The Dallas to Tyler run is 98 miles according to Google Maps but that is not really accurate because from my house it is closer to about 130…each way.
Technically I live west of Dallas in a small town that people outside of the Metroplex aren’t familiar with so when they ask where I live I say Dallas.
Five years ago I said Fort Worth and smiled because it wasn’t very precise, but then again neither was saying I live in Los Angeles or the Valley.
If you aren’t familiar with the area precision becomes imprecise or should I say the need to be so does.
Somewhere around mile 209 I called my father to see how the latest hospital stay is treating him.
Dad didn’t sound great and he wasn’t particularly talkative.
Chemo is killing the cancer but some of the side effects are wreaking havoc upon him.
“Dad, are you getting any physical therapy in?”
“If you want to go home you have to push yourself, got to fight through this.”
I got a groan and a couple more words and that was it.
Riding With Walt
I played around with changing out of my work clothes and going straight to LA.
Since I am on the verge of living the bachelor life again it kind of made sense to just go. If I push hard I could make it in two days but as I told Mr. Whitman the poetry of the desert ride isn’t the best option now.
Better to look at flights and take advantage of the speed of travel and reduced wear and tear on me. It probably costs less than driving.
Sometimes I write when I fly, but not always.
I almost dialed dad again to talk to him about a particular situation.
“Dad, give me your thoughts on this. Do you know what I did and how many people told me it is impossible? I did it dad. I did it in spite of their saying it couldn’t happen. I refused to listen to the bullshit.
We always fight inertia and personal fear of change.”
I thought about it and laughed, “Josh still wants dad’s approval.”
Don’t need it, but sometimes it is nice to have. But the crux of it isn’t approval, it is knowing he would appreciate all that when into this particular moment in ways others can’t.
I didn’t call because he can’t give me that now and I won’t ask for him to do more than focus on getting beyond this particular moment.
I called my middle sister and we had another blunt conversation about where things are at.
“Is it a marathon or a sprint to the finish? There is one final outcome here and we are going to see it whether we like it or not.”
She agreed and we bounced ideas back and forth and tried to figure out whether to come out at the same time or separately.
If we go separately it theoretically provides mom with a longer time frame with one of us around to help.
Dad may be carrying the weight of the illness but she is carrying the weight of being the primary caregiver for him so having us around to help lighten the load is big.
I also know the lift that would come with having all of her children around at once and part of me wonders if having all of us together would provide a good lift for him too.
And in a soft almost whisper, I wonder how much time we have and if waiting could mean I don’t get to see him.
That is the rub here, there are nor rules of engagement. No manual or guidebook to be relied upon as a trusted resource that provides the perfect roadmap.
All we have is the voice inside our head that tells us we have done the best we can. I am listening carefully to mine and he is screaming.
You Gave Up On Me
I had a dream once where I heard those words and wondered if I was dreaming ‘cuz I don’t just give up.
I go the distance and only let go when my gut and I agree there is no point to continue.
Dad and I talked about it a bunch of times and came to the same conclusions. I don’t have to close my eyes to hear the echoes or know the truth.
I know things and the reason I know them isn’t important.
It is not math or science speaking here. There aren’t hypotheses or formulas to be proven or theories to be disproved.
Nah, we are in the space between head and heart where you find out what thrills and or chills you.
Mr. Toad is driving the car and we have to rely that his wild ride won’t crash knowing if it does we’ll pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off.
I told dad I’d see him soon and that has to be good enough.