Four years ago this morning, I joined the “single parent” club. Now today I could not help but think back last night as the time drew closer to midnight. We knew around midnight four years ago that it would be the last night for my dad. We knew that his time had finally come, something we hated to think about, hated to acknowledge but unfortunately like many other things in life…we could not change it.
I can still remember walking across the mall area at school, I was a graduating senior…life was almost perfect. I was working on getting a new job and I could not for December to get here so I could graduate! It was about this time of the year actually and then my phone rang. Daddy said doctors were telling him they had found bladder cancer. I remember thinking right then, how would I live with out my daddy? Dad was confident that they could get everything with surgery. So that summer, he went through surgery and then Mom had to learn how to take care of him post-surgery. That was all that was supposed to happen. Doctors were “confident” they had “everything.”
I did not get to see Daddy before, during, or right after surgery. I finished my semester and then I arranged to visit during August. I went up and enjoy a few days of seeing my parents again but I could not help but miss how tired my Daddy looked. He had lost so much weight . I saw them again and this time I brought with me a big surprise, my boyfriend ( and future husband) was going to get to meet my parents (finally).
Fast forward, Dad looked worse and worse but he made it to my college graduation! I was so proud, I caught Daddy’s eye as I walked down after receiving my “diploma.” It made my day for him to see me walk the stage! He was so tired he did not stay, it was a week or so away from Christmas…so I told him I would probably spend the holidays with my boyfriend and visit sometime in the spring.
I remember about a week or two later Daddy called, he said that I needed to prepare myself, this year would be his last Christmas. It was so hard to hear that, inside I hoped he was wrong…but deep down inside I knew he was not. I ran around getting some last minute small presents and I drove the 8hrs to my parents home. It was so hard to “celebrate” but we did our best…it was the FIRST Christmas that my sister and I had been home since we both left for college…it was truly bittersweet.
Dad found out right after the new year the news, stage four bone cancer. He did a few weeks of radiation but he knew it was just buying him time. By the time he went in hospice, I took off work to help my mom and sister. And then on April 25, 0500 Dad was gone.
Today I cannot believe how life has moved on, I do miss him much. Even know as I think back on him tears come to me eyes. But instead of grieving the father I lost four years ago, I focus on the memories I have today. I remember the good times, the smiles, the laughs and the life lessons.
For all of us who have lost a parent, it never gets easier but time does heal! And with every year that passes…a little more of the wound is covered. You may wonder does it ever stop hurting? No I don’t think so because they were part of us, part of what made us who we are today. So no I will never stop hurting but today, Daddy I will say I love and miss you!
Until I see you again, I love you!