Dress, coat and shoes: J. Crew
Last fall my dad had an unplanned, unexpected triple bypass. If he hadn’t gone to the hospital when he did a few days earlier, he might’ve suffered a widow maker heart attack, just like Jack Pearson on This is Us.
The morning of his surgery, my tire blew out shortly after I got on the interstate and by the time I got back on the road to the hospital in Florida, the surgery was over.
In the interim, every time my cell phone chimed I wanted to throw up, afraid it was bad news. I don’t remember driving the stretch of asphalt I burned up between Montgomery and Pensacola. Only that a very real Good Samaritan made sure I got there on four good tires. I ran into the cardiac wing so fast that I broke my sandal. When they told me he made it my own heart nearly gave out.
That was the longest ride of my life. The longest day of my life. Fortunately, he lived. But I think that’s why I blacked out on #ThisisUs.
While the circumstances were different, the feelings of helplessness, shock, dread, disbelief and fear were so familiar. And the guilt. I felt so guilty because I wasn’t there. I’m the oldest. I should’ve been there in time.
I should’ve been there.
I’m still struggling with that.
Daddy made a full recovery. Thank God.
But that experience has permanently altered me. Altered how I approach life, how I love, how I spend my time and what is important to me. It’s brought into sharp focus what I can endure and what I will fight for, what I will ride for until the wheels fall off or the tires spin to shreds.
It’s made me believe there is someone who will literally be down for me like four flat tires. Or just one in an emergency at dawn.
Ride or die.
I wear red to remind me to protect my fire, to protect my figurative heart and to preserve my physical, mental and spiritual health to the extent possible. I hope you’ll take care of yours, too.