"Optimist = Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's the cha-cha." ―Robert Brault
Essentially, Dad is dancing right now. Some days are great, others not so much.
Chemo takes its toll, the unbearable abdominal pain…
Knowing there’s a lot of fun to be had, but no energy to have it.
Knowing there is life to be lived, but not in a physical condition to really live it.
And then sweet relief… an hour or two of dull pain rather than “the other.”
I’ll take it… So Dad & I took a drive. 😎
We cruised around Coronado listening to Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis), Stand By Me (Ben E. King), Sherry (Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons), Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison), etc.
We parked along the sand down the street from the Hotel Del Coronado and watched as the waves crashed behind the shoreline.
There was one moment when 'Over the Rainbow' by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole started playing and I began to feel the familiar lump in my throat.
That was the song playing when my dad walked me down the aisle to a handsome future.
I reimagined us walking down that aisle, only this time turning around to find him no longer standing behind me.
It made me grateful for the memory that actually exists.
My dad experienced the worst pain on Wednesday night that lasted through Thursday morning at the ER.
The gratitude of going home was short-lived as we ended up back again at the ER on Saturday.
As I said, we’re doing the Cha-Cha.
We had some exciting plans set up for this week. None of them happened.
There was a lot of wondering what the next day would bring.
So we stayed in.
The more I watched him breathe as we sat there on the bed, the harder I tried not to cry - the pressure of NOT letting it out felt like someone tightening their hands around my neck.
Crying is healthy, but it seems we’re not doing that around each other yet because this is still a fight in action.
So I reserve that for the car.
As I sat there next to him, I thought about moments.
So much time passes in life, but years later we only remember key moments.
My kids wait all day for a birthday party and then the following week they only remember the party, not the seemingly never-ending hours leading up to it.
As my dad lay on the bed, I sat there in gratitude for the exact moment of feeling the slow rise and fall of my hand on his shoulder.
His heartbeat visibly thumping from his neck.
It reminded me of his mom who had a pacemaker in her chest. As a child at chest-height I would hear the ticking when going in for Grammy’s hug.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Moment after moment. Some remembered, most long forgotten.
But I’ll remember that easy moment in the car listening to music together.
And he will, too.
At the end of it all, we have the moments we remember, and the ones left behind in the memory of others.
My dad’s fight continues… As a family we’ll dance all night, every night if we have to. Love is the strongest cup of coffee.
In the meantime, hug a loved one tighter today and tell them how grateful you are that they’re healthy.
As for my Dad, let’s see what this Christmas week brings. 🌲
For the flashy moments like a Vegas UFC fight, the quieter moments like a car ride listening to music, and all the ones in between… Feeling blessed and grateful ❤️