Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Standing By Strangers

Every once in a while, someone posts a comment on my Dad's blog.  Normally though they're just spam, but today I got a post that literally broke my heart.  I've been thinking about Dad a lot lately, being reminded of him in the whispers of life, but this was more of a slap in the face (and not in a bad way).  We're coming up on two years, you know?  That just seems unbelievable.  I honestly think that the more time passes, the more I miss him, the harder it is to imagine he's gone.  Maybe I never really dealt.  Maybe I just avoided and put off the pain.  Either way, a loss is a loss is a loss.

Here's what Jeanette wrote to me on the his blog:

"You probably weren't thinking this blog would ever get checked again but I wanted to say thanks to you, your mother, and your father for sharing your journey. My father was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer 4 days ago and I'm learning everything I can, everywhere I can.  Some people prefer ignorance.  For myself, if this disease is going to take my father, I am going to know every last stinking detail about it and read every story I can.  Your father was a special man.  God Bless all of you.  Jeanette"

And here is what I felt compelled to write to her.  I hope you, as my friends and confidantes, will keep Jeanette and her father in your prayers.  It is not an experience I would wish on anyone. 

I’d like to say that I can’t imagine the horror you must be feeling right now, but I still vividly remember the day my Dad told me he had cancer.  I was at lunch with a pseudo-friend, someone I knew but wouldn’t necessarily lean on.  Seeing as my Dad rarely called, I simply had to answer.  I could tell immediately that something was wrong.  Dad certainly tried to cover his pain and confusion with a few light hearted jokes and heavy sarcasm, but it wasn’t working.  At first we had no idea how serious it was.  They didn’t even know what type of cancer he had, but they were thinking it might have been lung. 

He went to see the radiologist on the same day my husband and I were scheduled to find out the sex of our baby.  I can’t tell you how surreal it was to walk into the Radiology Department knowing that I was getting good news and he was getting bad.  A few hours later, he called to tell me that it was Stage 4 Renal Cell Cancer.  I didn’t even know what a renal cell was, much less that it would take my Dad away from me.

Dad lived for just over three years post diagnosis, and I was there was the last 5 weeks.  If you’d like you can go to my blog, www.hillsofchaos.blogspot.com, click on Dad under the Tags, and follow along my journey.  I didn’t even start blogging until that February 08, just a couple months before he passed, but I chronicled my time with him up until the end.  I don’t know if it will bring your solace or not. 

I would also suggest befriending Manual Lopez on Facebook.  He is a warrior in this great battle and was a good friend of my Dad’s though they never actually met.  There is a great network of people out there waiting to support you and your Dad.  Please let me know if you need anything.


Sometimes we're called to embrace strangers, to stand together, to support one another, to lift one another up.  Who needs you today?  Who could use a hug?  Or a prayer?  Or a hot cup of coffee?  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hillary, April 15 is closing in. Your Dad is always in my thoughts. My father is still alive. He's 79 and as full of piss and vinegar as Daved was. Thank you for mentioning my name. When we think we don't count someone does something as simple as mentioning your name.