My father is almost 74 years old, and has had to balance his medication between treating his Parkinson’s Disease and helping his lungs cope with decreased efficiency through the years. What helps with one doesn’t necessarily help with the other. He had gone to visit an ailing sibling a few days before, and the theory is that his immune system was already weak, and had been hit by an infection his body couldn’t fight. They have been administering antibiotics to help his body fight his pneumonia, and my siblings tell me the prognosis is optimistic, but he isn’t out of the woods yet.
My first impulse is to want to be by his side, but 10,000 miles, a job, and a family I take care of 24/7 give me pause to think about the wisdom of hopping on a plane to give vent to a daddy’s girl’s desire. His hospitalization is already costing us a lot, and my siblings and I are all doing our part to defray the costs of Dad’s treatment which isn’t anywhere near ended yet.
There is a part of me that so badly wants to be able to see him and hold him before he breathes his last. While I know I will be making that trip home if he finally succumbs to what ails him, I somehow feel like the money and more importantly the effort to make the trip is better spent and expended for when he is able to appreciate that I was there by his side. The thought is tearing at my heart, but it isn’t as simple as wanting to be there with him.
If I do go, how long should I stay? Will my boys be able to cope if I was away for an extended period of time. In any case, I can’t be away too long because I have work to go back to.
This morning, I felt the tears fall down my face as I prayed and I asked God that if my father is meant to leave us now, that he take him so he doesn’t suffer anymore. But if he is meant to survive this challenge, that He help him cope with his suffering and bring him on the road to recovery. Even now as I write this, I feel a knot forming in my chest, as I say and I surrender Dad to His will.
I had the chance to take care of him during a previous illness many years ago — staying by his side, helping him through his pain. One regret I have is that the distance between us precludes me from doing just that this time around.
Every time I leave Manila, he tells me he will wait for my return. I tell him in jest he should try not to get sick until I get the chance to go back. I know that in his struggle, he is trying to keep that promise, and I wish I could tell him it’s okay to go if he has to go. But of course if I could have my way, I would prefer he stay around just a little bit longer.