Before My Father's Heart Surgery

Before my father passed away, when he was first diagnosed with heart problems, he was admitted to the hospital for triple by-pass surgery.  One of his younger brothers is a thoracic surgeon at that same hospital, and he had left an opening in his rotation that morning so he sould observe the surgery.   (Being related, he could not participate in the procedure.) 



In the top floor of the adjacent professional building was a small office space that my uncle leased, and used as a private retreat before going into surgeries.  The window faced east, over the treetops in the park, and from there he would watch the sun rise, and do whatever it was spiritually to prepare.  The room had subdued lighting, candles, and comfortable chairs that faced the window.  He invited me to join him before sunrise that morning, and while he sat and thought his thoughts, I did the same and sipped coffee. When we sat down, it was dark grey, lightening in the east.  The sunrise was beautiful, and the clouds made small canvases that were shifting pallettes of color, contrasting with the ripening daylight in the background. 



When we got up, the sun was clear of the treeline horizon and the room we were in was brightly illuninated.  We got up, and my uncle went to face the wall by a credenza with momentos of some value that only he knew.  His white hair, a copy of my dad's white hair, was illuminated in a way that made me feel that it was important for my father for his brother to be there.  I know I was needed for support, but this was an act of sibling love and support that was key to the men they were, the family I loved.  I didn't speak a word that whole time, and felt awkward for that.  In hindsight, I am very at peace with my quiet demeanor of that day. 



My father lived for ten years following that surgery, so I would call it a success.   Many, many times I think about that sunrise, and seeing my uncle's hair, thinking of my father's, and it really comforts me.
atmore atmore
46-50, M
1 Response Nov 30, 2006

That is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.