I put my hand on his bed rail. He already held my mother’s hand.
I was reminded, strikingly, of the last time I looked at someone over a bed rail, and I didn’t like the memory. I wanted to bravely hold his hand so he could feel my touch. But I didn’t. And as I stood there wondering why, he took my hand instead, and managed a little grin in my direction. I will always be grateful for him unknowingly gifting me a little piece of brave.
He slowly climbed his way through the fog of anesthesia. And color touched his lips as he groggily opened his eyes unevenly, shut them again, took a deep breath, and opened them once more.
My mother, mommy, blinked rapidly, the little color left in her face draining too rapidly even as it bloomed on the face of her husband. The relief of his eyes, his breath, his voice, his soft hands, drained her of the little adrenaline left in her exhausted soul.
My heart choked in my throat; I suddenly understood the depth that love can take. Again.
I expect I will understand this many more times in my life. And each time it will surprise me and strike me as amazing. And each time, I will thank the universe for helping me comprehend so that I can remember to reach out to the people around me to fortify this love.
In the end, my life is not about my inability to pay the bills in full, or the mess that is my kitchen, or the lawn sprouting three feet high, or the career that intermittently stalls, it is the people who I love and whose love I cultivate that matter most.
I love you, Daddy, I’m so glad you’re okay.