The View From Here

There is no color palette like an Arizona sunset, all cantelopes and indigos and lilacs.

There’s more to the view from the foot of my father’s hospital bed. There are tangles of tubes running from my dad to blinking machines. Men and women in scrubs and sneakers rush by occasionally. A bottle of hand lotion and a thrice-read newspaper clutter the counter. I’ve been sitting here for four days straight, watching the sun make its way across the sky, over the buildings, out past the western mountains as it sets the horizon aglow before it dips down into darkness for another day.

No matter if this majesty is the result of five million car motors spewing carbon monoxide towards the heavens, I will not allow such a view to be diminished. Even from a window in the intensive care unit, this daily spectacle is a reminder that life is larger and more mysterious than we can possibly imagine.

Monday morning my dad woke up with a terrible headache and asked my mother to call 911. A vessel in his head burst, and he walked downstairs with the EMTs before he lost consciousness. The neurosurgeon told us later that 50% of people don’t even make it to the hospital. The beeping of the monitors, the rhythm of his breathing through the oxygen mask and the occasional flush of the biohazard disposal have become a strange, new symphony, the sound of human brilliance and God’s grace.

So thank God for airplanes, spewing tons of carbon monoxide so that I could cross an entire continent in a few hours.

Thank God for my brother, who as a doctor knows the right questions to ask and what all the blinking lights and numbers mean.

Thank God for my mother, whose steel-solid optimism and faith has not wavered for a second.

Thank God for my future sister-in-law for her sweetness and support.

Thank God for my husband, who has managed to care for the kids, the dog, the chickens and his business all week and still text me hilarious and encouraging endearments.

Thank God for Jen and Kelly and Sue and Julia and the rest of the nurses and aides and tech whose names I never caught who perform marvelous and amazing tasks with compassion and calm.

Thank God for the friends who are helping and praying and standing fast.

Thank God, Thank God, Thank God.

When a loved one’s life hangs in balance, there isn’t much else to do but pray and wait. As this week comes to a close, we’re heading to synagogue to make our Misheberachs official.

Right now we don’t know what the future holds for Dad. God willing many more sunsets like this one.

9 thoughts on “The View From Here

  1. As many, some close friends and others strangers, offered prayers for my father when he was battling cancer last year, I pray for your father, your family, and you.

    Mi sheberakh avoteinu mekor habrakha l’imoteinu
    May the Source of strength
    Who blessed the ones before us
    Help us find the courage
    To make our lives a blessing,
    And let us say: Amen.
    Mi sheberakh imoteinu mekor habrakha l’avoteinu
    Bless those in need of healing With refuah shleima:
    The renewal of body,
    The renewal of spirit,
    And let us say: Amen

  2. I love you, Jessica. I love Skip. I love Marcia. I love Ara.
    I am praying constantly.
    I keep seeing your mom & dad sitting at the kitchen table in Tempe, casually plucking newspaper sections from the big ceramic bowl & discussing the articles as they nosh.
    They were like second parents to me during a very, very difficult time for my own family, and I will always carry them in my heart.
    Your mom’s inspirational notes scattered around the house… Your dad’s wry wit…
    My heart is there with you all.
    Stay as strong as you can, and when you need to rail at the universe, I’m here. XOXOXO

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