I peered over at my dad sitting in his chair. Something was wrong. He did not look normal. His face was pale and his eyes were fixated on the ceiling.
I rose from my chair and walked over to check on my dad. I asked him if he felt alright. He was sweating by now. He answered no.
He was somewhat feeble-minded as I continued asking questions to figure out what was wrong. My mom was with us but had not noticed anything.
Something had happened and I did not know what
I pulled out my phone and dialed 911. I let my parents know the paramedics were on the way and prepared for their arrival.
I heard the sirens a few minutes later. The EMTs quickly diagnosed my dad. Something was definitely wrong. His heart rate was extremely low.
They decided to take him to the emergency room. It was a good decision. My dad needed a pacemaker. His heart was not functioning properly.
Why I wrote this billboard
Almost all the circumstances surrounding the day my dad had his stroke were normal. My parents and I were doing what we usually do when I visit.
I brought food. We ate. We were watching television. My dad and I were smoking cigars. But, one key thing was different.
I was not supposed to be there
It was a Saturday afternoon in March 2018. I do not normally visit them on Saturdays. It was an odd thing that I was there with them.
The reason I visited was my old girlfriend and I had broken up the night before. I was not doing well. In fact, I was kind of feeling sorry for myself.
I decided to visit my parents who both love me unconditionally. Figured it would help me feel better.
The odds of me being there were slim at best
I do not know how to calculate the odds that I would visit my parents on a random Saturday afternoon. Much less, the day that my dad had a stroke.
I do not believe it was random luck or mere coincidence. No — I believe I was there at the exact right time to notice that my dad needed help.
I did what any child would do — I picked up the phone and called for help.
I do not know what would have happened
After this incident, I asked myself a difficult question. What would have happened if I was not there? My brother and I also talked about this topic.
It is hard to say. My dad might have died. I am not saying that I saved my dad’s life. I didn’t.
All I am saying is that it is a good thing I was visiting my parents when it happened. The timing was perfect. Makes you wonder.
How I incorporated this billboard into my life
Nowadays I try to pay more attention to what is happening around me.
Just so it is clear, I don’t walk around the world looking for emergencies that need my attention. I am not Superman.
Rather I maintain better situational awareness. Especially if I run into someone I know in a place that is different than normal.
I have a feeling that I missed several opportunities to help others simply because I was unaware. It is easy for me to retreat into my own shell and become oblivious to what is happening around me. I think many of us do.
What about you?
Are you paying attention to your own world? Do you take notice of who you are interacting with?
I challenge you to ask yourself a new question the next time you cross paths with someone unexpectedly. Ask — why am I seeing this person today?
In other words — why am I here right now?
You never know — it could be for a specific reason that only you can fulfill.
I do not believe in coincidence. Pay attention to timing. It is not random
I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.