We just said a prayer through tears, hugged and said another “I love you.” as they wheeled him towards the operating room. Now, I’m in a cold hospital room, waiting. Waiting for my father, my only living parent, to have a procedure on his heart. This probably would have been scary no matter what, but now that my mother is gone it seems so much scarier.
I’m sitting here in tears, terrified. I probably wouldn’t tell you that if you walked in the room, but it’s the honest truth. I’m scared and I’m fearful.
There’s no one here to hold my hand and tell me it will be ok. There’s no one to shield me from the intimidating medical terms and the “what-if’s”. There’s no one here to listen to the doctor’s instructions and the ever-changing care plan, except me.
I’ve become the decision-maker and the caretaker. I’ve become the kind of adult that signs living wills and medical representative forms. The kind of adult that would do absolutely anything for my father but also the kind of adult that is terrified of outcomes that are out of our control.
That’s what it boils down to, the lack of control. I can’t wave a wand and make him healthy, just like I couldn’t do that for my mother. I can’t determine the outcome of the operating room or the strategic choices that will be made to keep him healthy. I have limited power.
I can pray and I can wait. I’ve been doing both since the minute he was wheeled away from me. I pray and I keep praying. Not just to God, but to my mother in heaven. At this point I think I’m praying to anyone who will listen.
My heart skips a beat with each door that opens and my lungs skip a breath with every beep that I hear over the intercom. If you looked into the room that I’m seated in, you’d see an adult, because that’s exactly what I am, a grown woman. But with my father somewhere under sedation in an operating room and my mother already in heaven, I’ve never felt more like a child in my entire life.
I feel helpless but not hopeless.
Things feel so different when only one parent remains. What scares me the most is that I don’t want to know how much different it feels when you no longer have either, when you’re down to none. That’s why I sit here nearly paralyzed by fear and anxiety and emotion.
So, for now, I wait and I pray. More than anything, I pray that the benefit of having a mother in heaven is that my father has the best and strongest and most healing guardian angel there is.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.