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Three days after my family moved from a suburb of New York City to Miami, Florida (at the time, arguably, another suburb of New York City), on the day that I started eighth grade in my new junior high school, my father was rushed into a hospital ICU, where he would reside for the next two weeks. He was supposed to die, but then he didn’t. Then he was supposed to have a colostomy, but didn’t—thanks to an Armenian gynecologist who noticed an Armenian name among the hospital patients. Even though my father didn’t exactly represent the man’s specialty, the physician jumped in and looked out for my father as if he were a brother. They would be friends for years.
The afternoon my mother told me that my father very likely was dying, she was eerily calm. When, days later, she told me she thought he was going to have a colostomy, a procedure she had to explain to me, she was stoic. When, for reasons I will never know, she kicked her parents out of our house—they’d come to care for me while she stood vigil at the hospital—she was hysterical. The three of them would be estranged for years and I will never know why. I never asked.
A month and a half after being rushed from an emergency room to an ICU, my father came home from the hospital and surprised me one Sunday morning by suggesting we go to church.