I’m not certain if I’ve ever really been prepared to learn that my father wasn’t immortal. I have never met anyone who was as self-assured as he is — and remember watching, wide-eyed, as he, badly burnt in a yard project gone horribly wrong, proceeded to cut dead meat off his leg with a pair of kitchen shears. Was it meant to be sick or reassuring when he pushed his finger into exposed flesh to show me what “edema” was? To my forever-afraid, little girl eyes, this was on a different plane: real Zeus-versus-the-Titans stuff.
On Friday, I got a call from my baby sister, who told me that he was in hospital, with a likely stroke — he’d been feeling numbness in his right side while packing for a trip, and after making his self-diagnosis (of course) had gone with my mother. I talked to him that afternoon, and he was in good spirits, talking clearly, and apparently moving around well and often (they couldn’t keep him his room). But there was some question about his blood pressure, and his blood sugar, and…Things seem better now — there seems to have been a bullet dodged. But things are different now, on the other side, and I’m afraid. I don’t think I’ll ever not be afraid again.