It’s been seven weeks since my brother and I took my Dad to the emergency room. Seven weeks since he said he woke up and couldn’t move his legs. Seven weeks since the doctor told us that he would be in hospital for awhile. Today I went to visit him in the ICU for the countless time. Every time I see him I ask how he’s feeling out of 10. Today he was a 6. Today was a ‘good’ day. I think the lowest he’s gotten is a 2.
Our life is very different now, the life for the Cowling family. Our time together is spent by the side of my father in the ICU, or at home discussing how Dad is going, organising who is going to see Dad, and when.
I always thought our family were quite strong. I had assumed that if and when anything like this had ever happened that we would be prepared. That we were brave and strong enough to deal with whatever God had in stall for us. There have been many battles that our family have had to fight through the years, sometimes together and sometimes individually. And this has, by far, been the most difficult.
It’s a strange thing when all of a sudden your father is no longer a part of your life the way he was. I can’t call him and talk to him on the phone like I used to. I can’t ask him if he will help us move house, or mow our lawns for us, or have a look at a problem I have with my car. When I go to family dinner I don’t see Dad there, and even though I keep thinking I see him driving in his van, he isn’t, he can’t. It’s almost as if he has died and I’m mourning his absence from my life. And yet he hasn’t died, he is very much alive, laying in a hospital bed day after day.
I have always known that my Mum and Dad have had a very special relationship. When I see my Mum, for the hundredth time, pack up her things in the morning to spend the day in the hospital I am reminded of that. I am reminded of how blessed we are to have them as parents. How blessed us children are that they can mirror to us what real love looks like.
I have hope that even though the progress of Dad’s recovery is painfully slow, and exhausting for all of us, that this will continue to bring our family closer together, and that after this is all over and my Dad walks out of that hospital, that we will rejoice and thank our incredible God for our very special family that is stronger than we had ever expected.