The Waiting Game


December 5, 2011 by Marj Hatzell

Dearest Friends of DG, I originally wrote this post last Thursday, three days after I drove my father to the ER for “dehydration” and two days after my father had emergency, life-saving surgery for a “bowel obstruction.” Dad slipped into a coma and last Friday took a turn for the worst. Saturday he left us, surrounded by his children, his wife and his siblings. The last paragraph rings true, right to the very end. Nothing was more important to my father than family. Nothing made him happier. It was all he ever asked for at birthdays and Christmas, time with his family. I haven’t had the words or the strength to write or post. Hope to be back in a few days. In the meantime, for the love of all that’s good and holy, get regular physicals and blood work, get mammograms and colonoscopies when you are supposed to. You’ll be glad you did. Just sayin’.

I’m sure that if I added up the time I spent in various waiting rooms with my kids it would be some obscene number, like a third of my life or something weird.

What I didn’t count on was the amount of time I spend in waiting room for my parents.

Without divulging much, I will let you know that I take them to many appointments. They both have terminal diseases and see just about every specialist you can imagine. Actually, they directly PAY just about every specialist you can imagine. No kidding, they know every doctor, receptionist and nurse. Heck, they know some of the patients by name. Let’s just say they spend tons of time there. Which means my brother and I spend tons of time there, since we have the most availability to drive and stuff. You know, because I have NOTHING ELSE ON MY PLATE.

Recently my father took a major turn for the worse. So now we wait. Could be weeks, could be months, could be a year. Who knows? All I know is that I hope and pray and wish for swift and painless.

This whole thing has been a total mind f*ck. My mother has been sick a long time, my Dad’s illness came out of the blue in August. I feel almost guilty hoping that it won’t be long. It’s just so long and drawn out and cruel to me. I don’t want to rob my kids of an awesome Pop Pop but I also don’t want to see my father go through this and be in pain. He despises it. I loath it. My family? We’re all currently in the “deer in headlights” phase. Accepting it, wishing it weren’t happening and wondering what happens next.

And comfort eating like nobody’s business. DUDE. I have eaten more fried, creamy, fattening, salty food in the past week than I care to admit. And I was doing so well with my rabbit food salads and healthy food kick, too. But cheesefries and mashed potatoes with gravy just taste, well, better than lettuce. Just sayin’.

The worst part is having to tell Bug Boy that one of his super heros probably won’t make it to his twelfth birthday next year. His Pop Pop takes him fishing, has picked him up from school and brings model trains and soft pretzels at every visit. Best yet, his Pop Pop sends him (and his cousins) the funnies from the Sunday papers every week. Pop Pop buys four papers so he can give each kids a page and make sure that their sibling has a different page, too. In fact, Bug Boy once pointed out that he and Bugaboo had the SAME page, so Pop Pop remedied that by buying more papers. Then Bug Boy was all, “Pop Pop, think you could send me the puzzle page? Because I like that the best. Oh, and make sure peanuts is there, too. That’s my favorite.” Gotta love a kid that makes rules about what other people give him. Autism can be fun.

Every Monday, without fail, mail is waiting in that mailbox for the boys. Bug Boy races off the bus and across the street, digging through the mailbox to find his funnies (some people call them comics. Whatevs. Cool people call them funnies. WE ARE COOL PEOPLE). Just about every week. In August, for a few weeks, Pop Pop was in the hospital and eventually got my brother to mail them. Then it was back to normal schedule and Bug Boy was happy.

But this Monday, Bug Boy raced to the mailbox from the bus. He dug through the mail. It wasn’t there.

That’s when I had to sit down and tell him. I had to break his heart and tell him Pop Pop was too sick right now. I had to tell him his fishing buddy might not be able to send them again. And in true Bug Boy form, he asked, “Will Grandmom send them? How about Uncle J?”

It got me to thinking. Is it really the mail that he likes? Is it the funnies? Or is it the simple  act of a grandfather sending the leftover funnies to his grandson? Even though the grandson lives five minutes away?

I’m betting it’s the fact that Pop Pop takes the time to send him something. That Pop Pop thinks of him. That’s the kind of guy Pop Pop is. His family always on his mind and in his heart. And his heart is big and strong.

24 thoughts on “The Waiting Game

  1. RuthWells says:

    I’m hurting for you, Marj. As you know, my dad was ill and in constant decline for 9 months before his death in June. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I hope there is some comfort in knowing that your dad’s at peace and no longer suffering.

  2. I never knew that about the comics. A few times I brought in the mail while watching GC’s kitties. I noticed once or twice a handwritten letter to your nephew. I wonder if those were from your dad; I never looked too closely to respect privacy. I hope they were — it would make the memory of him I have a touch bit sweeter. He was a good man and all he knew is better for having met him.


  3. Barnmaven says:

    I am sadder than words can express for your loss. Reading what you have written about your dad draws me a picture of a man who loved his family more than anything, a man who went out of his way to help his children and grandchildren know they were loved. I know this is a terrible time for you; I am so glad you are able to share these vignettes of your father with us so that we can know him – and you – and appreciate his love and warmth and humanity.

    Many hugs to you, you and all of your family continue to be in my prayers.

  4. Tanya Shenk says:

    I can’t imagine … I am so sorry for your loss.

  5. jodi says:

    Your father rocked. May he rest in peace.

  6. Julie says:

    That’s so difficult and sad. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  7. Jeanette K says:

    You have a wonderful gift with writing! I truly know how much family means to you and each member of your family. Keep the blog up, it is good therapy for the heart and soul. Thanks so much for sharing you stories.

  8. Lora says:

    Oh Marj. I’m so sorry. As a kid who used to get the funnies (I call them funny papers, or funnies. Comics are books, right?) mailed to her from her grandma all the way up until I was almost 30, I can say that your kids are really going to miss that moment every single day for a very long time.

    You are all in my thoughts. Much love to the whole family

  9. Anonymous says:

    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  10. anneg45 says:

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  11. Grandma margie says:

    I am truly sorry. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. We call them the funny papers too. Our granddaugher heard us call them that and somehow to her they are the silly papers. Again, I’m sorry for your loss.

  12. […] because recent events weren’t stressful enough, Bugaboo has been on a bit of a downswing behaviorally. The […]

  13. […] to take care of a dog, see. I know for a fact my Dad would have loved it if I took Cujo on when he passed but the truth is, Cujo (all eight pounds of him) is more dog than I can handle. He has major […]

  14. Meg says:

    I am terribly behind in reading my favorite blogs (yours included) because, in fact, my father passed away the same day that yours did. I just wanted to offer my belated sympathy for your loss — your dad sounds like such a wonderful guy and I know that the past month can’t have been easy for your family, as I know it hasn’t been for mine. Thanks for sharing your memories — I hope that they are continuing to bring you comfort!

  15. […] I don’t want to lie, because I’m a painfully truthful person. You can blame Big […]

  16. […] episodes. We were left reeling, our house was in chaos, I was often in tears. I was dealing with my father’s death, my medical issues and the boys’ were barely staying glued […]

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