Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fears in the night

Life is so tricky, isn't it? The way we experiences rises and falls in circumstance. Tonight, in part due to a bad dream I had earlier in the week, finds me revisiting the events of last November, and where I am emotionally at this moment because of them. 

The bad dream I had was directly related to my dad's heart condition and the fact that he is most decidedly not immortal. I have never thought seriously that any of us live forever, but there is a veil of immortality that surrounds our parents, so long as we do not have to see them in weakened condition. When my dad first went into the hospital it was all about being in survival mode. Matter of fact dealing with it. However, the Monday morning he had the heart cath procedure done to determine blockage in his heart and kidneys (he has both but not high enough to require immediate surgery) that veil fell completely off of my eyes and I was truly afraid. 

It has been around six or seven weeks since then, and most of the time I do not even think about dad's heart condition, beyond the immediate concerns of taking his medication and how he is feeling/doing whenever we call. This week has been different, thanks to that bad dream. It was a short one, but it was my mom calling to tell us that dad had passed in a heart attack. She sounded better than I knew she was doing, and said not to worry about dad being in pain because he was ready to go and went quickly. He had been standing one minute and simply fallen over, already in Heaven the next.

That was it. No long dream about what happens next, just that. It was enough though, and thoroughly rattled me. I got up and called my parents, feeling a little leftover terrified from the dream and needing reassurance, but also feeling guilty. I did not want to tell them why I was calling; I especially did not want to tell my dad why I was calling. It seemed an awkward thing to open with, you know? Both of them answered though, on speaker phone, as is their custom of late. I usually really enjoy that, b/c it is great to talk to both of them, but of course it startled me a little bit that morning. 

I tried to sound casual and asked how they were doing, but of course being raised to be completely honest with my parents and to this day still unable (or unwilling?) to keep any part of my life from them, I did end up mentioning the dream. 

That is what has me writing this blog tonight. I was able, like so many times in the past, to call on my mom and dad for a bad dream and get reassurance. That is what brought me back to the night before his heart procedure... a night when I was unable to sleep, and when I began to cry over the events of the weekend leading up to that night because all of the times in my life when I was deeply upset in the middle of the night - upset enough to need someone to speak to me and pray with me (other than Chris) - I have always, always called my dad. That night while he lay sleeping in the hospital, prepared for anything up to and including meeting his Maker, I was awake in my bed and could not call my daddy to pray with me.

Tonight I spoke with my mom. She mentioned that dad now has a crease in his ear. I did not know what that meant, so she explained that they had checked his ears at the hospital because a crease can be visible precursor to a heart attack or something like that. I looked it up online and learned that some recent study (after years of it being a thought but not fact) links the crease in the earlobe 'alarmingly' to sudden death of the patients, regardless of age, fatness, or even being skinny.
I know in my rational mind that this does not mean my dad will be dropping dead tonight or tomorrow. He may not go to Heaven for weeks, months or even more likely, years. This fact does not change the realization (all over again) that as normal as life gets, as hard as I try to erase a dream, my daddy is not immortal. I cannot reconcile that and I will spend every minute after posting this blog not thinking about it, but there it is. For this moment in this day, I am grieving just a little. There will come another night in the future when I will need my dad to calm my fears and he will not be there. 

Who in your life is immortal? Who do you take for granted every day? Do you sometimes leave "I love you" unsaid, or spoken as a hurried goodbye? The Bible says that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. So right now, right this minute or as soon after this as you are able, call that person. Call them or go to them and let them know what a valuable part of your life they are. 

If my hunch is correct, each of us will also be making that same call via prayer to our Heavenly Father. Because come the night when there is no one there to solace our hearts, He is the father who will always still be there. Fears in the night are real, whether you are a child or have the occasional one as an adult. The unchanging factor of comfort to calm those fears is Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father.