The tears. They always come. Whenever I see him in the hospital, laying on the highly uncomfortable beds that don’t allow for any decent rest. Sometimes they come as soon as I leave his room, unwilling to wait until I make it to the elevator before I have to stop the sobs from taking over. Other times, like today, they wait. They hold off on the elevator ride down, they don’t come on the car ride home, they let me finish lunch and a few cups of coffee -and then in the not so silent afternoon sun, they come.
My mind races with questions and thoughts from the past few days, the past few years, the past few lifetimes, it would seem. All piling up, willing to be heard, unwilling, however, to wait their turn. The overwhelmingness of thoughts that pile in faster than I can unpack them brings the tears today.
The thing is, I just have no answers. So the thoughts. They just keep spinning. And the tears. They just keep falling.
I hugged him, as I always do, when leaving. And he squeezed me. Tight. Like he always does. I whispered something about not dying, he laughed. I smiled. We said goodbye.
I cry the tears I know he won’t. Perhaps, can’t. Always one to remain positive -regardless of the situation. Always one to remain strong and sturdy. As if it is his life given duty -to remain solid, even when the world is crumbling around him. It is perhaps the very thing that makes me crumble. The very thing that brings out the girliness buried deep within. Seeing someone so strong, so solid -being put in a position of humility and weakness. Laying in a bed. With a gown. In pain.
“Don’t get old” he says. “Don’t work so hard.” “Don’t end up like me.”
His words, they strike a chord. Because just a few short months ago he said the very same thing. He shook his head as he heard I had yet another job. “You work too much. You need to stop working so much. You need to take time to date. To have fun. To get married. You need that.” He tells me. I smile. I force the tears to wait.
Until I can no longer ward them off.
I know he will pull through today, I know he isn’t giving up. I know that losing not one leg, but two -will not stop him. I know this because he told me this. “No legs won’t stop me. Slow me down a bit, but it won’t stop me.” I know he will be back to kicking butt and taking numbers before long.
But for the moment, my heart hurts for him and I cry the tears that wouldn’t come. Until next time.