Last week we found out my Dad has Stage 4 cancer. When we discovered how severe things were, I felt all the feelings. Shock, anger, heartbreak, more anger, more shock, heartbreak so intense it felt like I couldn’t breathe. Like someone was sitting on my chest and refused to get up.
Conceptually, I knew my parents would die one day. Cycle of life and all that. But now that we're facing it, I feel so lost. So helpless. So utterly sad. Sad for the grandchildren, sad for us kids, sad for my mom and so, so sad for my dad who has always found a way to fix every broken thing in his life. Everything except this. If only duct tape cured cancer.
And yet, my brain knows I’m lucky. Lucky to have had him this long — many people aren’t as fortunate. Lucky to have the time to tell him how much he means to me. Lucky to have a dad that loves us so much and shows it so frequently. Lucky that we have a chance to lengthen his life and ease his discomfort.
But I don’t feel lucky. Not much at least. I’m still angry — at who or what I can’t say — but it’s dissipating some as we start to come to terms with all of this. I feel scared. Scared for my Dad. Scared of what he’ll have to endure and whether he’ll be ready to leave this world when the time comes. Scared that he’ll be scared.
Mostly though, I’m just sad. So sad for all the moments we’ve had and all the moments we won’t have. The memories come when I’m alone with my own thoughts. Playing tennis, learning how to drive, the flowers he brought me on my first mother’s day. And then the sobs. And the anger. And the fear. And the sadness.
But in those moments, after the hot tears roll down my face, I do feel grateful. So grateful that, at least for now, I can run over to my parents’ house and give him a hug and tell him I love him.