Imposters: Life and Death

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I lie in bed, in the dark, under the covers, the backlit screen of my phone casting an eerie glow. I am furiously typing or researching what a hip surgery in advanced age looks like. I look at the process, the preoperative parameters, postoperative care and mentally ready myself for all possibilities.

I can do little sitting a continent away from my father in law who is battling pain. The odds are against him successfully surviving the operation. A week after he fell and broke his hip, he is all set to be operated upon.

I wake at odd hours scanning my phone for messages. By the time I receive word that he is out of surgery and conscious, I am too exhausted to even feel relief.

For a week I have been telling myself that all will be well. I have been telling myself he has had a long, well-lived life. I have been telling myself it is okay no matter the outcome. I have been dismissing all of the feelings I have been feeling. The anxiety that has been pressing upon me lifts and I feel sleepy.

I curl up with Laddu and sleep like I have not in days.

Often we dismiss morbid outcomes or treat it with too much reverence. I have been flippant, talking about it in an offhand manner, denying it its weight. As much as the memories from my dad’s final few weeks are fresh in memory, I realize I am not ready to lose another father figure.

As he looks at a week of postoperative recuperation, I will be looking at this as a new lease on life. A reprieve, a chance to do over.

And, I will be praying a lot.

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