Pattie and I just returned after traveling to the Chicago area to surprise my father on his 90th birthday.
Pattie works full time and couldn’t get much time off, so we flew-up on Saturday and flew home last night. I could tell that it meant so much to my father for us to visit–especially since I had just seen him a few weeks ago while I was covering the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meetings.
Dad used to talk about how his goal was to make it to 80 years old. He blew by that number with energy and dignity. But his health has deteriorated rapidly over the last few years. And like many in a similar situation, Dad has increasingly talked about dying.
I have joked with him several times about how we should place a bet over which one of us will live the longest. But I can tell he isn’t comfortable discussing that. It can’t be easy contemplating losing a son when you have lived so much longer than you ever imagined…
My mother is 12 years younger, but she is struggling dealing with dad’s poor health–and hers isn’t much better.
To make a long story short, I was quite taken-aback Sunday when my mother asked me if I would like dad’s desk and several other pieces of furniture once they were both “gone.” She concluded by adding, “But the desk is so heavy, it would probably cost a lot to ship it down to Florida, don’t you think?”
I responded with a witty, “WHAT?” Then added, “Do you know something I don’t?”
If you read my blog(s) with any regularity, you must realize that I’m a pretty open, outspoken guy. And I usually don’t mind talking about this sort of thing. But her question came out of left field and really took me by surprise. After all, I concluded years ago that I was to die first, ahead of both my parents.
“How ironic,” I thought. At least my mother thinks that I’m going to be around for a while. So I guess I’ve got that going for me!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat