One hundred and seven deaths per minute worldwide. Some have many words associated with them, words that celebrate life. Some have only a few words, announcing death. Many have none.
One minute six months ago, my birth father died, the man with blue genes who had abused my mother. I say birth father because I hadn't seen him since I was 13 -- hadn't wanted to see him since then. He hadn't reached out after that point, and neither had I. I didn't even hear about it until a month ago.
One minute six months ago, two lines described his death. Twenty-five words in all. Twenty-five words that describe where he died and funeral arrangements only. Twenty-fine words that I looked up online, that I actually spent $2.50 to access in the local paper where it was published.
I have no feelings either way. No resentment or forgiveness, no sadness or relief. Nothing except maybe relief for him having to live with his alcoholism and his painful ghosts, if he ever had any.
But 173 words later, the man my mother's been married to for 33 years, whose name my sister and I took as our own, the man we call Dad, the man my sister's kids and mine call Papa, is dying.
The radiation treatments didn't get the melanoma. It's now spread throughout his entire body. Some form of chemotherapy is next, and although his oncologist seems to think he's strong enough to handle it, I'm not sure he's sure he is. Of course we want him to live, especially Nana (Mom) who's been chronically ill with an auto-immune disorder for almost three decades. He turns 80 next month and could live years more as far as we all know including the medical professionals. He's done it before after surviving a stroke in 1994 and an abscess on his lung that nearly took him home to Jesus back in 2002.
They've both been in and out of the hospital many times this past year and we've all been up to see and help them as much as we can. Living hours and hours away isn't easy, especially now. Thankfully we were just there, enjoying a family vacation with the B-hive as well as going to medical appointments with my folks and helping to plan their uncertain future.
We all have uncertain futures, though. When Bea is my age now, I'll be 88, if I make it that far, which God willin' and the creek don't rise I will, along with the Mama.
I've put the blue genes to bed; I have two daughters of my own. As I look to what's next for us all, I wish my father the happiest of Father's Days with many more to come.
I wish all the good fathers out there the same.
Be mindfully present and love your family. Always.