Long trip helps drive important message home

Published 8:52 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nothing like age and circumstances to remind us that we aren’t invincible and that no one is guaranteed even one more day on this Earth.
Those were the thoughts running through my head earlier this week as I made the nearly eight-hour drive from southwest Michigan to my hometown of Ashland, Kentucky. Although I have made this trip many times over the past three years, never have I done so under the same circumstances.
It started a couple hours before bedtime Monday evening with a call from my mom. I could quickly tell from her voice that call wasn’t just to chat. She was clearly trying to be strong but the cracks were still coming through.
Although the news could have certainly been worse, hearing that my 64-year-old father — a cancer survivor who has never bounced back from the chemo and radiation he had a few years ago — was in the hospital with pneumonia gave me a harsh wake up call.
It didn’t take me too much time to decide I wasn’t going to leave anything to fate.
The drive was long but I honestly came away more exhausted emotionally than anything else.
Still, the look in his eyes when I walked though those doors made it all worth it.
We spent several hours catching up, joking and talking about anything but the white elephant in the room. Eventually we talked about his health, how he got there and where he wants to go with it.
I am happy to say he is out of the hospital now, although he essentially checked himself out and should have stayed longer. Hopefully that same stubbornness will be an asset to help him overcome these health challenges and others that may arise from the pending tests.
I spent another day or two helping him get back on his feet, with an eye on the future, before getting in the car to head north.
In the end, the many hours in the car were nothing compared to the precious minutes spent with Dad.

Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at mike.caldwell@leaderpub.com.