You miss your wife and daughter terribly.
It's late at night. Your apartment feels cavernously empty. The silence seems to echo off the brick walls and reverberate noiselessly. How is that possible? The TV hums in the background. You sigh heavily and, as you gaze upon a photo of your wife and daughter, you pour yourself another scotch.
Things changed so quickly. Only a week ago, you and your family awoke to one of those beautiful spring mornings in Manhattan, the kind of morning that always rekindles your unabated love for this city. Your daughter is practically bursting at the seams with excitement. "Isn't it a beautiful day, guys? When you pick me up today, let's all go to the park for a picnic. Hooray! Picnics!" You and your wife smile and laugh at your daughter's unbridled enthusiasm. Together, all three of you walk out of your apartment building. Rays of golden sunshine warm your faces.
Three hours later, you leave the office briefly to get another dose of that midtown sun. You chat amiably with the Pakistani newstand owner downstairs as the two of you share a cigarette. You both agree that it really is a beautiful day. Despite your yearning to flee from work and enjoy the outdoors, you return upstairs to your office.
Immediately as you walk in, your co-worker runs up to you. "Call your wife. It's an emergency."
In the seconds that it takes for you to dial her number, your mind races. Since your wife is the one calling, you assume that nothing bad has happened to her. What else would constitute an emergency? Has something happened to your daughter? Your heart is racing.
When your wife answers, all you hear are the anguished sounds of her sobbing uncontrollably. Between choking sobs and gulps of air, you hear only isolated words. Father. Liver cancer. Inoperable. Tumor. 8 cm.
Your gut wrenches. A sickening feeling falls into the pit of your stomach. For some strange reason, you're reminded of that tragic morning of 9/11. Another beautiful day that started out with so much promise yet ended with so much pain.
The next 24 hours are a dizzying combination of activity and emotion. Phone calls are made. Tears are shed. Sympathies are laid bare. You learn that everyone reacts differently in these situations.
We all do what we have to in order to get by.
Your wife decides to get on a plane immediately so she can see her ailing father. You agree that it will be easier for everyone if you and your daughter stay at home. You both think you have it all figured out. However, when you telephone your mother-in-law to inform her of the news, she pauses for a moment and then tells you that it's great that your wife is coming to see them. However, the doctor said that her husband needs to enjoy life as much as possible now. Things might get worse soon. That being said, your mother-in-law tells you, do you think the Peanut could come to Texas also? Nothing would make him happier.
You and your wife look at each other and agree wholeheartedly. Knowing how much joy can come from being around a fun-loving toddler, you both know that this is one of the best (and only) things that you can do for her father right now. You also know it's hard to cry when you're laughing so hard. And one thing your daughter does do is provide lots of laughter.
So as you sit alone in your apartment missing your family and thoroughly depressed over your father-in-law's illness, you decide to watch some videos that you took last week. In one, your daughter is demonstrating how if mom and dad will not give her a baby sister, she will make one by herself. And as you sit there with tears in your eyes, you cannot help but start laughing again.
It's true. Laughter really is the best medicine.
We love you, Dad, and we're thinking about you all the time.