So, here's one. It's from the very beginning of his stroke journey.
My dad was living with his lady friend at the time. In her words, "he moved in after his heart operation [a few years prior to that] and never moved out." He hadn't been feeling well for a few days, and before she left for work that morning, she asked if he'd like her to stay home. He was still groggy from sleep, and he said, no, it was fine.
She was driving away from the house when my dad realized he wasn't fine after all. He pulled on his pants (trousers, for those of you across the Atlantic) without bothering to fasten his belt and went to the door to try to call after her to stop. He shut the door behind him so the dog wouldn't get out . . . and the door locked behind him. On the tail end of his belt.
He couldn't get the belt out of the door. He couldn't get back in the house to telephone for help. He was having a stroke and was losing his coordination and ability to think.
With much fumbling, he managed to step out of his pants and work his belt out of the loops, then put his pants back on. Luckily, his car was in the yard and the keys were in it. (Oh, how many times we had appealed to him to take his keys out of his vehicle! Once he had all his mechanic tools stolen from our front yard because of this, but that's another story.)
Anyway, he got himself into the car and drove to his buddy's house a couple of miles away. By the time he got there, all he could do was lean on the horn until his friend came to his door to see what the noise was.
From there, his buddy took him to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, which was a fifteen-minute highway drive.
My dad told me this story as he lay on the stretcher in the ER. He could see the humour in the situation, perhaps because he didn't realize yet how serious his condition was. Being similarly unaware, I thought it was funny, too.
At the time.
So much for recording the funny moments, because now I'm having trouble seeing the joke. Now it just makes my heart ache.
But it also makes me marvel at the human spirit, and think about the part that luck plays in our lives.
Dad's drive to survive allowed him to overcome several dilemmas and get to his buddy's house, even though his brain wasn't working properly.
He was unlucky to have had a stroke to start with, but he was lucky to only gradually lose his muscle control. He was lucky his keys were in the ignition. He was lucky he didn't go off the road or hit another vehicle. He was lucky his friend was home.
And I was lucky, too -- to have him around for another eight years, to talk to, to help care for, to learn family history from, to be a bridge to closer relationships with some of my relatives on his side of the family, to laugh with and cry with, to share memories with, to share the making of new memories with (a marriage and the births of two great-grandchildren) . . . and to love.
Some day soon, I'll tell you another story, which I hope turns out to still be funny when I write it. It involves chocolate, so that's a point in its favour right there.
If there a lesson in today's story, I think it would be this:
If everything seems too much, just look for the next step to take . . . and take it. Then the next step. And so on. You can do more than you think you can.
Have a good weekend, my friends.