Someone Special Has Left

This is by far the hardest post I’ve had to make.   I’ve endured many significant losses in my life.  Some of them I’ve posted about here.  But this is by far the toughest.  I’m grasping for words.

I preface this by saying I don’t believe in winning or losing where cancer is concerned nor in all the other multiple platitudes & phrases that go around trying to “pretty up” a rather ugly set of circumstances.

Shortly before my transplant last year, just days before it, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Out of respect for his privacy I didn’t share much about it here but that by no means diminishes the impact he had on my life or what he continued to teach me over the past year plus about life, love, & resilience.

He was a truly special person to many people.

It humbles me to know through people’s sharing the past few days how many people he touched & befriended over the years.

The day after my one-year transplant anniversary he made a choice to start home hospice shortly after.  His chemo regimen changed a month or so before that but it wasn’t as effective as the first. It was giving him more side effects than was helping.

In addition, the cancer got smart & grew in new places.

While I was recovering from my transplant, my dad endured more than 30 rounds of chemo, all the while saying it was “small potatoes” compared to me and my situation no matter how I tried to convince him otherwise.

He left this world on Christmas Eve.

I couldn’t be with him due to trying to recover my lost lung function, continued testing, decreased stamina from anemia (amongst other things), & the risk that travel & stress would impose on both our immune systems.

If either one of us took ill & passed something to the other it could have seriously endangered us both.

It was the hardest decision of my life to stay back but I also knew it was the safest for both of us after speaking with my family & my transplant team at length about it.

However, I did write something to be read at his funeral yesterday.

To protect my family’s privacy I won’t post it here in the blog, but those who knew my dad & follow my blog can contact me privately with an email address & I will send what I wrote.

My dad was by far my biggest supporter & true friend to many in his community.   He was always there when I needed him.

I know this happens at some point in life to all of us,  but one is never really truly prepared for the moment when it becomes reality.

I made a promise that I would continue to take care of myself & intend on keeping that promise to him.

I know this is originally an old Rogers & Hammerstein show tune from the musical “Carousel”, but my dad loved Johnny Cash (as do I).

I happened to be listening to the Unearthed album this week while I was out & about finding it comforting.  I was playing this song quite a few times.

It was just one of a few songs that have brought me comfort as I prepared to say goodbye to a wonderful parent & man I was fortunate enough to call “Pop”.

You’ll Never Walk Alone


6 thoughts on “Someone Special Has Left

  1. I’m truly sorry for your loss Nikki. From your post, it’s apparent your Dad passed along a lot of strength & goodness to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nikki, I am so sorry for your loss as well. I have found, in many transplant recipients, that we view death a bit differently than “normal” people. So, I am sending to you some hugs to warm you, some light to chase away the darkness, some love to comfort your soul. Your dad was clearly a well loved person that positively influenced many, many people. I shall ALWAYS be with you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nikki,

    I’m so sorry for your deep loss. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to be so far away during his final days. I remember meeting your folks nine years ago when you and Jeremy were both hospitalized at NYU. I especially recall how much in awe he was by your courage and strength. His demonstration of his love, pride, and respect for you left a lasting impression on me.
    All the best and please remember we’re always here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My condolences to you. You are going through a lot. I pray that you find comfort and that you will be healed as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so very sorry for your loss. and I’m sorry I didn’t see this before now.
    I lost my father in 2016. I too called him “Pop”.
    you are very right, no matter how prepared you are, it hurts. deeply.
    love to you

    Liked by 1 person

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