When I was a kid, it was easy to see my dad as superhuman. Nothing scares him…nothing can hurt him. He is indestructible, he always has the right answers, and if he says something it is automatically true.
Eventually I realized that he isn’t the smartest or the strongest man in the world, but he is the most important in my world. He didn’t have the answer to everything, and that was ok. Sometimes, he got hurt or sick, and that was ok, too.
The most comforting arms to be in were his and his alone. It felt like he could protect me from everything. And then a day came when I became his protector. Few, or I hope few rather than many, have to experience what I did. Suddenly, I was spinning plates…Caretaker. Housekeeper. High school student…but really only wanting to be with him. I remember so vividly, holding his hand, so little life contained in his body, tracing the veins…the wrinkles…Thinking back to how many times in my life those hands held mine and led me where I needed to go. When they wiped my tears and took away my pain. How I wished I could take away his.
Although that was not the end, it changed everything. At every sign of abnormality, I drop to my knees, hot tears streaming down my face, and plead to God. Please, don’t take him yet…Give me more time. I know your will is best, God, but please… I still need him. But truth is, I will always need him. I will need him every day I walk this earth. And for the past three years I have feared the day that would mark the beginning of my life without him. This fear has weighed heavy on my decisions. I almost stayed home rather than going to Florida, just because of it. And even now, even though I love my time at school, I question if I made the right choice…How can I beg for more time, when I don’t take advantage of the time with him I have been given?
Every day I see him get a bit worse. I worry and I consider calling his doctor, because I am not ready to say good bye to my superhero. I know the day will come when our original role will swap and I will be his lifeline. Yet, even then I will need him more than he needs me.
My father has been my very best friend my entire life. He will never be in the health or the shape he was in. It kills me to see him weak when I still think of him as so strong.