When the phone rings at 4 in the morning there really are only a couple of possibilities - a wrong number or bad news. Such was the case yesterday when the father in law had a stroke. His wife called three times before we awoke to hear it. Serge talked to her and she said he'd had a stroke and was in the hospital. I went back to bed because it was cozy and warm and I was not really expecting to fall asleep. But I did fall asleep and Serge went over to the hospital to wait and wait and wait. There's no way to know what the damage is until/if he wakes up. His legs were moving so that was a good sign.
I spent the morning listening to sad songs and thinking about the loved ones in my life, tearing up now and then, the waves of weepiness washing over me in unexpected gusts. Then I went down to the hospital to lend support. The last time I was in a hospital was for a birth 15 years ago. This occasion was far more sombre and the whole day felt like a movie, real and surreal at the same time.
A couple of weeks ago, his dad came over to shoot the breeze and have a couple beers. They had a nice time together and I made sandwiches which we ate outside under a cloudless sky with light breezes. We noticed he had seemed much older since the last time we saw him, he had lost weight but was in good spirits and seemed happy with life. It was the last time for them to bond like that.
They declared him dead early in the afternoon, the blood having filled up the cranial cavity and basically suffocating the brain tissue. We had been waiting for conclusive tests that he was braindead when his heart stopped, and the nurse came down and found us in the cafeteria to let us know. The color drains from a body quickly once the heart has stopped.
Serge has been surprised at how much emotion is occurring within him. How do you reconcile the sudden loss of a parent? Not with swift and ease, but with painful reckoning. I did my best to console though if you cry it's a pretty sure bet that I will, so that's what last evening was all about.
I played the sad song for a while which really wrung out the tears. I don't know why, but this song elicits sobbing rather easily.
This morning I head off to teach, and then to rejoin the machinations of death. Give your loved ones a kiss today, you just never know when it'll be the last.