I picked up my small, white styrofoam cup and took a sip of coffee as I watched my dad sleep. He slowly started opening his eyes, so I set down my coffee and went over to his bedside.
With a big goofy grin he said, “Ohhh hi. What are you doing here?”
I said, “Well, I’m here to visit you papa bear. Do you know where you are?”
He shook his head no and I said, “You’re in the hospital. You’re safe and you’ll be okay.”
“Ohhh boy, I hope so.”
I went onto explain that mom would arrive later in the day and that I’d be hanging out with him. His eyelids started getting heavy and I asked, “Do you want to snooze a little bit more?”
And he said, “Yeah I think so.”
On Saturday morning my step-dad, Mahlon, had a significant stroke and was airlifted from my parents home in Red Bluff to Chico, CA. For the last six days he’s been recovering at Enloe, an amazing local hospital. I’m incredibly impressed by the doctors, nurses, and staff. Everyone has been helpful, kind, and patient.
I mentioned in this week’s letter that life can change in an instant, for the good or bad. Even though the week has been incredible difficult, I’m grateful.
In my experience, I’ve found that I’m happier when I practice gratitude. This morning I wrote down a long list of things for which I am grateful. Here’s part of that list:
I’m grateful for modern medicine.
I’m grateful for the first responders who arrived at my parents house early Saturday morning and the helicopter pilot who got my dad to the hospital in 11 minutes.
I’m grateful for my parents car. It’s gotten us to and from the hospital safely and quickly.
I’m grateful for the nurse who asked if I needed anything this morning. I told her I’d love a cup of coffee, but didn’t want to leave my dad and she brought me a cup of coffee with cream and sugar.
I’m grateful for my dad’s big goofy grin and clear voice. Today is the first day that he’s been able to speak clearly and that’s a really good sign.
I’m grateful for my family, friends, and for all of you too. I’ve received a lot of reader emails wishing my dad well. Thank you.
Micro-action: Take a half hour out of your day to create a gratitude list.