Some moments can define or reshape a person.
. . .
There are few moments I will never forget. I remember events and moments in time in spurts. Usually, my memories are sparked by feelings or a picture. Those few moments that powerfully lodged in my memory are associated with intense emotion.
. . . The Memory . . .
I have an image I cannot erase. It's so powerfully painful, I'd give most anything to forget.
In haste, I rushed into the emergency room. I wasn't functioning well enough to register much. I cannot remember now how I got where I needed to be. The people, the hospital equipment, the noises- it was all a blur of sounds and sights.
I managed to find my mom. We embraced. We talked about the events. I know we did. I just don't remember the conversation.
I remember the stillness.
My dad was laying on a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and monitoring devices, unresponsive and very still.
I felt lost.
I wasn't without hope. I was scared. But, more than anything, I felt lost. I was without my anchor. The man that meant strength to me lay motionless.
I wanted to look into his eyes. I wanted him to hear me say that I loved him. I wanted to tell him that he gave me wings to fly.
I cannot forget that pained feeling of despair. I cannot forget the fear I had of the future- the fear of the "what if".
I have a snapshot in my brain. A picture never captured by film or in pixels. It cannot be erased. The stillness. The despair. The fear of loss.
I remember how time seemed frozen as I looked into his emergency hospital room. I remember my heart melting.
. . . Strength. . .
My dad had a severe stroke. His stroke changed him. Sometimes he wonders who he is and why he is still around. I am grateful that he lived. I am grateful that he lives now. This 7 plus years after his stroke have been a mix of struggle and triumph. He has done amazing things. My relationship with my dad has grown, deepened, and strengthened in ways I could not foresee.
My dad's stroke changed me. I recognize the frailty of life. I notice the beauty of a smile. I respect those that are disabled. I realize that strength is not physical. Strength comes from within.
My dad is a pillar of strength.