Tomorrow, my father is undergoing cardiac catheterization. He’s almost 69 and this procedure is fairly routine, but… This is one of those moments that gives us pause as human beings. It can cause us to grow in appreciation, tenderness, forgiveness, and the realization of the fragility of life. I, as a daughter, love my father and, naturally, am saddened to see him age and feel deep sorrow and dread when I think about his mortality. And, for me, personally, unique as I am and my life is, this pause is especially… scary.
I am so completely dependent upon other people for my survival. As many of you know, I can’t even put food in my own mouth, I can barely move anything in my body… except my mouth (as in talking a lot, as others will confirm.) My parents have taken care of me for all of my 41+ years of life. I am utterly grateful for them, for their self-sacrifice and loving generosity. I truly don’t deserve it. But, full of great love as they are, they don’t do it because I deserve it – they do it because they love.
My father has always been a hands-on father. My mother worked at home in the hairdressing shop that we had in our basement, so, as soon as the father came home from work, he took over the responsibility of caring for us. He always gave my sister and me our bath, changed our diapers if needed, and got us ready for bed. And he always played with us during this time, too! And if we were sick, though we (and he) turned to our mother for advice and direction, it was our dad that we like to have at the bedside to soothe us. As I grew more dependent, because of my progressive motor neuron disease, my father would get up for me in the middle of the night to readjust my position or to get me whatever I needed. My sister grew into independence – but I did not. So his care for me continued – continues.
Again, the procedure he is undergoing is routine and, truly, a blessing. I am thankful that they are going to be able to do this in order to keep him healthy. Sure, something could happen, a mistake or bad reaction, just as something can happen to him or my mother whenever they get in the car to drive somewhere. As I get older, I find myself more and more aware of this as I am becoming more and more sensitive to the fragility of life. Not my own, interestingly, for I have always been aware of the fragility of my own health and have been facing my own mortality since I was 13 years old. And I have asked God to let me live for a long, long time. As my mother has said, it isn’t natural for parents to have to bury their child. It is more natural for a child to bury a parent. But, I will say, that I don’t have any desire to outlive my parents. None at all.
Of course, I can’t control this, and I place it in God’s hands willingly and gladly, for I trust God’s will. Sometimes the thought of what God’s will might be scares me – terrifies me. But, in the end, as long as what ever happens in the course of these next years or decades is truly God’s Positive Will, then I will do my very best to see the blessings within it. At least, that is my true intention. To do everything that I can to be the person that He created me to be. After all, I belong to God, I always have and always will. So, too, my parents belong to God, as do all of my loved ones. No one loves my dad more than God does. Not even me. And, so, I pray that God will keep him safe from harm, from negligence, accident, or malice, and give him good health and well-being in mind, body, heart, and soul. And that we not be put to the test!
May God grant us all the length and strength of years to do His Holy Will. And, in these little pauses of our lives, may we be ever grateful for the gift of life – and the awesome gift of love. I thank You, God, for my dad and for the blessings of good medicine!
© 2015 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.