My Father Goes into Surgery

Today September 9, my father goes in for another surgery. My stomach feels like it’s spinning through a blender. I cannot think of anything else.

With a warm cup of chai in my hands, I called my mother like I usually do this morning. I was surprised to hear my father’s deep voice greeting me. He explained Ma had gone to the store to get him apple juice. Today was the day of his surgery, I felt anxious about calling him, to say something meaningful.

I couldn’t express what I was feeling.

Instead of saying what I wanted to say, I asked questions. I even asked questions I’ve already asked before, just so I can keep a conversation going. I asked what kind of surgery are you having, Abbu? How do you feel about the surgery? How long is the surgery? What time is the surgery?

I asked questions instead of just saying what I wanted to say.

Maybe I am a little emotionally stunted. I can write a short story about my father, but ask me to say something directly to his face, I become mute. Or worse, I give the phone to my child to talk to my parents instead of me.

My six year old was eating breakfast next to me. She found a background on Google Duo with flying hearts, and heart bubbles. I told her that Nana would have surgery today. She said, “I love you Nana.”


My daughter declared her affection easily and often. My father replied, “I love you” and said he loved me. My father literally said, “I love my daughter. “

The man who raised me is going into surgery. He is the one who taught me to pray. He is the one who taught me about racism. He is brave. He is only one I know who can wait an hour to speak to someone at the IRS. He told me once that he had 1000 clients in his business. He mostly worked 80 hours a week to provide for me and my brother. I’ve never heard him complain about his work.

I relied on an emoji and my 6 year old.

I was unable to say anything at all. All this work I have been trying to do on my soul this past year, and I cannot overcome my own ineptitude to express gratitude.

The truth often pains me to express. There are some things that hurt.

My dad and nani had a difficult relationship. Both experienced loss early in their lives. They both fought hard for the life that they wanted. They were both survivors of poverty, and held high ambition for their lives. My nani was at best indifferent towards my father. And this enraged my father. He expected something else from his mother in law and his expectations were never fulfilled.

I’ve written about my nani here. This might be the first time I write about my dad.

It hurts when someone you love is vilified. I’ve confronted him a few times about his sentiment, and it always results in more anger on both sides. Why do I get involved in something that doesn’t concern me? My mother asks me to ignore him, just like she has. But I cannot let it go.

Perhaps it is a fear that he will not come out of the surgery.

Perhaps it is a crippling worry that something might happen.

The success or failure of the surgery is not something I can control. What I can control is how I feel, and how I regulate my feelings. I can do things on his behalf.

May the Healer heal us all of the invisible wounds we carry, and the visible ailments. My father is an amazing dad and a wonderful grandpa. I pray that he can witness my kids’ college graduation one day iA.

My father at a sculpture garden.
My father enjoys a meal with me on my birthday.

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