do.