Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Saluting a special vet
It's Veterans Day and I want to write about a veteran who I have known all of my life.
My dad is a decorated veteran of the Korean War, and I'm very proud of him and the sacrifices he made for this nation before I was even born.
Dad is a vet in more ways than one. After serving in the Army in the 1950s, Dad went on to become a veteran care-giver. He didn't choose that role, but when the times came when his family needed him, he never flinched. He was always there.
This morning, Dad sent an email to remind me of a time in my life when I was facing steep odds, steeper than what I'm facing now.
"I remember when you were about three years old and had a bowel entanglement and went into a coma for a week," Dad wrote. "The doctors did not have much hope for you.
"Your mother and I were with you around the clock taking turns. I remember one Saturday about 6 a.m. I was with you when you woke up and started to smile. I had just opened the drapes in your hospital room and the sun started to shine in. Shortly after that Dr. Schiff came in and when he saw you were awake he said to you that you sure must have a lot of guts as you really needed it to pull through."
Dad isn't happy about the latest news about my cancer fight. But he wrote today that I have to "continue believing in yourself and remember not to give up."
Many years later, Dad was keeping vigil at a hospital after my mother fell ill and was also in a coma for weeks. But Mom pulled through, and stayed with us for another 13 years, thanks to her tough spirit and Dad's boundless capacity to care for her.
Dad's regular emails to me throughout this struggle have lifted me in more ways than I can ever explain. He always tells me that I'm tough, just like Mom. Today's remembrance from Dad reminded me that when I beat this current bout of cancer it won't be the first time I will have caught my doctors by surprise.
Dad has faith in my ability to overcome this crisis. What I want Dad to always remember is that whatever strength I have I learned from him and from Mom.
Thanks for being there for me, for Mom and for Mike, Dad. It has made all of the difference.
I am so lucky to be your son.
I lost a friend today: Longtime HIV/AIDS activist Howard Jacobs dies