After a nice dinner out with some friends of ours, I come home to find my brother's number on the caller ID. My mother has been in Albany Memorial for the last two days.

She woke up with a stomachache that turned into a splitting pain by midday. After consulting the doctor, they decided to go up to the hospital, where they put her under the knife in short order to remove her gall bladder. That would have been all well and good, had they sutured her properly. Instead, she lost a lot of blood, and her pressure went through the floor. The doctors now seem to have the bleeding under control, and she's starting to make her recovery.

The promptness of this news is endemic of the communications between myself and my family. My parents are under the belief that the family doesn't need to know about family emergencies (they didn't tell me that my grandmother had died until three days later, but that is quite another story). And while I should feel pissed about this breakdown in communication, instead I find myself terrified.

I've had quite enough to facing mortality with the death of my grandfather last January. The last thing that I want to think about is the eventual passing of my parents, and this has been thrust into my mind. In talking on the phone with my father last night, I could sense the way he has become ever so slightly unglued by the sight of his wife, pale in the hospital. I thought about how I would feel, seeing my wife in a similar situation, and I realized that I would feel the same breakdown that he does. Sitting in darkened living rooms, drinking cheap beer in the recliner and silently screaming.

I had a hard time getting to sleep. These thoughts were constantly assaulting me, driving more and more terror into my heart. I hate the inevitability of it all.

Postscript - I just talked to my mother a few minutes ago, and while she sounds utterly exhausted, she was in good spirits. The doctors are slowly starting to strip her of her mechanical gadgets, and they're hoping for a quick recovery. I made a point of telling her how much I love her.