the mcdonald clan. circa 2016.
the mcdonald clan. circa 2016.
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.
my family. dad. sister. brother. mom. it’s been a long time since we have all been in the same room, together, sans spouses, kids. in the haunting early hours this morning dad found himself here again: duke university hospital cancer center. turns out the last round of treatment nearly a month ago killed all but a few rogue cells. these cells decided to go on a revenge spree causing dad’s white blood cell count to rise and rise rapidly. after having a meal home together last night with kids and grandkids, he was feeling like he did last time. he was suspicious of the leukemia returning. and it had. we knew it would come back, but not this soon. at least it waited until after family dinner. so here he sits. in a different smaller room, but surrounded by the same tender care and brilliance behind the staff of this cancer center. and there we sat around him. talking about football, long gone family members, home repair dilemmas, who wanted dad’s motorcycle. and then we prayed. barely getting a word out. tears streaming down our cheeks. asking God to heal. to comfort. to get dad out of here. what God does is his perfect will. i know that. i just don’t know when it will unfold.
my dad. as soon as i got off the phone with my mom tonight i found the photo albums shoved in the back of my son’s bedroom closet. i was looking for a photo i know i have seen before of him holding me as an infant. i forever hold that image in my head when i think of him. a dad who holds me close and simply loves me. in my search i couldn’t find that photo, but several others, including the one posted above. a family posing one easter morning in bennington, vermont. (that’s me in the pink three piece suit) my dad on the far left. mom must have taken the photo.
my dad. tonight, i found myself having a repeat conversation with my mom. dad’s in the hospital. again. he’s not a sickly man, but just getting old, i suppose. three years ago it was a brain aneurism. last year it was a quadruple bypass. tonight i hear words like high white blood cell count….leukemia….bone marrow biopsy…chemotherapy. but nothing determined until tests are done. mom passed the phone to my dad and neither of us could get as much as a ‘happy thanksgiving’ muttered. i think we were both trying not to cry. the man that held his infant daughter with such tenderness. i want him here, now.
our GOD who heals, please heal. our GOD who hears, listen. do not let this be what we fear it may be. administer your mercy.