Life can really slap you in the face sometimes. I got a gentle reminder that I am not in control on Monday. My brother called me at work; I knew something was wrong, since he had never called me at work before. “Don’t freak out,” he said, “but Dad had another heart attack. He is fine; they flew him to Mercy Hospital in [Oklahoma] City.”
Don’t freak out? Is it ever possible to not freak out when you are told not to freak out? Of course, the first thing I thought of is that I hope Mom doesn’t reach for a bottle. That just wouldn’t help anything, but knew that it was a strong possibility. Brent gave me all the information he had and told me that he would keep me posted. I was pretty much useless the rest of the day at work.
When I got home, I called Brent. Everything seemed to have gone smoothly. The heart attack started around 1:00 p.m. & by 3:45 p.m. they had finished putting in a stent at a hospital 60 miles away. My dad had wanted to play a joke on my mom at the hospital. He wanted the nurse to get him a toe tag and pull the sheet up over his head for her arrival. She would not have been amused, so I am thankful that the nurse refused. I do, however, find it funny myself.
I finally talked to him that evening. He sounded fine & had plenty of energy. What scares me is that it was a massive attack and his doctor said he was lucky to have gone to the hospital when he did; he might not have survived otherwise. I am not ready at all for something like that to happen. Not only can I not imagine losing one of my parents, but mine are both great friends and people I would want to know even if I wasn’t related to them. They are good people, wonderfully naïve about the indecencies in the world. Wholesome.
It has really made me think though. I guess this is a typical reaction — the assessment of the family bond and the closeness to those who just went through whatever ordeal. “Why?” has never been important to me. I really don’t care “why” events occur. My dad’s heart attack is no exception to that. It really doesn’t matter, what matters is “how do we keep it from happening again?” The doctor informed him, as doctors will do, that he needs to quit smoking. But in this case, he has a point… a strong one. The heart attack, in all of its ferocity, was brought on almost entirely because of smoking. Dad spends long hours working outside and is in excellent health in many respects. However, he does tend to cough a lot (more and more recently, I’ve noticed). I guess it is time to stop, if he can. And I hope sincerely that he can. He is too important to too many people.
Any blessings from this? Maybe. My brothers both have a tendancy to drop their kids off with my parents. I understand this. They have to make ends meet and you do what you can to struggle through with a young family. I get it. But Mom & Dad have both been pretty exhausted with it all lately. They’ve needed a break. Mom’s back needs some time & Dad just needs some time off for his mental health. Now, it seems they will get a little break. It is unfortunate that it had to happen in this way though.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Bradley is facing the end of his marriage. It has been coming for some time. When they first got married, Jess was great. I still think she is a good person and fun to be around. But she and Brad, who enjoyed a weirdly romantic & tumultuous relationship, have drifted apart rather calmly.
This would all be much ado about nothing if it wasn’t for the two kids. Brad & Jess have two boys, who are being used, as happens so often, to cause Brad more pain. He is repetedly denied seeing his boys by Jess, who has decided to move in with her mother, who is in the midst of mourning her husband, and who until very recently had nothing to do with the kids. Even now, her version of watching them is to take them to the neighbor’s house and have her watch them.
It angers me.
Bradley has a strong case for custody of those two boys, but I am afraid he will never try to make it, as he clings to hope that the marriage will survive. I just wish there was a better solution to the entire situation… that I would have confidence that I will know my nephews as they grow up. I am not so sure.
The boat has been rocked. We are in a cosmic reality show and all the viewers are waiting to see what we will do next. It is a great cliffhanger to the end of this season, but the choices we make in the near future could dictate entire decades of our lives.
Images: photo by Oliver Wilks; art by Brian Fuchs; Joan Arend Kickbush, Foxes (c.1969)
Featured Image Art: Jirayr Zorthian, Fox Skulk Den (1957)