When I was a child, I used to laugh at all of the kids complaining about the generation gap between them and their parents -- my father is older than most of their grandparents. While some of my peers grew up hearing war stories about Vietnam, the ones I heard were decidedly different. You see, my father's eighty-eigth birthday is in a few months. He took time off from college to fight in World War Two.
Now, however, he's in the hospital. About an hour and a half ago, I found out the results of the latest tests. Simply put, my father is suffering from progressive heart failure.
When my mom told me this, I didn't know what to say. I've always known that Dad was old. Frankly, it's been rather hard to miss... but he's always been so energetic, so healthy, that the natural implication never really settled in, emotionally speaking.
Now, though... I keep thinking back on the times we spent together, what Dad has always meant to me. He isn't perfect. He's human. But... he's my father. I love him.
Mom didn't need to tell me what the doctors said about prognosis and the like. I know damned well just what the diagnosis means... especially to someone his age. Fortunately, they caught things relatively early on and think that they can do a number of things to help.
I want to go visit him, but I don't want him to see what this news has done to me. I know I won't be able to completely hide things from him, but I can certainly try to compose myself and do it... and if I didn't try, I know that I'd never forgive myself.
I'll be doing exactly that in a few minutes.
It's things like this that make me laugh at the fools who say that autistic people don't have emotions or can't care for other people. It's harder to find a more baseless stereotype... but it keeps perpetuating anyway. I'd normally try to find some sort of witty retort or other statement, but, frankly... I'm not in the mood. I have a visit to make.