Just Shelley


I had a call from my brother Thursday morning that my Dad’s breathing was labored and he wasn’t doing so good. No, not so good. His wife said so, the nurse, all agree – he’s not doing so good. My brother was going to call me last night after seeing Dad and tell me how he’s doing, but forgot. In the meantime I planned another trip over again today, but the weather promised rain and wind, and my little bubble on wheels does not do well on an Interstate in wind and rain; among the truckers who blow past you without any regard to the effect they have on a small car, or the rain they throw into your face. When Mike didn’t call last night, I called and left a message that I’ll come on Saturday, instead.

My brother called this morning and said, no, Dad was on his feet, eating in the dining room though his breathing was extremely labored, but he didn’t look bad. Seeing Dad on Saturday should be good enough. So I’ll go see Dad tomorrow, though these trips are beginning to take their toll. Too many times lately of having to go see Dad because this might be the last chance to see him alive, each time a four hour drive there and back. Each time bringing a plethora of emotions, most not particularly noble.

I have to now start making decisions about when I will and will not respond to an ‘event’. And this is probably the most difficult decision a family member has to make because any of these little crises could be the last chance to see him alive. However, if I continue heading over each time, I am going to continue getting more exhausted until eventually I’m going to get into a wreck and possibly kill someone. And I can kiss the work I have good-bye if I have to keep changing schedules because ‘my father is ill’. I need this work, and the people who have hired me, need me to be committed to the tasks.

After tomorrow, I am going to see my Dad once every seven to ten days (depending on work schedule) and enjoy his company, as is; no longer view each trip as potentially ‘the last’; no more rushing over in the middle of the week whenever something happens.

A year ago I could have joked with my Dad that he needs to make sure to kick the bucket right after I visit, so I wouldn’t feel guilty. A year ago, he would have laughed, and his eyes would have twinkled, as he promised solemnly he would do so. But that was a year ago, this is now.

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