Sometimes, Death Is Not the Ultimate Sacrifice.

Eighteen hours after surgery and six hours of begging the Shock Trauma ICU  Doctors, they finally allowed my Mom and me too visit Dad in his ICU bed.  With hesitation, they said repeatedly, this is not the man you remember.  He looks very very different.  We braced ourselves and entered the open room full of beds, very very sick people, wires, constant beeps and the overwhelming smell of sterile plastics.

They were right, nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.  My Dad looked like a science experiment.  He was black and blue all over.  His head was swollen, his eyes were closed but huge.  The staples on his head was reminisce of the Frankenstein’s pieced together monster.  Cords invading his body everywhere, from the top of his head to his ankles.

That will forever be imprinted in my brain and on my heart.  To this day the smell of that sterile plastic or the sound a life flight helicopter paralyzes me and makes me want to vomit. 

How easy it would have been for him to just let go and move on.  But, he did not.  Fast forward 1, 2, 3, 4, …. to 15 years later.  My Hero, my Dad, is alive but needs 24/7 care.   My Dad (and Mom) do not have an easy life.  But my Dad sacrificed his quality of life for my Brother, My Mother and for Me?

How can that be?  How can such a tragedy been felt as a sacrifice?

Well, I just figured that out this year.  This discovery has helped begin the healing I’ve needed for 15 years.

I believe my Dad chose to be brought back to life that day and not move on to the next journey for a reason. I believe that he and God conspired and they made the right decision. That reason he stayed is that  he can continue to teach us much more through his life than he could have through his death.  I can imagine the struggles we have all endured are very different than we would have had if he had died.

Throughout life and as we all continue to recover through this trauma he’s taught us…

  • love has no conditions
  • love transcends even life itself.
  • patience
  • humility (y’all, I mean I have truly learned how to not give a crap about what others think, it’s quite a cool skill….. Thank you Dad! )
  • What to need of a  wonderful life partner and Father of my children.   (Kyle, this is YOU, Babe.)
  • Family
  • Forgiveness
  • Sometimes the biggest sacrifice a person can make is not death.
  • The term ‘it is what it is‘ is true but doesn’t help us heal.
  • and the list goes on.

I’ve learned we can’t force things to happen and when we do THAT’S when we struggle.  We need to listen, step back then make decisions that put us at peace.

So, why on Earth am I sending this email out during the time we celebrate our Father’s?  Because this is how I celebrate my Father.  His legacy lives with me and will continue to live on once I am gone.  I tell you this story in hopes it helps comfort you through any times of trauma, shock or dismay.

There is a lesson in every relationship, every conversation, every crappy moment and every joyous moment.

It’s right there waiting for you if you will step back and listen.

I wish you all a beautiful weekend and a Happy Father’s Day.

Erika

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