Our family had a minor scare this weekend. My Dad was complaining of chest pains on Friday night, but said that it was just indigestion. He had a heart attack a few years back, so when my Mom & brother saw him again clenching his chest & swearing in Spanish, they drove him (against his will) to the local ER.
Papa stayed in the hospital Friday overnight (and boy was he pissed) for monitoring, but was released Saturday afternoon, after the tests showed no heart damage. His blood pressure was high, and this put Papa on a low cholesterol, low salt, & low fat diet.
Each time I visit my parents, my father seems to hug me a little tighter & holds me a little longer...I have to fight back the tears.
Sometimes I don't recognize today's Dad from my childhood Dad. The latter version was larger than life. He was a lion. He's Old School...a self-reliant, working class, emotion-is-a-sign-of-weakness macho man. He tried to retire a few years back, but almost went insane from "doing nothing". He now works at Wal-Mart part-time as a greeter/stocker/handy man and he loves it... I think when we do bury him, we'll have to pry the hammer & screwdriver from his hands.
The man that I took to dinner Sunday night is a gentle, mild man...His age is catching up to him, but he seems to be content...at peace with his world. This gives me comfort. Growing up, he always seemed to be so restless...and his anger was quick to ignite. He never hit me or my siblings (or Mama), but the threat of his fist or that look in his eyes was enough to make us shit our pants & snap us back in line.
I dreamt of his death Saturday night & woke up yelling "I'm not ready, I'm not ready"....I remember that dream clearly....and it's true...I'm not ready to say goodbye. I have too much more to learn from this man.
As I said goodbye Sunday night, he held my face & said: "Be careful out there...I love you". Fighting back the tears again, I returned the sentiment & then scolded him for over salting his eggs....I wanted to change the mood/subject quickly.
Happy Father's Day, to the only man that I've ever truly loved....and to all you Daddies out there!