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”.