My mom called today with news that my dad was in the emergency room for an emergency CT scan. His physician was concerned that he might have a brain aneurysm. The CT scan ruled an aneurysm out, but they did find some shrapnel in his skull from an incident in Vietnam. He remembers the incident involving friendly fire, but he didn't know there was shrapnel embedded in his head. Kind of funny and interesting. There is no cause or concern to believe that his physical symptoms have anything to do with the shrapnel, and they ran more tests this afternoon and into this evening, including a spinal tap. Eventually the doctors decided that he may have a unique form of migraines and put him on a regimen of medication.
It's weird how random moments flash before your eyes when faced with risk or danger. When you think you might lose someone you love, suddenly it feels like all the random moments you shared with him or her have all led up to this very moment.
It was the same way when my college sweetheart died. When Rickey's father called to tell me he was dead, there was this ethereal moment when I saw, felt, heard everything that had ever happened between us within a matter of seconds. It was NOT like it played before my eyes as if in a movie with poignant music in the background; they are just moments that you know exist and are jumbled into one last flash to which your mind, body and soul try desperately to hold. And then this shock hits your system as you try to add this new moment into the timeline of your life ... in which this loss is your new reality. And then that flash slips away.
The thing is that you continue to watch it slip away for the rest of your life. Or maybe you keep it from slipping too far and you drag it along with you. Sometimes it's hard to just let the dead be dead.
As scared as I was for my dad today, I was more anxious for my mom. My dad is a logical man who accepts the natural occurrence of death as easily as he accepts that the sky is blue. He has gotten our family through the deaths of relatives and got me through Rickey's death with that logic. And though it is always different when it's your own, I am sure that he will face his own death in a similar fashion. I am just not ready for that day to come yet. And I know my mom is not either.
Twenty more days to go before I end the chapter of my life in Western North Carolina and start a new one in New York City. And I really need my dad to be around for that. And I want him around for awhile thereafter.