Monday, January 24, 2011


I don't know about you, but here's what I've learned about myself: I've never, ever regretted spending more time with my family.

No matter how inconvenient or expensive or late or distant a trip might have been, it has always been worth it to go. To attend. To be there for whatever event may have occurred. Weddings. Funerals. Anniversaries. Birthdays.

Sometimes it was just dinner.

It's always been worth it.

Now the issue is illness.

And here I am, in Canada, with my mother and sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces and one nephew. I am here, because here is the right place to be. My dad is not doing well. My mom needed me to be here, although she never asked me to come. She wouldn't have, because she doesn't ask for things like that. She doesn't make requests for herself.

She's used to being The Rock. She's not used to being on the receiving end of caring. However, I knew that I needed to come out and see her now. Not in a few months from now. Not after I've processed the emotions I'm currently running through (Grief. Remorse. Fear. Sadness. Horror. Anger. Disbelief. Loss. More fear. Anxiety.), which will take quite awhile. Not when it may be more convenient for me or I can find a cheaper flight, or any of a billion reasons excuses that I might otherwise come up with to not come.

Now is the time to be here. The troops have rallied. My sisters and I are here. Even if we can't do anything for dad (And honestly, we can't. There's nothing TO be done.), we can be here for mom and for each other. Even if all we did was sit around and stare at one another over dinner for the week I'll be here, we can do it together and provide each other a shoulder to cry on (That would be my job: to cry.), an ear to listen, someone to bounce ideas off of, or just to chat about completely unrelated things (So, this one time in Band Camp? No...wait...we talk about raising children and gardening and food and I listen to weird stories about television shows I know nothing about and offer completely unsolicited marital advice and tips on child raising because I'm such an expert. Ayup.) and to sometimes even laugh.

Even though dad isn't going to look up and recognize any of us and you can't really hold a conversation with him and you certainly can't resolve any outstanding issues you may have with him, you can still show up and be counted. Maybe he will look up suddenly and recognize me for a moment. He probably won't. But if I wasn't here to see him myself, I would never have even the slimmest chance of that happening.

Each time I see him, my heart breaks a little more. It's true. Each time I see him, I have to say goodbye. Each time I say goodbye, there's always that chance that I never will see him again. Hell, I could get hit by a bus and he could outlive me by years and years. You never know.

You never know when your "last" visit will come. Not with anyone.

I'm not willing to waste time making up excuses for why I can't come and see my father or my mother, or my sisters and their children. I'm not willing to waste my life waiting for the "right time" or "enough" money.

Now is the time.

Now is the only moment we have.

I have no regrets. I am exactly where I should be.

Even though it hurts.

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