Last summer my Dad did a lot of traveling, for biopsy and testing. We knew he had cancer but we were hopeful because some cancers are very curable. Last August our father told my brother and I found out that my Dad was very sick, sicker than we had originally thought.
My Dad smoked for many, many years. He had a bout with cancer when I was nine I don’t know what kind but it was cured. At some point after having quit smoking for ten years he started again. He was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. He would undergo chemo therapy right away and then radiation, he was going to fight this.
I did my research there was no cure, I knew the odds what I didn’t know was how much time we actually had. The boys and I spent as much time with him as we could; I was up visiting 3-4 times a week. Our last outing before he underwent chemo was in August; we had most of the grand kids and went across the river for a wiener roast.
When my Dad went for chemo he was overdosed because his weight had changed so much but what I don’t understand was why his weight wasn’t check again right before, it’s not unusual for cancer patients to lose weight.
He was very sick and I was scared. His other health issues started to bother him and we worried. The whole winter is a blur really. The weather was cold at times and made it impossible to travel up the hill; my parents live up the hill behind us. The boys and I seemed to catch every dang cold or illness to pass through town and with Dad’s weakened immune system we just couldn’t visit. That was hard on me and I felt guilty all the time.
My Dad got progressively worse as the winter went on. He lost weight and lost his easy mobility in his weakened state. He became less engaged and I think he hid the pain his was in from us. My Mom saw it and would tell us and he was on morphine patches. Slowly he became dehydrated and his memory seemed bad some days. It was so hard to see him like this but I figured he still had a long time.
After the last illness in our house I went to see him, he seemed different, older, slower and it was hard to talk to him. But I tried and then he slept, he’d been sleeping a lot at this point.
Thursday morning Mom called to tell me she was coming to pick up my brother and I. She’d asked Dad if he wanted to see us. Mom had kept me informed the day before say that his lungs were slowly starting to fill up with liquid. My Mom told me that it would probably happen very soon. I thought she was over reacting and I was probably in denial.
He was sleeping when we got there and he never woke up all day. We talked to him, told him we loved him and that we would be okay. We held onto his hand. My Mom played him their song and we cried. I went home to tell my boys and as soon as I told them the phone rang. It was my aunt telling me it was soon.
By the time I got there he was gone already. If I’d not stopped and kissed and hugged my boys I would have been there on time. I know though that maybe he didn’t want me there because it would be too hard for me. He had my Mom and my brother, my brother had dropped me off and gone back and was there in time to hold his hand, my Dad had opened his eyes to look at him and then took his last breath.
It’s been 10 days now and I’m still hurting, still missing him. He was the first man I ever loved and will be the man I loved the most. He was a tough man, born of his times spare the rod, spare the child mentality and that does him injustice. He was quite fair, misguided at times but he was human and humans are not perfect. I don’t actually remember him ever spanking me but I’m sure he did at one time but I was a pretty amiable child.He taught me many things over the years and was always worried about my well-being. He came to my rescue so many times over the years, he was the one I always turned to for advice or help, he loved me and I knew it. My life will never the same with out him in it. And I will be a good daughter and remember him and honour him with by continuing to garden.