Seven Months

Seven Months

It’s been seven months.

Seven months since this fucking virus locked the doors of the nursing home.

Seven months since I’ve seen my father for more than the occasional FaceTime call (something I’m forever grateful to his nurse for setting up for us.)

At long last, the VA hosted a conference call to tell the loved ones some new rules, however strict, to let us see our family members. I called, I got on the list, and I went today. I knew I couldn’t hug him, but at least I could get eyes on him. At least I could talk to him.

The years since his stroke in 2013 leading up to today? I never missed a week. I promised my mother before she passed on in 2016 that I’d look after him. I made sure I was there every week, every Father’s Day, every holiday, and especially his birthday. I swore he’d never feel alone. He’s not my biological father, but he’s the only one I’ve ever known.

I know, I know. This virus wasn’t my fault. The lockdown wasn’t my fault. But I still feel like I failed. Today was going to be a breakthrough for me. I’d be back with my daddy!

If I cry, don’t tell anyone.

There was an outbreak in the assisted living part of the complex — staff and residents both. My father isn’t in that part, but they locked down the whole thing, retested vets and staff alike, and shut down all face-to-face visitation without letting anyone know.

I saw him, but I could only do it through the window.

Don’t judge me — I’m extremely grateful for today, but yeah, I’m whining a little. It’s just hard, because my dad is almost deaf, so having to struggle to hear me through a cell phone was tough. He did smile, and wave, and tell me he loved me, which lifted my spirits tremendously … but that damn pane of glass, the specter of the virus … I’ve never felt so relieved, so angry, so helpless, and so fucking heartbroken all at once.

I love you so much, Daddy. I really hope you don’t think I’m a bad kid for not coming in. It’s not my fault.

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