Last night my sister collapsed, was unconscious, and rushed to hospital. My baby sister.
And I saw her, unable to speak, only able to cry when she saw me...tears and drool running down her face. And I was so scared. So scared.
There are no words to describe how that felt and I'm just her sister, not her mother. And again, my mother was my mother, the shining light of strength and organization. The one that stood up to the nurses when they were rude beyond belief. The one who talked endlessly about what happened. The one who sat and smiled and talked to my sister until she could remember how to talk.
The one who weathered the storm for most of the time without my dad. Because my dad decided not to show up right away. Because my dad was my dad - removed, distant, and angry, as he always is in the face of disaster or peril.
Because he looks down on our female displays of family, of coming together in times of need, of laughing and crying out loud. Because he doesn't know how.
I love my dad. I do. There is no rational reason for it - if we were strangers, I would never give the person my father is a second glance. He is awful to my mom. He is not the best father. He is absent. He is unemployed. He would not be my choice at family if I had one. But for as long as I live, he will be my dad.
And as my sisters and mother were abrupt and stand-offish when he got to the hospital (finally!), I realized something. He is out of his element. He doesn't know how to deal with emergencies. He doesn't know how to be part of a family. And he's learning, slowly, but is that pace fast enough for what our family needs now?
I think that after this latest episode my mom's decision to stay or leave might be accelerated a little, and not in my dad's favour. And for that I feel bad for both of them.
For my mom, because it has been her hope and her perserverance that has saved their marriage so far, and as she lets go, it will be painful for her. She still loves my dad.
And for my dad, for not realizing what a blessing it is to be part of a family. And that every time he has distanced himself from us is one more reason to cut the ties that bind. And that when we're gone, he'll be alone. But we will still have each other and our out loud laughter and tears and our flair for the dramatic and the loud.
And when he finally has the quiet he desires so much, I think he'll miss the noise, because that was the noise of love.