Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Living Thanks

When I wrote the post “It Was a Long Weekend in Chicago” I was certain that the conversation I had with my dad in Effingham, Illinois, last August was the last sane conversation that I would ever have with my father. He was happy and conversational and funny. He spent most of his time in his wheel chair, and he struggled to stand up and maneuver his walker to do simple things. We handled his infirmities with a lot of humor. Then came that visit to his hospital room a scant three weeks later.

It was heartbreaking.

Thursday night the phone rang while I was about to serve dessert to our Thanksgiving guests. On the other end of the phone was my father. He was chipper, thoughtful, and completely lucid. His voice carried with it a genuine gratitude at being able to speak with me that is beyond my ability to describe. He sounded like a man who thought his son was long dead and suddenly discovered that he was alive and able to speak. His voice positively danced. We spoke for 30 minutes about a great many things, but mostly of our pleasure at being able to talk again. I had thought my father was gone.

I got him back.

Dad has been on a diet and vitamin regimen since September that brought his body chemistry back into balance and cleared the dementia that trapped him inside of his own mind. He has daily physical therapy and is slowly regaining mobility. His doctors believe that they can operate on his spinal column and halt the deterioration that threatens to paralyze him. This entire experience awakened him to the need to try the surgery or risk being trapped, bedridden, for the rest of his life. He’s ready. So are we.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday where we express our appreciation for all the blessings that we received in life. For my entire life, Thanksgiving has simply been a feast. It was a holiday of cooking and visiting with family and eating until we could eat no more with a brief nod to the historical significance of people who struggled to survive a few centuries ago. And football. There’s always football. When I was ten, Thanksgiving was the night that I told my mom and dad about the man who had molested me. There wasn’t much Thanksgiving going on that year. This year, Thanksgiving was a night where giving thanks wasn’t a comment shared around a table but an experience felt to very depths of my soul. I got my dad back.

Thanks be to God!

10 comments:

Teacher Mommy said...

Oh Arby, I am so incredibly happy for you and for him! Thanks be indeed!

The_Kid said...

I'm glad you got your dad back.

PS - Every town in California should be named EFFINGham

Kathleen said...

So very glad to hear the good news, Arby!

Oklahoma Granny said...

There simply aren't enough words for me to tell you how happy I am for you and your dad. What a tremendous blessing you've received!

CrossView said...

Now that was a real thanks giving! I hope all continues to go well with him medically. But even if it doesn't, I'm so glad you have some great memories to hold on to!

Kellie said...

Truly thankful news indeed!

(And on a separate note, they just posted the HSBA winners...finally...and I WON! Thanks again for "promoting me" here on your blog. I'm sure it made a difference!)

TobyBo said...

I am SO happy for you!

GingerB said...

How wonderful for you and your family! I am seeing my parents both going downhill a lot lately and it is terrible. I'm glad your father is going the other way.

Linda said...

Arby, I can't find the words. But I have tears. Tears of joy and thanksgiving for you.

Brownie said...

Oh it gave me tears, happy tears for you... and some sad ones for me remembering my dad.