May has arrived! Spring is here to stay! Or Level 1 of summer for those of us in the South. 90’s this week? Sheesh! The pros? My vitamin D levels should be on the up and up starting now. The cons? April showers brought May….sobs. While Cinco and the Kentucky Derby festivities took my friends to Tequila Town and Mint Julep Junction, my own weekend was dubbed as Cryo de Mayo (should I trademark this? JK…sort of). It was unexpected emotion, but that’s grief in a nutshell.
The year of firsts continue and this time last year, my dad made the brave decision to get his first amputation. As previously stated, an infection led him to choose a below knee amputation, mid-calf, on his left leg. It was scheduled for Friday, May 5th. The night before the surgery, we had a lot of laughs. Most would think in poor taste, but that’s how this Frost family knows how to cope. Dad was saying how hard he’s worked in his life, but always comes up a foot short (Ba dum bum – he was proud of that one!). I asked if he’d like us to talk about our favorite memories with his leg, a last memorial to it. While he thought that strange, I proved him wrong by reminiscing of our games of kickball in the backyard, Cedar Point trips, and years of beach walks. We finished the night together and with my sister Kelsey giving him a haircut. Laughing.
Surgery day arrived and It was looooong. Dad was bumped to last on the surgery schedule. Think about waiting all damn day knowing you were losing a limb as you watched everyone else go back to the operating room and coming back “whole”. He didn’t talk much, l can’t imagine how scary that must feel. But he was brave as the dr initialed the leg he’d lose. Before he went to the OR, I let him know that next Cinco de Mayo would be spent doing something much more fun and with way more tacos. I watched my hero finally be wheeled back. So stoic, ready for the battle he didn’t know he was about to be up against. And I cried. HARD. Much like I have this weekend.
He handled it like a champ and I spent the night at the hospital with him so that my mom could have a break. I remember our conversation so vividly and I’ll never forget his words after I told him how proud I was of his decision:
You know I still have a knee to bounce those grandkids on…
In those moments he STILL wasn’t thinking of himself! He was thinking of his future family. Us. It was amazing.
And this is when I find that there is still more to grieve. This week I have cried for the future that he won’t get to experience alongside us. For the tacos we didn’t get to share. For the margaritas and the laughs had by others and their dads on that beautiful May Day. The memory of his perseverance, his positive attitude, makes the loss feel so much bigger most days. He went through it all to end up knowing that the fight wasn’t in our favor. He went to the dr on a Thursday morning and six months later, lost his life to that same infection.
This very infection and disease is the reason I will be walking in the Atlanta Kidney Walk for Team Frost Strong. I want Dad to know we will never forget his struggle, though he disguised it well. We walk for those who can’t and hope to give a better outcome and brighter future to someone else, whether it’s through funds or education. Helping just one person would make it worth it.
So what’s the point, you ask? Why the sobs? Because in my head on May 5th, 2017, this week in 2018 looked a LOT different. Dad and his bionic leg would be strolling up to La Parilla and watching the Derby to see if his horse won. And it probably would have. And we’d hear about it forever. We talked and planned for events that will now happen in the future and that loss will be felt brand new every time.
So yes, I had a Cryo de Mayo. And I know that will lead to some June Blues and some July Boohoos. Its all par for the course and on the calendar. And coming up next on the calendar? Tacos. 😉