“Your dad’s going for surgery. He should be back home in about a week.”
That was my mom, telling me the news over the phone nearly three weeks ago.
I’m writing this from my dad’s hospital room. It’s Thanksgiving day.
There’s no turkey. There’s no big family gathering with kids running around. There’s no parade or movie marathon.
It’s just my mom, my dad, and myself in a small hospital room. My dad has been here for 21 days.
I’m typing this on a hospital recliner, sitting next to mom and dad. It will also serve as my bed. The room is sterile and cluttered, but it will be my home for the next three days. I don’t complain; mom’s been living here in this room, at my dad’s side, throughout the entire ordeal.
Dad’s conscious but he’s weak. He’s lost a considerable amount of weight. He has an endless stream of IV fluids connected to him. There are beeps and bloops from surrounding equipment. Despite his current state, he is on the road to recovery. I am thankful for that.
Mom’s in the adjacent hospital bed. She’s exhausted beyond words. My presence here has afforded her some much needed rest. And for that I am also thankful.
I barely recognized my father when I arrived at the hospital this afternoon. Dad’s lost a good 20 lbs. His face is gaunt. He is tired, but despite his general discomfort and pain, he stood up from his bed to greet me when I arrived. His sleep is restless. The IV supply forces him to use the restroom almost every hour. Nearly every hour or so, a nurse comes in to check on him.
This isn’t how I pictured spending Thanksgiving, but in an odd way, it’s what I needed to experience.
You see – for me Thanksgiving isn’t about turkey, Black Friday sales, or football. It’s about recognizing that the time you have with the ones you love is finite and precious. That it’s important to not throw away or squander the opportunities you have to spend time with the ones you love.
I have never been more reminded of that fact than now.