Sue to Mark 10, part 2
These are just the facts. The important stuff I have yet to tell, and I just don't think I can tonight. It will come. But I can share this one thing. When I finally got to the hospital that Tuesday night about 10:45, I went into the ICU to see Dad. I didn't hesitate, even though I was scared. You have to know Dad to appreciate this - he's a major cut-up, a totally hilarious impossible Dude, always the idea man, the energy guy, full - always - of joi de vivre, skinny and bad and fun and silly and highly intelligent and thoughtful and cute and totally opinionated and totally right ALL THE TIME! Genuinely alive, in other words. Of course, I don't have to tell you what people look like in ICU. But I had never seen someone I loved so swollen, so purple and green, so swabbed with that dark yellow disinfectant stuff, so drenched in dried blood, so hooked up to a maze of wires and tubes, beepers and monitors and hanging bags of fluids. But as I looked down into that face I loved, I realized I had never loved him so much as at that moment. I hope on some level, he felt it.
I wanted to take some time to respond to some thought-provokers in your last longer note of Sunday, April 20. (Only a week ago, but feels like decades.) I loved your description of your "usual" family routine on Sunday. It sounded so peaceful and sweet. I wish I knew how to introduce some peaceful "community" moments into our time at home. For me, those two states seem mutually exclusive. Nothing we do together is ever peaceful or quiet. I was also quite entertained by your image of the bats - losing their vision and developing radar. I thought that was profound, because (for us, not bats) there is an element of trust involved here. Maybe we can't really fly until we quit relying so much on our old radar, and begin to navigate with the organ of faith (wherever that is!).
Did my interest in literature begin when I was young? Yes. I read voraciously. I read War and Peace at 14 because I wanted to. How weird is that? But like most kids, I was abysmally stupid when it came to figuring myself out, and I started out majoring in music in college because I was a fair piano player, then switched to P.E. because I had been a cheerleader in high school (and because "fair" wasn't good enough for college-level musicians). P.E. still wasn't it, because I was making C's in classes like Basketball Methods and A's in my lit classes. But I wasn't getting any smarter because when I switched majors again, it was to Radio-TV. I finally got a degree in Radio/TV, but I remember walking out of my last final in college thinking, "You know, this STILL isn't it . . ." Then I met Rog and . . . the rest of that story is for another time.
I identified with your concern about looking like a divorced father at restaurants. I have felt conspicuous for a long time. But I'm getting used to it - probably because I have so much "stuff" pulling at me, I don't have time to think about it. You asked if I'd ever felt anger or animosity toward God for the way my life has turned out. I've thought about this a lot. And I have to say that I haven't. It is hard for me to say that because 1) I would like to identify with you more fully and 2) I feel weird or abnormal because I haven't. I'm still trying to figure this out. Like everything else in this realm, the truth about the inner situation is pretty complex. Some of my failure to be mad at God is that I can't forget how good He's been to me. Call me Pollyanna, but I really can rejoice even in the suffering (Willa Cather, in her beautiful book O! Pioneers! Calls it "my treasure of pain"). The painful stretches on my long and winding road have always opened the way to some surprising and often beautiful new vista.