My father and aunt aren’t doing well. Dad is bedridden, a series of strokes and heart attacks having taken their toll. My aunt is in the hospital unable to do anything more than utter a stray word after having her own stroke.
And so continues a sick game, where we try guessing how much longer they’ll be with us, who will go first, etc. That’s the game I’m playing anyway. When you’re like me and you can’t help but worry about what’s out of your control, these mental exercises take over.
I’ve seen many relatives and friends deal with critical health issues, and I’m no stranger to death. Each time, I played the game of what-ifs, worries about my always busy schedule and what I might have to cancel.
This time, I’m a week out from traveling to San Francisco for RSA Conference — one of the biggest events of the year for my industry — and I’m worrying about whether or not I’ll get there.
It’s a hell of a thing, worrying about that when two lives hang in the balance. It’s a human thought process, but I feel selfish all the same.
I wouldn’t have the life I have today if not for my father. He made sure I learned the value of hard work, sent me to college, helped out when Erin and I bought our home and has helped out during more than a couple financial squeezes.
My aunt helped me deal with some of the more traumatic events of my early life. When my parents were divorcing, she and my grandmother took me on trips to the New Hampshire mountains. When my father worked late, I could usually go to the house down the street where she and my grandmother lived, where I could watch TV, do homework and have dinner. That house was an oasis when I needed it.
They gave and they gave. I’m trying to give back and want to do so freely and fearlessly. But I can’t stop worrying about how their condition might impact my carefully made plans.
I know I’m not the only one who does this. I’ve talked to others who have had to deal with situations like this, and they all experience such thoughts. It just doesn’t make me feel any better. Writing about it is my way of keeping myself honest so I can move on and make the right choices.
If it helps some of you see that you’re not alone in getting swallowed up by this monster, so much the better.