On Thursday my dad called while we were at a home school field trip at the Christian Art Museum, to tell us while he was getting a brain MRI for weeks of weakness and falling following a fall a few weeks ago, he was told he had a brain bleed and should go directly to the ER. His doctor had called ahead and he was admitted immediately to the ICU. The whole family was there in a matter of minutes to hurry up and wait. All day, we were full of anxiety, fear, sadness, tearfulness, and turmoil awaiting the neurosurgeon to come, much I suspect like Jesus was, knowing during his last supper that his betrayal was near. Finally at 9:30 Thursday night the neurosurgeon came and explained to us that Dad had a subdural hematoma that was already of considerable size and that Dad would be undergoing surgery the next day for it. He showed us the MRI which revealed a large right sided bleed that had shifted the midline of his brain and compressed the 4th right (inside) ventricle in the middle of his brain. Perhaps the timing was similar? Jesus being in the Garden of Gethsemane pleading with His Father to let this cup pass, but not His will, but God the Father's will be done.
The next Morning, Good Friday, the whole family was bedside, waiting for them to take Dad back to surgery. We were undergoing our own sort of Passion, indeed feeling great suffering with the knowledge that this surgery could either be successful, or worse case scenario, result in a tragedy none of us would ever get over. I heard them announce over the loudspeaker that the Bishop of Fort Worth was in the chapel leading The Way of the Cross. I remember thinking to myself there is no need to go- despite the Bishop being there- we were united with Jesus' Passion more truely by dad's bedside. Mid morning through early afternoon we were in the waiting room, full of pain and anxiety. I imagined how Jesus felt carrying His Cross, the weight of the world pushing him down. Jesus' suffering wasn't over until 3 pm... thankfully ours was relieved earlier than that. The surgeon came out and said everything went just as planned and dad was waking up, complaining about the catheter they had inserted. We all cried in relief. It seemed he was going to be alright.
After cleared by the ICU staff, we were allowed, 2 at a time, to see him. He was still pretty out of it, head wrapped up with a drain coming out, drifting in and out of sleep. As the day went on, the pain increased, and my stoic dad, who asserts that all pain is in your head and should be dealt with as such, was asking for pain meds. "Hard" does not describe how it felt to see dad, who is the one who takes care of everything, in that condition. It was a day full of suffering for him, and us alike, mingled with a little bit if relief.
The day after was better, he was more alert, but just as Holy Saturday is an empty day, so was this. He was recovering, but we were still on edge that it may continue to bleed and a repeat surgery might be necessary. I never can explain the feeling of Holy Saturday... the Passion and crucifixion has past, but the joy of Easter is not yet come. The day is just there. Waiting. Perhaps when I get older and wiser, I will understand this day more deeply.
Easter was a better day. Filled with the joy every Christian feels after a long 40 days of Lent, uniting and pondering the suffering of Jesus, peppered with self-denial, the utter anguish of recalling and "re-living" in sorts the Passion and death of our Lord, Easter is a welcome feast. I came to visit dad, who was sitting up, talking, being reflective, and no doubt sharing in the joy of not only his renewal, but the victory of Christ over death.
He is home now, doing much better, with my mom lovingly at his side. They have ventured out, and in true dad fashion, won't listen to any of us kids that he is just doing too much. So dad, if you read this: SLOW DOWN! You have staples in your head. A few days ago you had BRAIN SURGERY! Hello! :)
In The Church, the Easter season is 50 days long. 50 days of celebration, of thanksgiving, of proclaiming the Risen Lord. For our family, this Easter season holds a special meaning. Along with Christians around the world who are celebrating the saving power of God, we are united in a special way to our joyful Lord, thanking him for saving our dear dad. This past Sunday, the feast of Divine Mercy (and the Beatification of our beloved Blessed John Paul II The Great!) I was filled with such overflowing joy. The mercy of our Lord is unfathomable. To think, of all the people in the world, he loves us so much that he answered our prayers. I am thankful for his unending mercy, and this joyful Easter season, I am thankful for my dad.
|After surgery. The drain is the tube coming out of the wrap. It was in for 3 days.|
|His incisions, with staples. Notice... ear bud... already back to working.|
|But Happy and Thankful. He says he has a modern hair cut now :)|