Posted: Friday, February 01, 2013 10:13:40 PM
The curtain was drawn around his cubicle to give the elusion of privacy. Dad laid on the bed waiting for the nurse to take him to surgery. He told me, his favorite (and only) daughter, that if he didn't make it through surgery, that he had done almost everything that he wanted to do. I heard the word almost and asked, "What is the one thing that you haven't done?" We made our deal --- If he made it through surgery and got well enough to travel, I would take him half way across the world to Manchester, England to see his favorite soccer team play in their home stadium.
He was almost 80 years old then, and honestly I never thought we would take that trip, but a year later, he was well enough to go. This was definitely a miracle because no one, not even his doctors, thought that he would recover.
I kept my promise and we flew to England. He visited a castle, watched what he considered "real" soccer on local tv, and at dinner we sat across from one another with no interruptions, no competing siblings or spouses, and had wonderful deep, meaningful conversations. I learned about his childhood and about his marriage to my mother and he asked me about his skills as a father. I had no idea he wondered if he had done a good enough job.
A few days into the trip, we boarded the train with all the other crazy and loud Manchester United fans who were singing and swaying, and we went to the game. As he sat in the bleachers, tears streaming down his cheeks, he told me this was a dream come true. His team won, the icing on the cake!
Dad is now 86 years old and I feel blessed for every moment that I have with him. I believe in that one precious moment back on the table waiting for surgery, both of our lives were forever changed.