Caring for My Dad Triggers My Grief, But Reminds Me That I’m Not Alone

Last week, my dad had a heart procedure done at the hospital.

I anxiously waited for hours in the waiting room, the way you do when your only surviving parent is having a heart procedure done.

Finally, my dad’s doctor came into the waiting room to tell me that everything went smoothly and my dad was doing really well. As soon as he woke up, I was called back to the recovery room to see him.

Something about seeing my dad, my only surviving parent, lying in a hospital bed, in a hospital gown, with wires connected to various things, made me really sad.

The nurse asked me to help feed my dad, as he was not allowed to move or sit up for a few hours. She explained how to bring the food and drink to him without allowing him to sit up at all and I confidently thought, “Well, I have some experience with this.”

I picked up the drink and brought it toward his mouth, bending the straw and pressing it to his lips, and I was suddenly overcome with emotion.

My dad looked up at me, his eyes flooding with tears, and said, “Reminds me of taking care of Mom.”

I said, “I know, Dad. I thought the same exact thing.”

And we both just sat there for a few minutes, holding back our tears while also acknowledging the reason for them.

Grief never ceases to amaze me.

It comes.

It goes.

It hovers.

It follows.

But it also brings us together in seemingly insignificant moments like when a daughter is helping her dad to drink and they catch each other’s gaze, tears filling their eyes, and pause for just a moment as if to say, “Me, too.”

And for those moments, I am grateful, for they remind me that I am not alone.

Caring for my dad triggers my grief, but reminds me that I’m not alone.

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