“Just Be You”

“I don’t know what to do, Dad….”

… is probably when the worst began.  On my knees.  Out of ideas.

I had tried every edible option in the kitchen, including the watermelon, banana slices, and my poor attempt at making a strawberry smoothie; but he did not want to eat or drink anything and I found myself once again begging for a suggestion.  Before he could respond, my mind flashed back several weeks to when he was still totally coherent.

“Please eat something, Dad.  For me.  Please.”

And he had smiled and agreed to have a little asparagus as one tear crawled down my left cheek.  He would rather throw up later than break my heart by refusing any more suggestions.  He knew I was convinced the only thing more important, more crucial to his healing than what he believed would be the food he ingested.  He knew then that I was getting scared.

But this time was different because he could see my fear and frustration, but was unable to do anything about it.  He couldn’t hide the fact that he couldn’t eat anymore and I couldn’t hide my exasperation at how weak it was making him.  As a last resort, I grabbed a bottle of the nutritional supplement that he had happily drank at the pain clinic last week.  But as I tried to give it to him, his grip weakened and when I let go the whole bottle spilled all over his lap; including the blankets that covered him and the chair he was sitting on.  As I grabbed a dishtowel and dropped to my knees, trying to quickly clean up the milky substance before it soured, I realized there was nothing more I could do to help him and my heart exploded with grief.

After years of fighting, I had to face the fact that I no longer knew how to fight.

I ignored the mess, lifted my head and looked at him with tears in my eyes.

“I don’t know what to do, Dad…”

He smiled.

“Just be you.”

“And how am I supposed to do that?” I cried out to him, irritated by the simplicity of this answer.

“Just be you.” he said again, still smiling.  “The real you.”

And I realized that was all he ever really wanted from me.

I couldn’t stop crying, but somehow managed to say “well, the real me wants to hug you right now” as I dropped the dishtowel and, still kneeling, threw my arms around my emaciated Father.

Suddenly, he didn’t seem so weak.

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~ by lindseywhitemusic on July 11, 2012.

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