June 1st: My mom broke the news to one of my sisters and I that Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer sometime in April.
July: He becomes more and more immobile. At one point, he collapses coming inside but manages to keep conscious and crawls over to his chair.
Somewhere at the end of July: Complains of chest pains and is rushed to ER. We think his heart stopped for a moment and his defib implant kicked in.
August 4th: Admitted to hospital for debilitating back pain.
August 5: Bone cancer discovered, hence the lesions on his spine. Radiation treatment starts.
August 15th: He comes home, claiming he "wants to die in his bed instead of in a hospital."
August 16th: I meet the Hospice nurse.
It's been crazy since that night on June 1st. We've had our good moments and our bad, but we've managed. We always have. But coming home on Saturday to hear my mom crying and telling us that my dad was dying wasn't what I expected. I never expected him to come out of the hospital worse, or for his cancer to progress so quickly.
Eventually I found out about his liver cancer, but at the time it didn't have too much effect on me. I was told that the chemo was going very well and that one of his tumors were gone, which shocked his doctor (in a good way). But they only just discovered the bone cancer and there's not much they can do for that, from what I've heard.
It's been hectic here and honestly, I'm exhausted. I woke up this morning and wanted to pretend that everything which happened yesterday was just a nightmare. That my dad would continue to defeat his lung and liver cancer.
But I can't ignore reality. He's dying. We're never going to repair the Jeep together like we planned on, he's never going to see my end of the dance season recital again, and he's never going to see my first child. And that really, really hurts to think about.
It hurts even more to think about my siblings, though. They're younger and God only knows how they're managing. The four year old knows that Dad's dying, but she's morbidly calm about it. Yet I can't stop thinking about the fact that she's going to grow up without her daddy. He won't see her recitals either, and that hurts to think about, because I love her and I wanted that for her. I know how good I felt seeing my dad at my recitals and competitions. But she won't have that anymore.
I keep reminding myself that I can't focus on what we were going to do with him in the future, though. I need to embrace the present and make the most of my final days with him. As much as it hurts to say all that, I can't ignore it or make it anything less. It is what it is. My dad is dying. And I'm going to miss him.
He lived a good, long life which he spent helping those in need, from whistleblowing on a prisoner abuse situation at a prison he worked at to helping those financially in need. And he always did it cheerfully. I hope I'm like that even as I face the uglies of adulthood in the next few years.
And even if he doesn't make it to his 61st birthday and 25th wedding anniversary next month, I know that he'll at least be pain-free. He deserves nothing less.