Thursday, December 2, 2010


It seems like I’ve been writing a lot about life and death lately.  I’m going to do it again…sorry.

My dad had an “episode” over the weekend.  I got a call from my mother asking me to come out.  She thought Dad had a stroke.  He couldn’t stand up, but seemed fine otherwise.

When I got there, my mother was confused, something I’d never seen before.  She was trying to hold it together, and she was trying to help, but the obvious was staring at her.  And, she was trying to stare it back.

My dad was coherent and had strength in both hands and could do some basic things.  I asked Mom if Dad would ride in an ambulance.  The answer was clear, “absolutely not”.

So, I proceeded to bear hug carry him to my car.  He wasn’t afraid.  He was more upset that he had become a “nuisance”, something he could never foresee himself becoming.  I told him it was time he accepted help, the help he’s been giving us all of these years.

I got him to the emergency room and they began to do tests.  It wasn’t a stroke, but just a matter of being dehydrated and an infection.  He was going to be fine.

What I didn’t expect were the overwhelming emotions that came over me when I left the hospital.  I was paralyzed.

I’d never felt so helpless.  While the outcome was good, the feelings of helplessness were real.   

In my world, you fix things when they’re broken.  You work harder.  You think harder.  But, you fix them.  This was one thing I couldn’t fix. 


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry, Tom. It's hard, bearing witness to such times. I completely understand.

    Sometimes, you cannot fix things, change things. But you can be there for someone when they need you. And you were.

  2. Thank you Beth. I always wondered how I'd feel in such an event. Now I know. I guess I've been lucky.