My Dad had a stroke. Full stop.
As I thought about writing this post, as I thought about how much I needed to write this post, that start wasn’t the start. That sentence would eventually appear, half way down a well crafted post which would have started with a seemingly unrelated story, possibly about my childhood, like they do in movies. Yet, as I open the editor and started typing, that’s what came out. I guess it’s no surprise one of my favourite books is Chronicles of a Death Foretold – it starts at the end and then takes you on a beautifully written journey of how everyone got there. This being one of my favourite books also explains how I do not cope well with waiting, letting time work its slow magic whilst nothing looks different. But everything is different.
My Dad had a stroke two weeks ago. Yesterday and a lifetime ago, all at once. I haven’t been home yet and it’s eating me alive, but I’m told to go later, when he moves to a rehabilitation centre. Or Christmas. Perhaps you can come just at Christmas. To spare me the shock. To spare him the emotion. Except that I don’t want to be spared the shock. I want to be there. And I can’t be there. I can go there, stay there a while, but I can’t be there. And that’s another thing that is eating me alive. Because even when you know time is finite you trick yourself into thinking you have all the time in the world. And you don’t. We don’t.
I make sense of the world and life and my emotions by writing them, a luxury I don’t seem to have these days. The luxury of writing and therefore making sense of things, seems to be reserved to a former me and a panic me, when something’s gotta give and I choose my sanity over the rest. Somehow I find the time then. The time to start writing and put down the one sentence I thought I wouldn’t be able to commit to the text. The one sentence that I know to be the fact, the one that marks a before and after.
I remember reading about a before and after in life. It was about a love story and how some people leave such a print that your life is then defined by this pre and post them. I can’t remember the exact piece of writing because I was then in love and my heart was broken in this before and after and of course that’s all it meant to me then. Since then, I’ve had many befores and afters, motherhood being my most dear example. As I look this uninvited before and after straight in the eye, the one that changed my Dad in ways I do not yet know, I just want to kick it in the balls and scream in rage. It’s hard to kick a concept, let alone kick it in its conceptual balls. It’s much easier to scream in rage, but somehow I cannot do that either. Instead, I come here and I type away as I gather my thoughts. Empty thoughts filled with the time we need to let pass because these things take time.
My Dad had a stroke. Semicolon. Now we work it out. Now we make our after as worthwhile as our before.