The Great Equalizer

The hospital hums with activity, patients wander in and out of the scene. Some are bandaged up, others walk along slowly, dragging their IV towers from place to place.  Some are young, some are old, their stories cloaked behind the social convention that suggests we smile and not ask personal questions.  Their ailments and reasons for being here are left floating in the air, like mystery bubbles.  This place is the great equalizer,where power, prestige, wealth and status matter not.  If you are here wearing hospital pajamas and a gown, you are no better nor worse than anyone else.

Dad has been briefed by the nurses as to what to be prepared for when he emerges from the fog of the anesthetic. He's weak, from not being able to eat solid food for several weeks, pallid, slightly muted, trepidatious. This is foreign territory for him, an undiscovered country in which he's never wandered.   It is completely reasonable to allow him the fear and uncertainty he's obviously feeling.

Our family has traveled home, some from near others from afar.  My sister flew in from Ontario, all of us feeling the need to be close, recognizing a watershed moment in our family's history.  Even if everything goes perfectly, a significant shift has taken place in the rock-solid tectonic plates of our lives.  All of us feel it and in that realization felt compelled to drop everything and come rushing home.

We live disparate lives, for the most part - geographically separated, busy, swept up by the nuances of our individual families. This circumstance, though unfortunate, provides a rare opportunity to reconvene, reconnect, reacquaint.  This was the first gathering of all the siblings in almost half a decade.

While I've identified the hospital as the great equalizer, in truth, it is of something more definitive that I speak.

"Death comes to us all," I said on stage many years ago playing the role of Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons.  "Even for kings he comes."

Death binds, sews us all together with birth, life and love. It is comforting to know that we are not alone.

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