How fragile we are...

Friday afternoon I loaded up my car and drove to Dallas/Ft. Worth. Not Dallas. Not Ft. Worth. Dallas/Ft. Worth. Actually, Hurst/Euless/Bedford. My mom and my sister both live in Bedford. And Monday my dad is having major surgery in Dallas. So here we are. Sometime ago my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He did a good amount of BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) treatments, but his tough guy rebellious cancer responded with a big ugly "Whatever." In other words, it didn’t respond at all. Options were discussed, and first thing Monday morning there is major surgery on the schedule. Bladder and prostate and cancer will all be removed. The doctors say that it’s quite an extensive and invasive process, and that the surgery could take eight to ten hours.

The doctors have also told him (quite bluntly and honestly) that, considering his medical history and numerous pre-existing conditions, he may or may not survive the surgery. Anyone who has known my dad for any length of time will tell you that he’s one of those cats with nine lives. He’s been diagnosed with high blood pressure, extremely low blood pressure, prostate cancer, congestive heart failure, gall bladder issues - I’ve lost track of the number of cardiac bypasses. He’s a tough guy. He used to be a real tough guy. Virile and outdoorsy. Dark and handsome, with an easy smile and a quick wink and flirtatious remark for anything in a skirt. Intimidating, macho, short-tempered. But he’s mellowed a lot. He likes to fish and tell stories. I think a lot of those tough guy types mellow quite a bit the minute somebody calls them "Grandpa." Have you noticed this? Anyway, now he’s a little man in his 70s with serious health issues. But, like I said, he’s a tough guy.

Both my parents come from fairly large families. My dad has three sisters and one brother. My mom had three sisters and four brothers. They both come from wonderful, loving families, where the siblings all seemed to be best friends. They really enjoyed each other’s company. Still do. My mom just spent a week with her three sisters on an impromptu road trip around rural Arkansas. What a great time for them! Oh, and I remember holidays were always so much fun. Aunts and uncles and cousins running around all over the place. And now everybody’s gotten older. The cousins have all grown up and they all have beautiful families of their own. Over the past several years, funerals have become more frequent. Grandparents are all gone, as well as five uncles and one sister-in-law. Each occasion has been so sad and at the same time so sweet, as surviving family members have gathered to honor the memory and celebrate the life of a loved one. The hugs and kisses become even more treasured and more cherished as the very reason we are together reminds us all of how fragile we are. I’ve noticed that we now end every telephone conversation with "I love you." Just in case.

So. Monday. Surgery day for my dad in Dallas. My brother and two sisters will be there. My dad’s brother and three sisters will be there. Dear people that I love but hardly ever get to see. I know the tough guy is anxious. I also know that you will keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks.


  1. Praying for Daddy Bobo (and all the little Bobo's, too). God bless you, Miguel.

  2. This is such a sweet story about your Dad and our family..Thanks Mike for it. You know how special you are to me and all of the family as well. Yes, we do have so much to be thankful for. I wish Ray Von the best and we will say a prayer for him.

  3. His cardiologist, Dr. Gail Peterson, just stopped by to check on him, cardiology-wise, and she was really pleased with how he's doing. To check on his, uh, cognitive status, she asked him if he knew who she was. He nodded. "What's my name?" she asked. After a few seconds, he replied, "Pretty." "Well, your personality hasn't changed," she said.


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