It was a time when I didn't know where to turn, didn't know where I needed to be, didn't know where my Dad would need to be after the initial hospitalization. I often wear my heart on my sleeve, and it was hard to even know if I should do that or try to be strong. I found myself not even knowing what emotions, thoughts, decisions were appropriate and most of all, where I was 'supposed' to be.
What a week. I experienced so many things that week that I've never dealt with before. First, there was the worry. I've been lucky enough that no one in my immediate family has ever been seriously sick or injured before. In the last year, my sister and my Dad have both been in the hospital.
It took me a while to figure out what I was going to do after getting the call about Dad. I honestly didn't know what I was supposed to do. With everything else I've experienced in my adult life, I feel like I've had some frame of reference - friends who had been through the same thing, some experience at least witnessing things that helped. In this case? I had no point of reference.
When I first got the call about the accident I was upset but I went into information gathering and dispersal mode. The hardest thing by far about that night was actually talking to my Dad when he was in the ER. As I mentioned before, he was in shock, and hadn't had the surgery to repair his badly damaged wrist. Talking to him in that state was really hard for two reasons. The first was that I could tell that he was out of it and hurt, and as a child of ANY age, I think it's hard to hear your parent that way. The second was that at the end of the call, I said I loved him and he said he loved me back and I could hear tears in his voice. I have NEVER seen my Dad cry. I'm sure it's happened, but I've never been in a situation where I witnessed or heard it. It was sort of a shock to my senses, because it made it seem so serious and scary.
I wrote this on Saturday, the day after the accident:
It fills my head, this pressure. In my sinuses, as the tears come and my nose begins to run, I sniffle automatically and the vague sensation of headache that's been lurking becomes more prominent. Ups and downs. I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know what TO do. This is a responsibility, for the first time as an adult something is coming down on me that I wasn't expecting. My thoughts are crazy. It looks like I will probably be heading to St. Louis tomorrow or Monday. I wish I was there already and part of me feels like an asshole for not being there right now. There are complications though. I don't have a credit card. I'm bankrupt and physically have no financial means to get there. I wrote that about four hours ago, having just talked to my Aunt about trying to make travel plans to go see my Dad. I was feeling so much pressure about the situation - emotionally being pulled to hopping a plane and just being there, or it being too hard to leave my kid and figure out babysitters and plans. This is the first time in my adult life I have been thrust into a situation really unfamilar to me. A situation where I had no friends to turn to, no one to help me figure out what I should do.
Should I stay, should I go? How serious is it? Does he need us? Should we go even if he thinks it's unneccesary? Who is that decision up to anyhow? Who is in charge here? When did I become... an Adult?!
It was all so confusing. I had no idea how to react, and I felt pressure from different people to do different things. Even getting the money to travel to St. Louis was a huge hurdle for us. And throughout the whole thing, we were feeling so much and not knowing what we "should" be feeling or thinking.
In the end, my sister and I both flew to St. Louis on Sunday, a day and a half after the accident. As soon as we got the tickets, we knew that it was the right thing to do. When we got there, we knew it was where we wanted to be, whether it was strictly NECESSARY or not. It was good we were there to get things in order, to be able to go buy Dad new glasses, to bring him things from home etc. It was weird to be taking care of him to some degree, and it was hard to see him unable to do things for himself. Luckily, his recovery has gone exceedingly well, and even in the four and a half days we were there there was a ton of improvement and he was in better spirits when we left.
Lately, I've lamented the spread-out-ness of our culture. The fact that my Stepmom and Little Sis are all the way across the country, and that my Dad is halfway across the country and that my Aunt is way down south. There are many times I wish that it wasn't so possible to travel so far, that we all lived closer together and that I could have just driven to that hospital when my Dad needed me. I am truly blessed that I was able to get monetary help with the tickets, and have people to watch Sam through the generosity of my family and friends.
Out of all the confusion and difficulty, there did come some good things. That's what I'll write about in part 3 of the series, which will be up next Tuesday!
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