I spoke to my father today. His procedure went as planned. They opted for minimal intervention. Basically, it was the least invasive option – looking at it and doing nothing. The most invasive option wasn’t really practical, and not ultimately necessary. The medium option, considering the situation, was probably the most risky. He’ll have to live with it. Part of me feels relieved, another wishes they could have done something. He’s pushing 90, so one must be circumspect about these things. It is hard to watch people age.
I’m feeling my age, too, and I can only begin to imagine how he feels, 30 years older, on the flip side of two bypass surgeries, the longest-lived of his family by a considerable margin. It’s been over 20 years since his elder sister died, his eldest brother died at my age, 40 years ago. Both his parents died before I was born, only a couple years older than I am now.
My mother is still at his side, the middle of three children, all living – from a family with more history of longevity. It is equally hard to imagine how she feels, having survived a heart attack about 5 years ago, but in much better overall health, helplessly watching him fail. He has been preparing for the end since his sixties, and she is giving things away. Every time I go to visit, I come home with something long forgotten from my school days, probably from high school. Last time I was home we went through one of her mother’s old scrapbooks. I learned a lot more about her family than I ever knew. I only remember meeting her mother once, not long before her death when I was seven. She was confined to bed, and we were never allowed up to see her, except for that one time.
I still know very little about my father’s family. Strangely, it is better documented, at least our ancestry. My father has spoken very little of his parents – his father worked for the railroad as a bookkeeper. I know even less about his mother other than her name. I’ve seen a grainy photocopy of a photo of her grandfather. The only pictures I’ve seen of her is holding my eldest cousins as babies as well as another holding my elder sister. Both my paternal grandparents died shortly after that photo was taken.
I don’t know why I’m blathering on about this. It was a good day. There was no bad news. No particularly good news, but nothing bad. Anyway, it inspired today’s haiku: A Father’s Love.