Tag Archives: cancer sucks



goodbye, dad.  i cannot fathom the fact that i will not see you again here on earth. never again.  how does someone live their life after death? my poor mother.

it was what i feared. i was awoken by my phone ringing at 1:56 am this morning.  “mom’s cell,” the phone lit up. i knew what she was about to say.  the words a mother never wants to tell her children. he passed away. and with that my life has changed drastically.  i will never see him again.  how could i sleep after that?  i lay there in bed trying to think of every memory i have of him. praise GOD there are too many to count.  the few photos i have of him, shown above, do not pale in comparison to the amount of memories i have of this kind, quiet, humble man.  a true servant of Christ.

he’s gone.

goodbye, dad.  i know i will see you again.

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my dad is under hospice care at the hospital. it is time. oh, to hold his hand one last time!  but soon he will be holding the hands of our savior and how much more do i wish that upon him than anything.

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my dad is dying. i hate that sentence. i hate that i am actually mouthing these words to people who ask how he is doing. my dad is dying.  mom wrote today to say they think it won’t be long now. here is am, an icy 600 miles away from them and am bawling like a baby. a baby girl who wants her daddy. my dad is dying.  soon we will be eternities apart.  this is it.  what i have been screaming and begging for not to happen.

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wednesday night. i’m too lazy or exhausted to cook so i offered to go pick up dinner if i didn’t have to prepare the meal.  sometimes you just don’t want to do anything. this tired teacher is on vacation, my son too. we have been staying home mostly vegging out in front of the tv or video console. we ventured out each day for a target run or dunkin donut’s coolatta.  everyone has been asking if we would go visit my parents in virginia.  to be honest i don’t really want to.  i want this: to stay home and veg with my son. i feel like i have been living in a state of sadness and stress and faith for the last three/four months that i just want to collapse.  i want to lie under the covers binge watching grey’s anatomy. and not feel guilty about it.  tonight, though, my mom emailed me saying dad was not doing well. something about vomitting, sleeping too much and white blood cell count rising. and then the guilt creeps up. i wish i was there. i wish he wasn’t so far away. i want him to know that i do not love him any less because i chose to stay home during vacation. maybe it was selfish of me. to hoard my free time to myself. maybe the get well card we sign and send him will help. i doubt it.

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death is sad. a warm wet mess. showing no regard, snow falls again. i fear the collapse of my roof as more snow piles on. i fear the freezing of pipes as temperatures dwindle to below zero. below comfortable.  i fear my car not starting in the morning. i fear icicles falling dangerously close.   i’m failing to see the beauty in this.  three people, that i know, died last week. three. one of them was the mother of a close friend.  i remember standing in the back of the church on a summer sunday crying with my friend as she told me her mother had breast cancer.  today we mourned her losing that battle. i sat there next to my husband in a tiny new hampshire church crying. why? i barely knew the woman. i met her a handful of times. grateful for those, sure, but i didn’t really know her. but i grieved. for her, and her daughter, and family and friends. all of us gathered in that church suffering from the shared disease of sadness.   i also could not help think that this might be happening again soon, to me. to our family. i would be standing up there reading the twenty third psalm. my husband giving an eulogy. the congregation singing dad’s favorite hymns.  people telling funny stories of dad as a teenager.  people weeping over ‘our’ loss.  when i was with my mom last she was talking about dad’s funeral. i wanted to block my ears.  this is NOT going to happen.   it is too sad.  yes, we rejoice as these people wander onto eternity’s shores, beholding the face of jesus. but it is sad.  a deep ache and bitter taste takes root within me.

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more snow. moving to warmer climates seems more appealing with each new foot of snow that falls. moving closer to mom and dad. i have school vacation coming up in a week and people are asking if i am going down to visit dad again.  to be honest i don’t know if i want to.  but i am torn. maybe i’ll just pack up my son and car and drive. a friend (whose dad passed away last year) encouraged me to spend every available moment with dad. every moment that i have left.  i want to. i just wish we didn’t live so far apart.

this past week two people, that i knew, passed away. to cancer. my facebook wall was flooded with comments of sympathy for the family members. i added my condolences wondering how soon this will be me. how soon will it by my turn to receive condolences and sympathy, to post an obituary, to post a photo in memoriam.  i believe God has a plan. he is in control of the plan. i know that plan includes life and death. i know that even though i am begging for a miracle, i am bracing for that phone call from mom.  the waiting is horrible. the unknown. the indefinite.  maybe one day i can flood facebook with shouts of praise!

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here is my dad. bible in hand. mask on. heart alive. we’ve been here in virginia with my parents for four days now and dad has been home.  yesterday he was feeling weak, but managed to still tinker and putter around the house. it seemed like there is always something for him to do: watch college basketball, fix the tire on his motorcycle, find something in the filing cabinet for mom, rest, live. and here he is on a sunday morning bringing testimony of what God is doing in his life.  the tiny congregation of this church love dad (and mom). they even printed a ‘welcome home’ sign for him and hung it up on the back wall.  they cry with me and pray with me and, too, expect something big.

dad realistically has a few months left.  i cannot think about that. i cannot imagine life on earth without him. and i wonder what he is honestly thinking and feeling.  what is it like to live knowing you may die soon?  is he tired of living in this emotionally painful state of mind? what is it like to live with a cancer that is slowly destroying you?  what is it like to wake up each morning, knowing you have another day, but it is one day closer to the end.  the end.  it is looming.  not quite clearly seen, but you feel it near.

dad seems pretty healthy, though, and his normal self this week.  what a blessing to have him home. a lot of hand washing and air hugs.  he is very susceptible to infection. every time someone sniffled or sneezed we all held our breath and said a short prayer that it wouldn’t sicken dad. but he is not normal.  he has cancer. a horrible cancer. a monster eating away at him. to help fight back dad is armored with a stockpile of drugs. they come in every color known. and the amount he has to take, and how many times a day, is mind blowing. for the last two weeks the drugs have worked, in keeping him alive.

will i be witness to God’s power?  can God hear and be moved by the prayers of hundreds of faithful believers?  maybe. maybe not. the look in dad’s eye that i caught once or twice was that of exhaustion. not defeat. but being done. he’s tired of the cancer beating on him.   maybe he’s asking God to bring him home.  this has been quite the wrestling, the struggle, the testing of faith and patience. if for me, then how much more for my dad?  so we wait.  and wait. and pray.

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sunrise from yesterday morning. the clouds are on fire!  ablaze with God’s mercy. i barely slept a wink (and binge watching the show parenthood until 2:30am didn’t help) praying constantly that dad make it through the night.  he did.  it turns out his white blood cell count was skyrocketing and dad’s doctor urged him to call family and say good bye. they gave him a strong drug, as well as the experimental drug and waited. dad wasn’t in pain, and actually slept that night. my mother by his side every minute. the next morning it showed this white blood cell count had actually dropped. not to normal range, but … wow … they dropped!  a miracle that i ask is just the first of many.  dad made it through the night. dad is feeling well today!

when i was a kid my small bedroom had a walk in closet, at one point, that was a comfy place to hide. my mom used this walk in closet for her own clothes.  one day i must have been snooping around because in a cupboard in the closet i found a shoebox of letters handwritten by my dad to my mom.  the letters were written when they in high school and dating. just about every envelope was inscribed with the acronym ‘s.w.a.k.’ – sealed with a kiss.  i admit i read a few letters and it felt like i was spying on two teenagers awkwardly playing out their relationship. i was reminded of that box of love letters today. thinking about my mom watching her boyfriend, turned husband, turned lifelong partner knock on death’s door.  in the last two months i have watched her hug and hold my dad in the hospital bed. her tender love. her tearful prayers. her gentle kisses. no kid wants to see their parents’ public displays of affection, but i relished it.  i wanted that in my own marriage. i was watching two people truly in love.

my prayer is for my mom today. that she is spared from seeing the man she loves fade away.  not now. let it be thirty years from now.  i pray their love is ever more undying. unbreakable.

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This photo was taken over a month ago when dad was undergoing first round of chemo. My brother had just shaved his head. An obvious sign of cancer. The last few days have been an intense, get-me-off-now, emotional roller coaster. One day there seemed to be little hope, yesterday good news. Today my dad calls me in tears. Tears. How can a daughter handle that? Her dad crying not knowing what not say. Good bye? Don’t let this be your final good bye. Dad asked me to pray that he remain comfortable tonight.  In the morning they may try new drug. I’m praying there are a hundred new mornings for him and then some. image

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arise sunshine. warm us. entertain us. grow us. change us. heal us. i talked with mom yesterday and she said, “one day at a time.” what a way to live where every day is new. a gift, really. a day to live or die.  dad’s cancer is back.  in fact it never left. it is still ravaging his blood.  the intense chemo failed its mission. so now we wait. again. questioning if this experimental drug will work.  questioning God: “what is going on!??!!??!!”  as the sun rises this morning i think of my dad who awakens to a new day.  he is alive.  but for how much longer?  will we see the mighty, merciful hand of God at play? dad is going home tomorrow to try and live in the comfort of his home with his wife.  each day is a gift.  please, God, let my dad be gifted with thousands of more  days.

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