Today, Dad was much weaker. I thought at first that the hospital had given him something to relax him, but Kim said that wasn't the case; Dad's body is slowing down as it continues to fail him, and as a result he is much quieter and sleeps most of the time, occasionally mumbling a sound or two or humming a few notes of a wonderful song that only he can hear.
I am still tormented by the knowledge of what is happening to Dad; my most basic urge is to protect him, to comfort him, to end his suffering... and I can't. When I look at his drawn, weary face, I still see the sanguine, happy, confident, compassionate man who guided me through my childhood and adult years, and I so miss him.
Something happened today--I don't even recall what, because it was so trivial--but without thinking, I reached for my phone to press autodial-2 to call Dad and tell him about it. For more than four and a half years now, I have talked to Dad at least once every day, and it still feels natural to do so. Alas, I can only talk to him... I can no longer hear his replies, share his days, or plan for the future with him.
I spoke with Aunt Jean, Uncle Red, and my cousin Frank today; I have written about Frank previously, and will always treasure the childhood we spent together. Frank's concern was so strong and his love for Dad and for me was evident in his words.
If there is any good that has come from this horrible event, it is the awareness of how many people there are out there who love and care for Dad and for us. I have taken strength from the supportive words from Dad's sisters Barbara, Martha, and Donna, and from his brother Paul and his wife (also named Donna). I have heard from Dad's friends, from neighbors, from former co-workers, and I have heard from my own friends, who have done everything they can to offer support and solace. Jean, Brett, Lanny, Charles, Chris, Sven, Doug, Kelly, Jared, Whitney... all of them have shared my pain in an effort to ease my burden. And friends from the store, like Dr. Mike and Lee and Andy and Brian, have also expressed heartfelt sympathy that helps.
We don't always remember how many people there are who care...