This morning dawned a bit chilly here in the northland. I drove up from the Twin Cities to spend some time with my family visiting our Father at the hospital. Upon getting here yesterday I found him looking tired and confused. The surgeon expressed a good deal of concern about his options and my father's chances of pulling through OK.
I knew today would be along day and if he has to have surgery tomorrow...that will be a much longer day.
I left the house at around 6:30 A.M. and headed north of Chisholm to a network of forest roads around the Sturgeon River area. A couple miles out of town I realized that I had forgotten my camera back at the house. I decided not to turn around and retrieve it due to the fact that I needed to get to the hospital before 11 when he had his tests scheduled down in the surgical area.
It didn't take me long to realize that this was going to be a special ride. Five minutes down the road I encountered my first deer. A beautiful doe with two fawns...new life. The early morning sunlight falling through the trees gave me a very relaxed feeling as I headed west down the narrow forest road. A few more miles of riding found me coming into contact with another doe also with two fawns.
My music selection was very different from anything else I've ever listened to while riding my mountain bike. It consisted of classical piano and a mix of various opera including Pavarotti. It seems that recently most of my rides have driven by a feeling of anger, frustration, and a prolonged battle with depression.
For two hours I rode and just relaxed and enjoyed the music and my surroundings. Most of the time I thought of my father and what he has given all of us in our family. He truly is a very special person and has very many people from our town and our large family very concerned and praying for him. I haven't felt this relaxed and at ease for months. In my mind I was able reminisce about the many times my father and I had together. I also thought about the possibility of having to say good-bye and how I would remember him. I tried to compare my life to his and wondered if I would ever be able to match him as a person. When he's gone...whether it happens soon or sometime down the road...he will leave behind many fond memories for a lot of people. A few times along the way I cried, but there were also some smiles and a bit of laughter now and then.
Another thing I thought about was how these situations with my brother and father have brought us all a lot closer. My friend Andrea also came to mind. She has been the best friend anyone could possibly have and she has been there for me and offered me a lot of support.
Finally... I thought about my wife Patti and how supportive she has been throughout all of this. She had even mentioned at one point in time that if this illness with my father should not have an ideal ending that she would want my mother to come to the cities and live with us. Period...no questions asked. She just said that she would expect it and want it to be that way. Of course, my mother would also have to want that. I'm so very lucky to have Patti in my life.
The last thing I thought about toward the end of my ride was myself and some of my own struggles over the past few months. For the first time in quite awhile I finally realized that I am going to be OK. I have to...I have to good of a life not to be.
By the time I got back to the car I was feeling really good, my head was clear for the first time in weeks, and I felt that this was going to be a really good day despite the fact that my father was still very sick. I also decided that I am going to return to this spot before heading back home. However, I will have my camera on the return trip.
I'm now with the rest of the family waiting for the surgeon and urologist to come and talk to us about the results of the days procedures and where we go from here and what my fathers options are going to be.
It's good to finally feel the healing process take action.