Five years ago next month, I lost my father-in-law. I was married at that time, and he was the glue that held the family together.
Although my (now ex) would complain about him spending all of his free time shut away in his den, and although his marriage was far from perfect, his death shook the family to the core.
After he passed, he became a saint. Nobody would speak ill of him, and everybody only remembered the good. The bad, the faults, all absolved in an instant.
I remember thinking "the only thing that truly washes away our sins is death."
I loved that man. I loved him even more than I love my father. I haven't spoken to my father in about 4 years, and I'm totally ok with that.
However, this week I received a message from one of my cousins who lives near my dad: "Call Grandma, your dad is in the hospital."
I called almost instantly. He's a recovering cancer patient, and had it in his lungs and lymph nodes. When my grandma said 'he's weak, losing weight, having trouble swallowing, hospitalized because he kept falling / couldn't stand / couldn't speak clearly' my heart dropped.
I don't like this man, but apparently I still love my father. I wept, even though I didn't know I still had tears left for this man.
I'm in Las Vegas now for work. 4 hours away from him. I'll be in Arizona for work in 3 weeks and plan on visiting family then. ...but does he have 3 more weeks? If the cancer is back, I'm not so sure...
Grandma says 'everything's fine' and 'he's going to be ok.' But she always says that. Zombies can be at her doorstep, moments from breaking in and eating her alive, and she'd be 'fine.'
I'm torn. What do I do? Drop everything and go visit the man I can't stand, so I can see him one more time before he passes away? Risk going in 3 weeks and him being gone? Should I care?? (I keep asking myself this... my head and my heart are fighting...)
As much of an asshole my dad is, death washes away all sins. I don't know why it does, but it does.