It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.
My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.
At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.
At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.
Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.
I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.
When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.
What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.
‘He took my driver’s license away’
It took me a second or two, then I laughed a bit out of sheer relief.
‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.
It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.
I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.
He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.
In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
My parents on their way to a movie date. Enjoying themselves.