Somerandom saidOk - the title says it, I just had my first cry in two years and I am halfway around the world from my friends and family.
Sometimes life is tough, and you gotta be tougher yourself for the sake of somebody else. Obviously I wish your father the best, as well as you in handling this.
One day in Seattle I got a call that my father had a heart attack. I immediately flew to his side in Florida (where I now live). I knew he had cancer, but I wasn't fully aware how grave his outlook was.
His doctors told me he'd be dead in less than 6 months, either from the cancer or his heart condition. He hadn't admitted this to me himself.
So I arranged to spend that final time down here with him, and to care for him myself until the end, whenever it came. It was the least I could do for my own father, with whom I'd had my disputes as many sons do, but whom I nevertheless admired & honored.
In the next 6 weeks he had 4 more heart attacks, right in front of me. I literally brought him back a couple of times myself, and got him to the hospital in an ambulance in the nick of time. I was disgusted when the doctors asked me why I was bothering, since he wasn't going to survive much longer anyway, just let him go.
I BEG YOUR PARDON??? This is my FATHER. You think I could possibly let him slip away in front of me, doing nothing? Fuck you, doctors. Let your own fathers die, not mine.
And BTW, I think it was after the 3rd heart attack, he said to me: "Bob, I was surprised how calm, precise and efficient you were, when you called for help. I thought you might panic or something. And then you took charge when the ambulance crew arrived." (He had overheard me on the phone from his bedroom)
"Well, yeah, Dad, I was an Army Colonel, after all. We did deal with crises all the time. Didn't you know what I'd been doing all those years?" And we laughed together. He'd been in the US Army Air Corps himself during WWII.
A sixth heart attack at night finally took him (gawd, I hope I'm that tough, that it takes 6 heart attacks), when I wasn't able to help. I found him the next morning on the floor, and wouldn't let my sister see him because it wasn't pretty (in whose house we were both staying, she having just returned from Europe the very day before to also be with him. At least they had a last day together).
So you be tough for your Dad. That's your job now. I pray he bounces right back from this, as he likely will. But one day will come, when you're gonna be where I was, as have countless other sons & daughters before me.
I suppose what carried me was being focused on my mission, my duty, as I was trained to do. When my own father praised my reflexive efforts to save his life I had to go away for a moment, to cry by myself. This guy NEVER complimented me, never said a positive thing to me my whole life, totally stern and remote, the disciplinarian, never my friend or companion.
And now he did. And those last 6 weeks I spent with him, feeding him, caring for him, driving him around, just sitting and talking with him, not just father & son but man-to-man, were worth more than our entire prior 48 years, at least to me.
If you've still got a Dad, you take care of him, you treasure him. And when that day comes, hopefully very far from now, you be with him, be his comfort, as a son should be. From your post here I suspect that will be the case.