I remember Daddy being sick during the early months of my last pregnancy. I remember having to leave the room when they did x-rays. He'd been on a liquid diet for Thanksgiving and hated it. He wanted a banana Popsicle (my sister can confirm if this was the actual banana Popsicle episode, he was so cute acting like a kid wanting to leave the hospital).
A week or so later there was the surgery that was
suppose to be for Crohn's disease but surprise, surprise, it's cancer.
Doctor actually said "Good news it's not Chron's so he won't have a
painful disease the rest of his life, bad news it's cancer and he'll be
dead in six months". Seriously, He was a dick. That Christmas was
surreal with the idea of how much time he had left, what do we do, how do you fit a lifetime in a few months. Dad did chemo and
all that entails and six months later he was still with us and still
going strong. New babies were born into the family. Life went on and
we all pretended that the cancer was gone.
The next Christmas we
were all so happy that dad was still with us, that the cancer really
was gone, that DR. Dick was an idiot. Then New Years Eve came. Dad
announced that the cancer was back. He'd known for a month. He didn't
want to ruin another Christmas. I remember feeling shattered. This
time he was again given just a few months. Again he did chemo and all
the rounds of meds.
Then June came and he decided to climb the
back of a tractor to cut down some limbs. He was critically injured
when he fell and the tractor rolled over him. He was suppose to be dead
by Father's day. His stubborn heart wouldn't quit beating and he left
the hospital a month later. But now we knew the cancer was everywhere
and not going to stop. Christmas came again and with it the
knowledge that this was it. He was so thin. A walking skeleton. But
what a memory I have of our last meal together - Fried liver (fried pork
chops for those sissies who didn't eat liver), biscuits, fried okra,
and hand mashed potatoes. It was a happy day. I can close my eyes and
see my daughter hug him goodbye, he had a smile on his face and tears in
his eyes. A week later, he was in hospice care. Time was over,
but no one had told his heart. Days were spent in that tiny room
waiting, crying, agonizing over when he'd take his last breath. I
finally left. I was done with waiting on death. A few days after the
beginning of the New Year his body finally figured out that his soul had
left and his heart finally stopped.
This tale started nine
years ago. Nine years have past since I started be paranoid around the
holidays. And here we are again with the holiday season upon us.
Everyone getting ready to enjoy the Season of Good Cheer. And my
mother-in-law just called me asking me about "nodes" and "biopsies" and
waiting on results of CAT scans and MRI's. She has spots on her stomach
and lungs and liver and so we are waiting for results of tests that
haven't even happened yet. I feel like we're all loading onto a roller
coaster and I'm the only one who knows the track is broken and we're all
gonna go right off the edge. I've been on this ride before, I don't
want to get on it again, and yet the crowd keeps pushing me forward.