Tanks and Doorways

Again – Chapter 21 – JohnA Passaro


Sometimes
It takes a good fall
To really know where you stand.

Hayley Williams


December 20th, 2013

In order to be able to have her second brain surgery, the more important one, Jess has to be infection free for a week.

And today is exactly one week.

She is scheduled for surgery at 6:00 tomorrow morning.

It is now midnight.

I am sitting in a hospital room, day 28 since this latest episode began, waiting for my daughter to have her second brain surgery in less than a month, her sixth in the last four years.

There have been a few times in my life when I knew, as I walked out of the hospital room I was currently in, that I might never see the person I was visiting, not ever again.

I use the term ‘visiting’ as if I were actually just visiting.

It was more like “living with”, instead of visiting.

The last time this realization occurred was with my father, in 2009.

My dad had been hospitalized at the same time as Jessica was with her initial seizure, which put her into a medically induced coma.

Conveniently, Jess and my dad were in the same hospital, and only a few rooms apart.

I would visit with one and then the other, throughout the night, never sleeping.

That went on for six weeks.

One night, while I was visiting with my father late at night, I just knew the second I dropped my father’s hand out of my hand and walked out of his hospital room, that it would be the last time I would ever see him, alive, again.

I stayed with my dad all through that night.

Even the pull of my daughter being by herself and needing me, was not enough to draw me away from him.

Then, deep into the night, at around dawn, I just knew, that I had to go.

I kissed my dad on his sweaty forehead, for what would be my last time.

I remember my lips not wanting to ever leave the feel of his skin, knowing that as soon as they parted and pulled away, it would be nature’s queue to proceed.

I thought about protesting like that man did in Tiananmen Square, where he stood in front of that oncoming tank, but I knew if I did, I would just be run over.

So I decided to move out of the way and let nature advance.

I knew this was a process I could no longer stop.

With no audible sound from my lips, I said, “I love you, dad”, and I slowly walked out his hospital room, fully aware that I would never see him alive again.

There is something that focuses you when finality is staring at you across the doorway.

I walked through the door and went to my daughter’s room.

My father died that morning.

That day, what was most important in life came into focus for me.

That day was the start of my knowing what I truly value in life.

I knew what I did right with my father, and I knew what I wish I had done more of with him.

It is at these times, when the wounds are fresh, that you “Get it”.

“Getting it” is the reward you receive for enduring pain.

If you allow yourself to.

Well, in a few hours I will be facing that same doorway, as my daughter Jessica is scheduled for brain surgery in the morning.

It is 2:00 a.m. and I lie awake, looking at her from across the room.

I look past her and I see a doorway.

I wonder whether or not this will be the last few hours that I will see my daughter… ever again.

I doubt that I will ever again be more focused on what is truly important in my life.

So much comes to my mind.

So much that I need to do.

So much that I need to share.

Tomorrow, life will reveal if that doorway is more than just an exit.

This time, I’m going to stand in front of that oncoming tank… even if it runs me over.


Read the next chapter – I’ll Take an Order of Happiness To Go


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