A Chance to Say "I Love You", Again

11:01 AM

I am sitting next to my father's hospital bed. The only sounds I can hear in his room is the beeping of machines, low whispers of medical personnel in the hall, and the ventilator which is pumping air into my father's weary body. It's hard to write or speak of how I feel below the surface without being overcome with emotion. I know that if I allow myself to speak fully about them, it would be impossible for me to be strong for my father and family right now. So, I will write instead.

I knew immediately when I heard my sister's voice on Wednesday morning that a tragedy had occurred and that something was wrong with my father. We had just left him on Monday afternoon. It was hard to say good-bye and bittersweet like always because we miss him and worry that he is lonely. We had just spent almost a week with him celebrating Thanksgiving and spending time together.

Bella had been his little shadow following him around on the farm as he tended to the rabbits, turkeys, and Stinkerbelle (his spoiled, peanut-butter loving pig), We played Balderdash late into the night numerous times, We laughed so hard at times we were crying and I truly believed my dad was going to pop a blood vessel he laughed so hard at the acronym definition of B.O.B. (The Brotherhood of Old Bastards). We ate Veyo pie every night and talked about visiting Aunt Diane in Whidbey Island, Washington. Dad talked about all the places in Canada he wanted to visit. We sat together twice and watched the The Cokeville Miracle. We cried while we watched and then spoke about our ancestors and loved ones on the other side and how we know they are with us and that they our guardian angels for us here on earth. Within moments his life changed, our lives changed, and now everything is different.

When my sister described the accident I wasn't sure if my father would survived it. I immediately dropped to my knees and started begging and praying that his life would be spared. I told God that I wasn't ready to let go of my Papa!

Afterwards, I felt guilty praying for what I wanted, especially after seeing him in the ICU and after the 6 hours it took to put his jaw back together. He had tubes going in and coming out of his body and he was highly sedated because of the amount of pain he was experiencing. His weary body struggling to breathe and yet because of the fact that he survived such trauma, he seem like a giant of strength to me. A man full of grit! Things haven't changed much in these few days except that they are bringing him out of sedation randomly throughout the day to check his vitals. We both dread and rejoice in these moments.

We dread the nausea that will soon overtake him once they turn the sedation down and he begins to move. All of this causes him to throw up which is extremely traumatic with his jaw is wired shut. It sets off alarms and everyone jumps up. Nurses rush in, someone starts suctioning, the bed is elevated, anti-nausea meds are administered, and we all pray that didn't aspirate anything. Then things calm down and we rejoice because in those brief moments we catch a glimpse of our papa again! We can only communicate by squeezing hands since his jaw is wired shut. We slowly say the alphabet and he squeezes our hand when we say the letter that he wants to use to spell a word and then one of us writes it down. It is a tedious process and takes many minutes to spell a 4-5 letter word. It is exhausting both physically and emotionally. Many times we would speak to fast or he would squeeze to late and we'd write the incorrect letters and then have to start all over again.

I will never forget that first message that he slowly communicated to us. It took at least 5 minutes of slowly reciting the alphabet, squeezing, and writing. It began with the letter I. Then the letters L, U, V.... We immediately figured out the rest of the sentence shouting it out loud in unison and then starting to both cry and laugh at the same time! I love you! His eyes were closed but he smiled with his lips to show that we had finally figured it our correctly. It was one of the sweetest moments that we had together by his bedside.

Such three simple words, "I love you" and how easy for us to say them daily under normal circumstances. I have learned that life can change in a moment and our opportunities to tell others that we love them may be gone. I am so glad for the moments we all had together over Thanksgiving. We shared so many memories and we said those words often to each other. I know that I would be struggling even more dealing with this experience if I hadn't just recently had that time with him.

May we all remember to continue saying those three simple words and to say them often! Not just to those in our lives that are the easiest to love, but to those who may need to hear it the most. May we reach out, forgive, and without any expectations of how it will be received, tell that someone that we love them today!

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  1. What a beautifully written reminder that mortality is a transient thing, and that love is not. So glad for each note that indicates your dad is recovering!

  2. Beautifully written and what a story! It's truly a miracle he's alive and we continue to pray for his recovery.