Sunday, March 02, 2008


I spent most of Friday at the hospital. Dad had gone to the doctor earlier in the week after experiencing shortness of breath. Tests revealed blockage in his heart, so they scheduled him for an arteriogram Friday. We were told they would either treat it with medication, insert a stent, or do open heart surgery, depending on what the arteriogram showed.

After several hours of waiting and being as nervous as I think I've ever been, the doctor finally came out to talk to us. The news was not good. All three main arteries have significant blockage, including one that is about 90% blocked. He said it was too much to fix with stents and recommended bypass surgery.


I wanted to go back in time five minutes, before I knew. I wanted to go back to being seven years old, going fishing with Dad for the first time with a plastic yellow rod and reel that was never gonna catch anything, when I had blonde hair and he still had hair. And a snake swam by and Dad said we had to go and we ran to the car and didn't go fishing again for years.

But I didn't say a word. I just stood there and put on my strongest face, trying not to show how scared I had suddenly become. I looked at the X-Rays the doctor was showing us thinking there was going to be some mistake, but knowing there wouldn't be.

And then I thought about Dad still lying in the cardiac unit by himself, having just been told this very same news. And I felt very selfish.

Dad has to go in Thursday for some pre-op tests and it looks like the surgery will be sometime next week. I know he has to be worried sick, but he isn't showing it much. Though his memory about that first fishing trip seems to be a bit hazy, as he recounted it Friday saying I was the one who got scared and begged to leave.

I know bypass surgery is a common procedure nowadays. The surgeon told us there is a 98 percent success rate. And that seems very high until you're talking about the life of someone you love.

Someone suggested it may be one of the hardest things in life, realizing your parents are human and are becoming older and won't be here forever. Of course, neither will I. Neither will any of us. But it just doesn't sink in most of the time. I can be the strong one. I can hold back tears as long as necessary. But I can't make this alright. That's a hard thing to accept.

I've spent the weekend thinking about Dad. Thinking about entire weeks when I didn't make time to see him, and all the days I didn't so much as give him a call.

Dad plays guitar and is in a band and plays music somewhere almost every weekend. I haven't been to see him play in over a year.

He bought me a used drum set once in hopes that I might learn to play, and maybe even play with his band. I never practiced and he eventually sold the set.

A few months ago, Dad said he was trying to write some songs and if he emailed me the lyrics would I tell him what I thought and maybe help him some because "you're good at stuff like that." They all seemed like 60's pop songs to me, like bad Beatles lyrics. I told him they were OK and that was that.

Those are things I missed out on. It's not so much guilt as it is regret. The time is so precious and you can't ever get it back. I should go see him more. I know I should.

Life is just a whisper. Even the bad days truly aren't all that bad. Why can't I ever learn to cherish every single one of them?

"I'm wishin' my Dad was forty again. He would be young and I would be ten."


  1. Oh my comment didn't take

    I'm so sorry for your dad, for you and for everything you have gone through recently.

    Life is a whisper. But we're human--and humans don't and can't do everything perfectly

    Your father knows how much you love him--that's kind of obvious from this post

    Though think you should write some lyrics :)

    It is the hardest lesson we learn--that not every problem is fixable--and we have to learn it again and again as we so want to fix everything. That too is human nature for many of us

    I know his surgery will go well--well I"m about 98% sure :) and hope that you can relax

    Hugs :)

  2. I hope all goes well with your Dad's surgery. Be grateful for the chance to spend more time with him.

  3. *hugs*

    I know that no matter what I say, it won’t be enough to get you to leave behind the guilt you’re feeling over this. The best I can tell you is to be there for your Dad now. To take the time, and help him write those lyrics. To listen to him if he wants to talk about this, or to respect his silence if he doesn’t.

    I don’t know too many people who talk to their parents daily :) It’s normal that you haven’t. Parents raise their children to be self-sufficient and to grow up and go off in the world. And they rarely want their kids to feel guilt for doing so.

    My advice, insignificant as it seems, is to just be there for him. You wrote once about how after your engagement ended, your Dad came to take you to lunch once a week. To just spend time with you. To talk about that, and then later, life in general. Maybe it’s your turn to do that for him.

    I also think you need to believer. Believe he’s going to be one of those 98%. To pray for him. And to remember those times when you were little, and your Dad was scared of snakes. (Smart man by the way: I think I like your Dad.) Your Dad is young and hopefully has a lot of years left in his life: same with you. But if neither one of you does, do you want him to feel guilty about how he handled things with you, ever? Probably not. And he wouldn’t either. So just love him and let him know that you do.

    And don’t forget to take care of yourself in all this as well. People forget that sometimes – taking care of themselves. Let yourself cry. Wait until you’re home and your fish can comfort you if need be, but go ahead and cry. Talk about how scared you are: it doesn’t make you weak, it just makes you human.

    And as always, know that you have a lot of people behind you. *HUGS*

  4. Bone, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your dad... touching memories, be there now for him, while you can. Blessings!

  5. Having just gone through a similar experience this past summer, know that what you're going through is completely normal. And that your dad loves you.

    You'll both be in my prayers.

  6. Just have faith (I'm not particularly religious, and I don't assume others are or aren't, but I believe personal faith is important). Is it awful for me to say what comes is what comes? It's out of your hands. Your dad knows you love him.

  7. Well, you can't change the past like regretting not going to see him more, etc. But you CAN make some changes to ensure you don't make any more regret. My new philosophy has been to try and make decisions that will be easier for me to live with and have no regrets. I'll never regret the times my house remained messy so that I could spend time with my hubby's grandmother while she was alive. I won't regret giving up some of my "alone" time to babysit for my great-niece and great-nephew. You know, things like that. It certainly has changed my attitude and my decision-making process. I will keep you and your dad in my thoughts and prayers as he goes through his surgery. You just be there for him the best you can. The most important thing is that he knows he is loved. And I'm sure he does.

  8. Pia: Thanks. I appreciate the encouraging words. And I know he'll be much better off after the surgery. I just wish the odds were more like 99.995%. Or higher. *hugs*

    Balou: Thank you. I am working on trying to be more grateful.

    TC: Well, like I said, it's not so much guilt as it is regret that I missed out on times we could have hung out. But that really doesn't matter now. All I can do is what I can do from here on, and hopefully learn from the past.

    Thanks. *hugs*

    Sage: I definitely plan on doing that. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

    Renee: Thank you. I sure appreciate the prayers.

    Sean: Yeah, it's that whole not being able to control anything that's tough. But then again, I guess we never really can.

    Teeni: Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. It just seems like I keep having to relearn this lesson, because eventually I fall back into the same old routine.

  9. That's scary for all of you. I can understand the regrets welling up because we do tend to take life and the people we love for granted and it isn't until something like this that we wake up. Here's the good news: you have more time. Use it.

    I'm thinking of you and your family and wishing all good things.

  10. If I could rewind time to when my parents were ill. When I sat there with my mother as the Dr. told her she had cancer, I would remind my self not to be selfish. I think through both of their illnesses I thought it would somehow get better or go away. It didn't and I'm left with wishing I could do things differently. Maybe everyone feels that way. You're right, parents are human, they have feelings, they get scared. You just have to be there for them in whatever capacity they need you. I'll say a little prayer for your dad. Sounds like he's got lots of things he wants to do, I'm betting a full recovery is all he's going to settle for.

  11. Remember the saying, "What have you done for me lately?" There is a reason for is the now memories you make and the new memories you make that will be stronger than the regrets. So, have at making the memories... and know we all have your back. Well, mine may not be as strong as yours, but....

    Hugs, energy and prayers sent toward y'all.

  12. i was in a similar situation in december with my dad.. they are still holding off on the surgery tho as he needs an aortic valve,, and the doctor feels the surgery is riskier than living with the bad on eat this point... but anyway...

    our situation is complicated in that my father has not spoken to me in six years,, and he doesn't speak to either of my sisters either...(long story religious fanaticism is the basis) i would never forgive myself if something happened to him and i had not been there for him,, but he strictly forbade any of us to fly in...

    you are there.. your dad loves you,, you love him.. be there for him and enjoy every single moment you you have together...

  13. My grandmother was 84 when she had open heart surgery.. she did fine.

    What they do these days is amazing. Thinking of you and your dad.. keep us posted. Sending many hugs.

  14. You know what I just went through with my dad, and I can honestly say that I know exactly how you feel right now. Once dad had the biopsy and we had to wait the 2 days, I was scared to death. Partly because I already knew what the outcome would most likely be.

    All I can say is that I am so thankful for the time that I got to spend with him during his last 3 months. We didn't really do much because he was too sick, but we did have some really good conversations that I will remember for a very long time.

    I have my good days, and my bad days, but I think thats normal.

    I try not to think of the weeks that would go by that I would not make time to see him, because I don't want to beat myself up over something that is in the past. I like to focus on all the good memories from my childhood.... Traditions he started that I continue with Shayla.

    It helps also to know that he is not suffering anymore.

    You and your dad will be in my prayers. I will pray for strength for you, because it was those prayers for me that have helped me to get through this most difficult time in my life.

    Hang in there!

  15. Bone, (lowers head and bites bottom lip), I'm sorry for you. I don't think I can say more than what has already been written.

    It's okay to be scared.
    It's okay to cry.
    It's okay to feel silly after you finish crying.
    It's okay to not want to talk to anyone.
    It's okay to want to distract yourself with anything possible.
    It's okay to not know what to say or to not say anything at all.
    Be you and it will be okay.

    you and your family are in my prayers.

  16. I'm thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers.

  17. Don't regret what you didn't do. None of us have a time machine we can go back in . . no matter how desperately we want to. Instead, resolve to do better. It's terrible that you've suffered so much with your parents recently and that these lessons/reminders came about the way they did, but what's important is that they came . . and in plenty of time for you to do something about it.

    I have faith and trust that your parents will be around for many more years to come. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and those of so many others. Use these years to do the things you've been reminded of. Go listen to your father's band, accept more of your mom's dinner invitations, call them every once in a while just to say . . . anything at all. The words don't matter. It's the actions.

    I have no doubt you're a wonderful son and that they couldn't be prouder of you. I doubt, reading this, that they would look back and think about the things you didn't do. They will remember the things you did. And I'm positive you've done so much more than most sons. The words you've placed here are proof of that.

    Regrets are wasteful things. Life is just a whisper. Don't let the past rule it, focus on the here, the now and the future.

    And cry if you want to; if you need to. Salty discharge from the eyes is sexy. :)

    Had to try and make you laugh after so much heaviness.

  18. Hi Bone, I'm so sorry your dad's been ill and has to have surgery. I will send tons of good energy. You wrote so eloquently and beautifully about your feelings and memories, and this really touched my heart deeply and brought tears to my eyes. Be gentle with yourself during this time and make sure to get some rest. I know this isn't the right time, but yesterday I awarded you with the "I Can Go For That" award.

  19. Hang in there, Bone. I've been there... and I was lucky. My first real scare with my dad came in 1987, when he developed viral myocarditis (a viral infection of his heart). They told us he only had about a 10% of surviving and that he'd be a cardiac cripple.

    He showed them. He not only survived, he thrived. That didn't help me at the time, though. I was about to graduate from medical school, I knew everything under the sun for my boards, which meant I knew how to interpret the dismal news the cardiologists gave us: it was even worse than they were telling us.

    Since then, he had two surgeries to unclog his carotid arteries, his gall bladder removed, and a knee replacement. He did well. He even came through the God-awful knee surgery last August. It was the damn nursing home that finally got to him, I think, and the prospect of not being able to get around as well as he used to (combined with the fact he lost his driver's license a few years ago), but he made it to 87, which is a lot longer than I'd ever expected to have with him.

    I guess what I'm saying is that we never know how much time we're blessed with our folks, but a lot of times what looks scary and awful isn't nearly as bad as it seems, and it's just there to make us stop and take notice, so we'll really and truly appreciate the good times we have left.

    Sending hugs and good thoughts your way.

  20. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and words of encouragement.

    Sizzle: Thank you. It is scary. I appreciate the thoughts and good wishes.

    Carnealian: I am so sorry for what you had to go through. Thank you for that point of view, though. Dad is young and I do believe he has a lot of life yet to live.

    Marcia: Thank you. I needed to hear that. I appreciate all this support. It helps.

    Paisley: I am so sorry. I cannot imagine that. Maybe it goes without saying, but I hope your dad is able to have the surgery and that everything goes well and that you are somehow able to reconcile while there is still time.

    Shelby: It is amazing. I can't fathom being a heart surgeon and holding someone's heart and life in your hands.

    Jawana: Yes, I do. I've thought of you several times this weekend, knowing what you've gone thru. You're right, there is no reason to beat yourself up over the past. Just do the best we can today and from now on. Thanks.

    Charlotta: Thank you. And personally, I think that was all very well said. Sometimes I do want to talk about anything but that. Just any distraction for a little while.

    Melanie: Thanks, cheerleader. We need them.

    Lillith: Thank you. I know that all of that is true. Except maybe the salty discharge part :)

    You are right. I've been given these wake up calls and a chance to still do something about it. In that way, I'm very fortunate.

    Clare: Thank you. I think I can say this was the hardest post I've ever written. My thoughts are just everything, thus the title...

    And thanks for the award :)

    Gay: I've thought about you, too, during this, knowing you just lost your dad. I feel selfish saying I'm scared. Because really, I can't imagine what he has to be going thru right now. The waiting and the worrying. But like I said to someone earlier, I do believe Dad has a lot of life left to live.

    Thank you.

  21. My dad turned 60 last year...but to me, he's still a young man. I think he always will be. I hold him in nearly superhero regard...kinda invincible, I think. I don't want to think about the fact that he won't always be around...because he always has been. I totally take him for granted...I think it's something that we all do. I will pray that your dad will come through this with flying colors...and that you'll just get a little peace of mind. Try not to let the regrets get to ya...we all have them. You've been given an opportunity to change things...lucky you! :) My hubby's dad died of a massive heart attack when hubby was 26 years old...and he didn't have that.
    Thanks for the eye-opening post, friend (((hugs)))

  22. I'm sorry to hear this news about your dad. It is so true 98% sounds great until you are talking about someone you love. Chin up buttercup, it's the best thing you can do for your dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  23. What everyone else said.

    Also, at least you were at the hospital with your dad when all this went down and you'll be there when the surgery happens and you'll be there after.

    I am 2000+ miles away from my parents and was when my dad his bypass surgery (which he came out of with flying colors).

  24. I haven't been able to leave comments for a few days-- but I've been praying for your dad. Keep us updated on his surgery and status. I know you must be super scared- praying for you, too!

  25. 98% is something you can hold onto. I'm not belittling Bone's
    feelings at all. I do know how hard it is

    But when my father had a stroke I would have given anything in the
    world to be given even 10% odds

    Bone I'm not 100% certain but I do believe you will have many more
    years with both of your parents.

    You're not going to treasure them every day. They will drive you crazy
    one time or another. You're human.

    But I hope and pray that when their time on earth is up--in I hope
    the distant future you will be with them

    I hope this is just a "little lesson" for you.

    You know I never had the opportunity to say "last words" to either of
    my parents. But I'm comforted with the knowledge that though we might
    have fought, we might have had petty arguments, we knew how much we
    loved each other

    And this will sound strange but I envy you the opportunity to blog
    about your parents while they're still alive

    Because I see how much the empathy from other bloggers helps

    You write great parent stories--your dad waving on TV--your mom's love
    of the Bama's.
    Keep writing them Bone.

    Selfishly I love reading them. A bit
    unselfishly I think they help you

  26. thanks for sharing such an intimate moment. i heard somewhere that at times like these clichés are the only things that you seem to hear. and, it might be that through the test of time it was actually these phrases, which are now clichés, are the things that help.

    if you find something that eases this heartache i hope you share it someday.

    the only cliché that i can account for it's effectiveness is--time heals all wounds.

  27. Hey bro, we are praying for you. All of a sudden there has been so much tragedy in our lives. Seems all of our close friends have been hit with bad news lately. LB, The Playboy, Somz... like I said, if you need anything just let me know.

  28. That's hard stuff to deal with. I've been there. I've taken that trip back to when I was seven. I've thought back on missed opportunities and feeling neglectful. What matters is that you're there now, and will be when he's out of surgery, recovering, and returning to a normal life.

    My best to you and your family.

  29. I'm sure your dad will be fine. But that doesn't make the scariness go away.

    I've had the thought a lot lately at how human life is so fragile, and we take every day for granted. Maybe because I am watching my kids grow up. They're at the age when everything flies by.

    You are doing all that you can - just being there for your dad. He knows how much you love him, and the two of you are obviously close.

  30. Bone - keeping a good thought for your dad, it is truly amazing the open heart/bypass thing is so common place and has such good is hard to imagine and harder to be the one going through it. My brother in law had a quadruple (plus 1, what is that?)five years the energizer bunny he just keeps going...wishing that for your dad as well.

  31. There aren't really any words for you.
    Not if he's sick and dying or dead and gone.
    Only this.
    Don't regret any time you've had with your old man. Every moment, whether positive or not so much, all are good. All are time you had with the guy.

    Try this, though since I usually sound like I'm wandering in out of left field, and maybe you'll see what I mean.
    Sit quietly and try to imagine a cold, hard icy wind blowing in your face. Cold, hard rain dancing off your nose and cheeks, burning your ears till you hear the bell.
    Now, after you get a solid grip on this thought ( or, go outside if you're in the midwest ) consider whether anything you believe in.... anything different?
    Have any of your core values changed? Probably not.

    It sounds off beat, but this is the way I've tried to consider the situation. Don't let the "outside" change the "inside" so to speak.

    Stick your chin out and take it in the face.
    That's probably why you would have had any regrets, anyway.
    Your old man will become The Old Man, a person you really DID respect, only didn't know how to say before.

    Hey, cry if you have to!
    Only pussies don't cry.
    And remember this, a good laugh is equal to a good cry....

    Good Luck, Friend.

  32. I had no idea ... he was just in the tag office this week.

    I dont even know where to start...
    I know its hard, but you havee to be strong for your dad. I know sooo many people that have had bypass surgery and have lived a very long time....just stay positive...

    I know you remember when my granddaddy died... but he had had bypass surgery like 15 years before that!! You have always been there for me during hard times, and if you need somebody to talk to, cry to, scream to, just let me know!!

    Big hugs!!! Please keep me posted!

  33. I'm so sorry. :(
    I agree with Balou...
    Use this as your opportunity to spend more time and to cherish the small things. Make lots and lots of memories! You two have many years ahead of you.

    You don't have to be too strong. This is a scary thing. Your fear is understood and accepted.

    All of my love to your family.

  34. I went through this with my Dad. And he's still kicking.
    I'll keep y'all in my thoughts and prayers.

  35. 'Life is just a whisper'...rings so true, Bone. Good luck, my husband went through this a couple of years ago with his Dad and it was only an angioplasty. The experience can truly tire you physically and emotionally, so build your strength for yourself, your family and esp. your Dad in the following days. I wish you luck, prayers and lots of hugs. Take care, UL

  36. I am sorry to hear about your dad. I hope his surgery goes well. And, I hope you find the time to write him those lyrics. Its the small things in life that make the biggest difference in times like these. So, I say spend as much time as possible with your dad and make those amends. Who knows where that might lead the both of you. You and your family are on my mind and in my prayers. If you need to talk, it goes without saying, I am only an e-mail away.

  37. Thank you all for your concern, the comments, thoughts, and prayers. They are most appreciated and have been a source of encouragement for me.