Despite the beauty of spring and freshness of everything in March, this month has been extremely hard for me. My Dad had back surgery in mid-March and was confined to his bed for 3 days and the hospital for about a week. Fortunately, everything went pretty well and he’s made great progress in his healing. But, for that time before and just after the surgery, we were all exhausted. Daily trips to the hospital were taxing not just because of the change in routine and so on, but because of the emotional toll.
My Dad is the strongest, most manly man I know. He’s a big, tough cowboy who fixes everything and never shows weakness (until you get him talking about his girls or his pets). He hunts and fishes and camps. He wrangles and brands cows. He fixes cars and spent his life working a tough blue collar job despite his college education. A former Boy Scout, he always knows how to tie the right knots and prepare for whatever may come. As a child, he awed me with his physical strength and I was pretty sure he could never falter of fail. He was my hero – still is, in a lot of ways.
So, now, to see him in such pain and so reliant on others for their strength… it’s hard. He suddenly seemed small to me – shrunken from his former strength. I suddenly had to face his mortality and what that means for me. And for my mom. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and I had no idea it would hit me so suddenly.
Through all of it, though, he has kept his humor. In the hospital, he joked and flirted with the nurses. He had late night talks with one of the male nurses about hunting and camping in the area – getting ideas and making plans for this fall. He was already planning his next adventure from his hospital bed! I think this speaks enormously of his character. My Dad doesn’t do the whole sitting around doing nothing thing. He always has a project or plan going. He may have slowed in his old(er) age, but he’ll never stop. If he ever does, that’s when I will know he’s in trouble. If he ever can’t joke around or find something to work on…
But that is not today! That is not now. Someday, maybe… but not any time soon. I admire his strength and his trying to stay positive. He wasn’t really raised that way, this attitude is all his doing. And it’s amazing how much he has to give even when he’s feeling his worst.
I hope I can be so strong and so positive when I ever have trials to persevere. I hope I can make people who are there to care for me laugh and get excited about their passions. I hope I have half his strength.