Sunday, August 30, 2009

A year ago today...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jesse & I went to breakfast at one of my favorite places, Alki Bakery. At this time of year, Seattle is lovely. After having delicious breakfast croissants and sharing a cinnamon roll, Jesse & I decided to stroll along Alki Beach. It was very crowded that day, as it tends to be when the sun is out in Seattle. The mood was light and people were cheery.

We returned to my apartment, and I decided to go for a run while Jesse stayed back to study. I ran for nearly an hour, from my apartment in Fremont along Lake Union and almost to downtown. I remember looking out over the lake and marveling at how perfect things seemed to be. Finally, after a grueling job search, I had landed a position at the Art Institute of Seattle. Finally, after nine months of cold, rainy weather, the sun was out. Finally, things were looking up.

I returned to my apartment at about 3:00 pm. Jesse told me that my uncle Royce had called three times. He'd nearly picked it up the last time, but Royce finally left a voicemail. I listened to the voicemail and knew something was wrong. My father had had surgery to remove a large polyp on August 19th, and had not been recovering normally. He had gone into surgery again today so the doctor could see what the issue might be. I had told my boss the day before that it was all routine and everything should be fine, but there was a chance I might have to go to Texas.

I pulled off my running shoes, sat down in the middle of the living room floor, and called Royce. He said he had to tell me something about Daddy, and it wasn't good news. The words started running together and not making sense...

"Took him into surgery....found a large, inflammed mass...entangled in several veins and can't be removed...poisoning...septic shock...hours to live."

I began sobbing. "NO! NO! NO!" into the phone, willing Royce to stop saying such awful things. Willing him to stop saying what could NOT be happening. It was a polyp, a lousy polyp. It was a routine surgery. Everyone else recovers. He hadn't wanted the stupid surgery in the first place. He knew something would go wrong. I told him everything would be fine. I told him he was worrying about nothing.

How was I supposed to get to Texas within HOURS?

Jesse had run into the living room by this time and was holding me, trying to figure out what was going on, what Royce could possibly be telling me.

My roommate of 3 weeks walked into the apartment. I looked at her and continued sobbing. She went to her room.

Royce kept talking..."can come to Texas...we can help you get here...you do whatever you feel is right to do..." I said, "I'm coming. I will get on the next flight I can."

After hanging up the phone, I told Jesse I had to figure out how I was going to get to Texas. He said how "we" were getting to Texas. I looked at him, this boyfriend of 4 months, and said, "Okay, how are we getting to Texas?"

We went to the airport and found a nice woman with American Airlines who gave us a great bereavement fare. The plane left the next morning and got us into Corpus Christi at 4:00 p.m. Nearly 24 hours from when Royce told me my father had hours to live. We booked the flight and went back home.

We had been planning for over a month to see my new favorite movie, Juno, at the Fremont Outdoor Theater that night. Since we couldn't leave until the morning, and I knew I wanted to stay busy until then, we decided to keep our plans and go to the movie.

The evenings in Seattle get quite chilly, even in August. After 45 minutes, I told Jesse that I was cold so we left.

We went back to his house, and tried to go to sleep, knowing we had to wake up at 3:45 am to catch our flight.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Chris and Kate Borders said...

I can't imagine how hard it is to re-live the story as you tell it. Thank you very much for sharing with us...