What is the saddest thing about your father or mother? by Kathy Thompson
Answer by Kathy Thompson:
My parents married in college. My mother was a nurse and my father joined the air force to become a pilot.
After serving in the Air Force, he became a commercial airline pilot, and eventually captain. Four children, a home they built in a beautiful town, my mother able to work around my dad’s schedule, travel….life was good.
Until my father came home from a trip and told my mother he wanted a divorce. He had been having an affair, and was in love and wanted out.
Two weeks later, he got sick, something very unusual for him. It eventually was diagnosed as malaria that he had picked up on a flight to Africa. He spent about a week in the hospital in our small town in NJ with specialists coming out from NY. Malaria is not very common in New Jersey!
Within a week he was back in the hospital with an acquired staph infection. The doctors debated about antibiotics as he had developed an allergy to penicillin. They hung the new antibiotic on his IV, and he promptly stopped breathing. By the time a tracheostomy was done, he had suffered irreparable brain damage.
He was never able to work again. He could take care of himself physically, suffering mostly short term memory loss with slight physical uncoordination and speech impairment.
He was 47 years old.
He lived to be 86, dying in 2013.
My mother spent 40 years being a responsible caretaker and legal guardian for the man who had wanted to leave her.