My father is an exceptional human being. A friend to all, generous beyond what most are capable of, and an all around bright light in this world. Anyone who knows my father personally knows his character and remembers him for his hilarious sense of humor and notoriously laughable (yet terrible) dad jokes. This man has overcome more in his life than most people could begin to imagine. He would be the last person to talk about, or admit, that he could use a helping hand because that’s who he is. Between his stubborn and hardworking nature and all that was instilled in him during his time as a Marine and Vietnam Vet- he has fought the toughest battle in both stride and humility.
This year in March he suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke, that by all means should have and could have ended his life, or at least left him mostly incapacitated. The doctors were in awe of his will to live and his will to fight. After seven months of being hospitalized, he beat all odds and is learning to walk again, and his speech is phenomenal considering. But more impressive is his spirit. This man has inspired me to be a better person and he probably doesn’t even realize it. Still smiling, still telling jokes, still calling me and my siblings to make sure that WE are ok.
He even refused to make store bought stuffing for thanksgiving dinner and prepared a home cooked meal, tripling the amount of time it would have normally taken him, to feed the likes of 10+ people he invited over. All because they were away from family for the holidays. Not even batting an eyelash at the fact that their pocket books are tight, their retirement savings are not what they used to be on account of this years trials , or his own physical exhaustion.
Then there’s my mother. Her steadfast, loving and kind nature- never faltering. Incredible beyond words. She never missed a day during those seven months- driving 45 minutes one way to make sure he had company Every. Single. Day. She still made time to call us and talk to us kids, to care for her ailing mother, and to stay involved with her church. Her strength and kindness knows no bounds, it seems. She executes it flawlessly and with no expectations of anything in return. I could only hope to be half the person she is some day- both her AND my father- and I hope they both realize this.
After less than two months of being home my father is back in the hospital with a bowel obstruction and infection. It’s a waiting game at this point- none of us sure what the next step will be- or what any of the incredible risks could mean for my father's health and future wellness. He’s already high risk for surgery, factor in infection and possible kidney failure (which would mean dialysis for the rest of his life) so doctors are avoiding surgery at all cost. So we wait... to find out our next step, for another miracle, for anything. Yet my father and mother FaceTime me and he’s still smiling, still telling me not to worry, consoling ME, assuring me that he will be ok and he will keep fighting. “Don’t cry, honey. I’ll be ok.” The amount of times he has said that to me over the course of a year is astounding. I have found an unspeakable strength through my father's battle this year and it has carried me through some of my own hardships and he deserves to know that.
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