The night B and I got engaged was the first night that my dad ended up in the emergency room. He hadn’t been feeling well for a long time, and I don’t even remember what particular symptom landed him in the ER that night, only that he was there and that was where I showed him my ring. It was not long after that he received a diagnosis of liver failure. He was given five years to live, though they didn’t tell us that then so as to spare us which ended up being just as stupid as it sounds.
It has been almost nine years since that day. There have been some ugly times since then. I remember when it got to the year point where we weren’t conceiving when I started to worry he wouldn’t make it to see my baby. The center of our family, the foundation of our lives, the decision maker, the sometimes tyrant – it seemed impossible that he wouldn’t be there.
He started drinking after twenty-five years of sobriety. It was uglier than anyone could imagine. I stood in the ER with him again when a doctor said he would live no longer than three months. I sat next to him while he filled out his Hospice papers.
That was over a year ago. He is off Hospice care now. He is sober. He is excited about my baby. But he is still sick. All last week he had a bad cold, and my mom pushed him to go to the doctor. Finally, Thursday night, he pretty much just stopped being able to breathe, and my mom had to call 911. They took him to the hospital and he is still there today, while they try to strengthen his lungs with steroids and get him well enough to come home.
Thursday was also the day of our first ultrasound. Proof of life. A little tiny bean, sucking its thumb, still as can be save for the flicker of its beating heart. Then, it waved at us. B and I gripped sweaty hands and stared up at the television screen and watched it come to life.
Later, in the same hospital, I took the picture to my dad. The same hospital I had shown him my ring in. I felt both blessed that he is here and sad that he was there. I just want him home, sending me funny emails about whatever fruit Baby Center says my baby is this week.
The next day B’s truck blew up. Now I have a terrible cold. I was about to bemoan the Universe, but how can I? I’ve got proof of life.