Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Temporary, not permanent.



There's this thing about caller ID that's terrifying: recognition. It's terrifying when it recognizes the names you don't want to call you -police departments, hospitals, Popsicle's care facility. Lately, there's more of those ID-ed calls. Nothing emergent, but still scary in those moments of unknown between the first lyric of Girl on Fire and the news -whatever it is. Scary in a way that acknowledges: this isn't forever. Temporary, not permanent. 

In the midst of those calls, his waning presence and thinning physique, I realize this isn't forever despite what it feels like some days, despite what some people say, despite our weary souls. There's this thing about feelings: they're tricky. Sad, angry, hopeless, scared: so many emotions. Sometimes in solidarity, other times in contrast -we're balancing, trying to be me while belonging to us. The only continuity in it all: we all feel. But like feelings, this isn't forever. Temporary, not permanent. 

There's a thing about arriving that's nerve-racking: surprise. Not in the Happy Birthday, here's a party for you way. Arriving is always a rush of adrenaline and a pattering heart. Will he be walking like normal? Will he be sleeping so soundly he resembles death? Will he look scared or happy or confused or indifferent? Will I burst into tears -crying ugly and silent while he walks hand in hand with Jason? A rush that reminds me, this isn't forever -this loss, this fear, this missing-ness. Temporary, not permanent. 

Visits are full of stories, updates, questions despite his inability to comprehend. Dad, we bought a house and we know you'd like the mature trees in the backyard. Dad, work is so busy, you wouldn't believe how well the company is doing. Dad, we're going to be traveling a lot soon, you promise not to make any trouble while we're gone? Dad, are you listening? Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we don't. Always the conversations are a reminder we won't have to fill him in forever. Temporary, not permanent. 

Leaving him is hard because it's a sad goodbye every time. It's holding his hand and wondering when it felt so small in yours. It's taking in those moments, trying to make them heavy and weighty so not to be blown away in the winds of a busy life. It's looking him in the eyes that no longer focus and saying, "Dad, I love you. I will miss you. But I will remain, live well, love God, do life proud." It's reminding him without his prompting, asking, wondering. It's a solemn walk to the car as we reflect on what was gone this time, as we replay all the words we said, as we remember this isn't forever. Temporary, not permanent. 

The drive home is a Morse code of intense conversation, interspersed with quiet. The little current, the silent message flowing through it all: while we're living, he's dying. Dying, a transition that is temporary, not permanent. 

19 comments:

  1. Amber I can relate to this in so many ways. A couple of years ago, my grandfather basically lived in the hospital. Since day one, I have considered him more of my dad than my grandpa and leaving him everyday just broke my heart into pieces. I understand how it feels. You just want to sit and listen to his stories for hours upon hours and cherish every single moment. Praying for you sweet girl!

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  2. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvJuly 9, 2014 at 6:14 AM

    Oh girl, how my heart aches for you. You are so strong and so beautiful and your words are like a cure. Thinking of you!

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  3. Lots and lots of prayers for you guys, sweet friend! I am so so sorry for the pain you are facing but you are handling it so elegantly and beautifully.

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  4. Amber I am so sorry that you and your family are having to go through this - it's definitely not easy. Please know that you're being thought of often and prayed for.

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  5. You have such a gorgeous way with words, friend. I can't imagine how hard this is on you and your family. I've never been in that position, but as a nurse, I've seen it from the other side. It's so tough watching a family go through that. I'm so proud of your strength. Enjoy the time you have with him, for it is precious!

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  6. Amber --you've done it again. Somehow, in the midst of a situation that would bring most of us to our knees, you stand and you write with some much power and conviction and love that I am left astounded by the wisdom in your years. I really do love you friend and today, above all others, I wish I could give you a hug and then soak up sunshine while we down cold drinks and talk about life. Talking about life with you is the most refreshing thing in the world. You are full of it!

    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  7. I just want to say that Kate really summed up my feelings. You are so strong and I love the courage you have to share this with the world- I hate seeing anyone go through this, especially with a parent; it is not an easy road but you definitely bring some hope to those that have gone through it or are going through it

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  9. Much love to you allx

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  10. Your words are beautiful. They always pull on my heartstrings. Your strength and courage inspiring. I too, know what it is like to live in the in between time. You are right, it is so temporary now matter how unending it feels. As hard as it can be it is so important to live, love and cherish as you are so clearly doing.

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  11. Its sad when you get calls like that and girl I pray and hope you can get thru the next couple of months and so. I totally understand how you feel and have been on the scene of it all right after the call and it's bad girl. I dont wish it on anyone.

    http://nightowlventing02.blogspot.com/2014/07/hump-day-confessions_9.html

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  12. I am a new reader to your blog and this post quickly brought tears to my eyes because I know that someday soon I will be experiencing these same things. Thank you for sharing these private thoughts about something so personal.

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  13. Beautifully written + my heart aches for you + your family. Saying so many prayers for strength as you all travel through this.

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  14. You have a beautiful way with words even when you're going through such hard times. I wish you only the best and I hope things get better for you soon!

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  15. I'm so sorry that you're going through this right now, Amber. I've lost a lot of loved ones in the last couple of years and it's not something that I wish on anyone. Thank you for sharing your heart with us and for reminding us that death does not and will not have the final say. May God's grace and peace be with you.

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  16. Oh gosh, this hits so close to home as there's been health scares in my family that have me scrambling for an unexpected trip home in the fall. (Context: my family's in Hong Kong, I'm in DC. People don't usually "do" impromptu trips across the world.) I've got your family in my thoughts <3

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  17. Your words are always so powerful and moving. Making sure I hug my daddy a little tighter today & reminding him how thankful I am for this life he has provided for me. Praying for your heart, praying for a peace that surpasses all understanding.

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