Sometimes It Goes Like This

“Dad had a stroke.”

Those words will snap you into wakefulness before your first cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.

Those words snapped me into wakefulness before my first cup of coffee on Saturday morning.

My sister called at 1:30 am. With the schedule we’ve been on lately, we would have usually been up. But we were sleeping in twin beds, pushed together and awkward, in Gulf Shores. She left a message. I listened to it and, at first, I didn’t understand the word she’d said. It was as if it was missing from the sentence, like the line went dead in that instant.

If she had said “Dad had an accident,” it wouldn’t have surprised me. He climbs mountains. He whitewater rafts. Not that long ago, he got knocked out of the back of a truck at his job. When I was a kid, we picked him up from a bike ride one time after he’d had a wreck that looked as if he’d skidded a mile along the asphalt.

As the message played, though, the word filled itself in. His speech was slurred, she said. His face was drooping. He was weak on one side.

My father is not a perfect man. But, in some small way, there has always been something a little heroic about him too. I have seen him help two teenagers who flipped their car in a field, tend to a man badly injured in a motorcycle accident before the ambulance got to the scene, and stop to change the tire of old ladies stuck on the side of the road.

I don’t know. I guess I just always thought that he was invincibile.

Now I know that he isn’t.

But I don’t want to know.

My sister told me last night that my dad looked scared.

I didn’t know he got scared.

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  1. I am the worst when it comes to knowing what to say to things like this. Allow me to just go with I’m sorry, and I hope it was minor so he can get back into the swing of things soon.

  2. Thanks.

    He got to go home yesterday, and my sister said that he seemed much better at home. More like himself and relieved to be out of the hospital.

    It’s just strange.

    His speech was affected, unsurprisingly, so when I called him on Saturday he didn’t sound like himself. I just hope he can sound like himself again.

  3. I’m so sorry Riley. I too felt the same when my father suffered a stroke. He’s my Dad, right? Invincible – yeah, he gets hurt but nothing serious. I hope he recovers well and quickly. Hugs.

    1. Thank you 🙂 He’s actually doing pretty well. My sister says he’s just frustrated and getting a little snippy with everyone. He’s already in physical and speech therapy, though.

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