Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pater Familias

Today is my dad's 64th birthday, and it's more important to us than usual. In May, he was diagnosed with something called severe auto-immune aplastic anemia. It's a rare condition that essentially means the body's own immune system attacks your tissue and suppresses blood cell production. He's had eight months of transfusions and bone-marrow biopsies, along with the requisite poking and prodding. For a guy who's never been sick a day in his life, getting news like that at a routine checkup came as quite a shock. When a diagnosis like that comes down, you assume the worst- is this his last Christmas? Will he see another birthday? All the while, trying to stay as optimistic as possible.

My dad is one tough cat. Army vet, self-made man, engineer/science guy- one of the smartest people I've ever met in my life. And he's been married to my mom for 39 years, a feat that both of them chalk up to being inordinately well-matched, and I have no reason to doubt their word. As someone who lasted a tepid six years on the matrimony train, I see my parents' marriage as proof that anything's possible with the right person.

To look at him, you'd never know my dad was sick. He doesn't have a self-pitying bone in his body, and my mom keeps him in good shape, with all due credit to his doctors. As a naturopath for 30 years, she knows from whence she speaks when calling bullshit on the aforementioned medical professionals. My dad is holding steady and we hope that he will remain the bright spot in what looks to be an otherwise daunting year. When a guy as solid as he is falls ill, while karmic defectives like myself still roam affliction-free, it makes one wonder what, if any, master plan rules this existence of ours. I hope I still have the time to become even a fraction of the man my father is.

Happy Birthday, Pop. I love you.


Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that you're with the family, and that so far - everything is good with dad.

Always in my prayers...

Oh, and you're well on your way to becoming a great man just like pop. Keep your chin up :)

past said...

You as a person are starting to make a blueprint of your life's work. I have heard,read of things that you have done. WOW, I wish I could have done that. Keep your head up, so when that next part comes your way, you see it coming. Its not whether you are good, but if you can stand, be patient and be ready for what "GOD" has in his master plan. Pray and with some time it will be clear were you are to be and do.

Anonymous said...

You are lucky to have your parents, but they are lucky to have you too. You are smart and articulate in a way that too few people can appreciate. Best of luck to all your family. Let me know if you need some healthy B+ blood.

It's a lot more valuable than prayer to a pretend god.

Jen in Pgh.