Feb 2019 26

For those of you wondering, my father is hanging in. Day 12 in a hospital.

No longer on immediate deathwatch, it’s not his body I am concerned about anymore. It is his spirit, and that takes longer to heal if it possibly can.

Finding meaning for our lives is tough enough when you’re younger. Imagine being 90. My father is going through a crisis of purpose. I think his attitude right now is “Why get better just to be healthier when I die?”.

I’ve tried the expected ‘Your granddaughter would love to see you walking around again’, and ‘You can see her grow up’ but considering he already cheated death-by-cancer before her birth 12 years ago, he feels he already checked that one off his list. She’s a young woman now and although she loves ‘G-dad’, even I can barely get her to return my texts these days. G-dad is loved, but an afterthought.

I’ve downshifted into ‘The other seniors at your residence (he lives in a senior’s building) would be inspired to see you return’. Nobody really comes back once you go for an extended stay in the hospital at that age, and they lost a resident two weeks ago. They could use the good news. But he has no close friends there, really. He likes a lot of them, sure. Finding a ‘soul friend’ as the departed resident, Bill, who passed away recently did, hasn’t been in the cards for my dad. Who in their right mind gets involved with a 90 year old?

It will be a long road to recovery. He is barely able to get out of a hospital bed after just 3 weeks ago being able to get on the subway on his own and walk around a mall with just a cane. Now, he just feels like a burden to everyone with the reality of a walker and oxygen in his future. ‘Why did I cheat death again? For what? Is this really living?’ is his way of thinking right now.

The kids next door made him a card with a crude and beautiful rainbow on it with a ‘Get well soon, Bert!’ on it. It is taped up in his room to work some magic.

I am out of things to say to him. I cannot put my life on hold to spend every day trying to inspire him, nor does he want that. He knows he can only do it for himself.

And no matter what age you are, I suppose that’s true to live your life.

Perhaps he will find another gear, despite the short road ahead.

My only weapon left is to remind him that life is strange, which he should really know by now, and we never know what will appear at our door to help us move forward towards it.

Purpose has a tendency to pop up when you least expect it. If you are open to it.

Yesterday, he certainly was not. But it’s a new day.