It was then I imagined us as them now. My voice broke, tears streamed.
Mom could barely speak. Dad more scared than he's ever been in his life. Both have battled back from diseases and surgeries before. Both of them always holding each other close and praying.
This time it's different. This time the choices of doing nothing with the melanoma-filled lymph nodes in his neck or removing them to be followed up with radiation treatments are like when my grandfather used to hold up his fists in a boxer stance and say:
"Six months in the hospital or sudden death?"
But now it's no joke. It's different and more real than it's ever been for them and for all of us.
Because it was then I knew as I've always known, that moment on the phone with my parents a little earlier today, why I love my wife as much as I do, and why we've always wanted to spend my entire life together.
And why we love our children so. Regardless of anything that's come to pass or has yet to.
From the ring my wife surprising me with on our wedding day all those years ago, the 15th-century French phrase "A Ma Vie De Coer Entier" etched along the surface.
You have my whole heart for my whole life.
To sharing the stomach bug with the B-hive this week, me a world away on a business trip unable to help the Mama.
The world is connected with tenuous tethers that snap with the slightest change in pressure, but for those of us who have the other, we hold fast our whole lives.
Every moment tomorrow will be a prayer for my mom and dad and the timeless love they share.