My 1 Year Old Wants Dady All The Time Now A Resilient Heart – A Personal Story

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A Resilient Heart – A Personal Story

I witnessed the power of Resilience etched into our genes. I didn’t choose this experience, although I feel privileged – life has a way of making decisions that we have to accept. A few days ago, my father reached a point in his 92nd year where his physical, mental and emotional resilience to fight off the infections that were ravaging his health was no longer strong enough to win the fight.

He made it clear that he only wanted to survive if he had the flexibility to do it alone. He had always been self-sufficient; he didn’t want artificial flexibility forced upon him at the end.

During his life, my father encountered and overcame many difficulties. He married just before he left for Africa in World War II. Shortly after his arrival, his wife died accidentally. He was not allowed home from the war for his funeral. Before the war, life was difficult. He was part of a large immigrant family of 9 children who struggled to find a home in the United States. He was nine years old when the Great Depression hit. He helped his family during the Depression until he was drafted into the army when he was 22 years old. He survived the war and the death of his parents and three siblings.

After the war he married my mother and they both worked hard to provide a comfortable life for my sister and me. My father never complained, he always worked a second job on weekends. I don’t remember him ever being sick or missing a day of work. In fact, he continued to work part-time at a local country club, where he worked as a teenager until he was 89 years old. I remember him telling me that he didn’t think he would be working at the club that spring and summer; he almost apologized for his decision to retire. That year the club gave him life membership.

I know he and my mom went through some tough times in their relationship, but they both worked to make sure their problems didn’t become our problems. He was devoted and devoted to his family. My mother had a number of serious health problems. He was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent a course of chemotherapy. He later had a series of cardiovascular problems that required surgery. She stayed by my father’s side through all his health difficulties and remained optimistic.

My mom died eleven years ago during open heart surgery. He was kept alive on machines for a few days in the hope that his heart would recover and take over – it didn’t. Dad had to make the decision to let her go. I know you were deeply affected by this experience, as we all are. After Mom died, Dad lived alone and often visited her grave to leave flowers.

He golfed constantly, attended church, and mowed the fairways at his country club. After many years away, I had the opportunity to move back. We became good friends. We bought season tickets to UCONN football and had our tailgate lunch before every game. He loved visiting our home, making friends with our neighbors, and going on trips to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren during the holidays.

He is no longer taking food or liquids; he doesn’t speak – it’s only a matter of time before his body shuts down. I know there’s no going back and I know it’s his decision. It is not easy to watch the ebb and flow of his breathing – there are times when his chest stops. I put my hand on his chest and want him to breathe and at the same time not suffer. In a little while, he’ll be breathing again, and so will I.

The nurse listens to his heart and lungs and marvels at how strong he is. He has a flexible heart. Even under such extreme conditions, it beats. His heart has always sought life, and now it leads him to the precipice of death.

I realized that when resilience flourishes in one’s life, there is no giving up or giving up. This man has never done it, why would his heart? He knew only one way; he had only one choice; you must go through the process of using up your last flexible rate.

I just knew his chest wouldn’t rise again. After three days of knowledge, I was still not prepared. My hand and her chest were still. My heart reached desperately for its flexibility.

The power of resilience is astonishing and positive, yet there is a hardness to it. The process of overcoming and transforming difficulties in one’s life is not easy or pleasant, and can sometimes be painful. Resilience doesn’t promise an easy road, it just promises to take you on the road as far as you want.

My father had reached this point in the journey. I know it was easier for him to accept than for me. What I will remember most is the twinkle in her blue eyes, her loyalty and her steadfast heart.

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