“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Satchel Paige
It’s my birthday week, yay. We all have them if we are lucky enough.
Mine took a twist and turned into an unexpected trauma.
I enjoy spending time with my parents at their small but humble townhome in Laguna Niguel, California. It was time for my hubby and I to cook them beautiful meals, play bridge, and watch old movies; that is what I call mom and dad time. My dad is chatty and entirely cognitive at age 98, next month, 99. Most would say I am lucky; some would say my parents are lucky; they have one another. They have been married 75 years, nearing 76.
I am in my 3rd marriage, but that is a different story.
My dad was sharing with my husband about World War 2 when he was a mere 17 years old. His details within the story drew us into that time in his life; it seemed like he was there. I cleared the dishes and started the dishwasher as my husband asked my dad pertinent questions about that time.
In a split second, my dad went grayish-white and stopped breathing. It was a moment that will forever be frozen in my mind’s eye. My husband quickly supported him in his chair to prevent him from collapsing to the floor. He tilted him over so he would not choke on the water coming from his mouth, then patted his back with a knowing firmness and said, “Come on, BREATH!” with commanding authority. My mom called him back by saying, “No!”. Seconds later (what felt like years), my dad gasped for breath but held his weight on my husband in a weakened state. Paramedics showed up promptly as my mom was stoic; clearly, her “No” to my dad, commanding him to stay with us longer, was understood. My dad, a former Navy man, knows how to follow orders.
We went to emergency, and dear old dad spent the night there. He did not have a stroke, nor did he have a heart attack; he had AFIB. My husband and I spent ten hours the next day in the hospital, and all Dad wanted to do was go home and get in his bed. Who can blame him?
At his age, he has had and still has a good, long, purposeful life.
As it is my birthday, I can only think about him and my mom. He stole the show; my birthday was upstaged by my dad’s terrifying incident. I suppose we were meant to be there at that critical juncture for my folks. I am beyond grateful for my husband, who knows what to do in a severe situation and knows CPR as well!
My husband turned out to be my greatest gift this birthday. Is husband number 3 my luck???
If, perhaps, maybe, hopefully, I may get a fraction of the sweet taste of what my parents have understood for over seven decades: partnership, friendship, companionship, and love. I will never know the long game of love as had my folks, but the most essential aspect of love is now.
Days, weeks, and years offer us all sorts of news wonderful and sorrowful events. We all have to face tough, unpleasant things; that is how it is. I wish all November babies a happy birthday.
My Mantra: “Life is a balance, struggles become lessons, and our journey is sound.