I waited impatiently for the phone to ring. And when it finally did my mother’s somber voice didn’t prepare me. Even when something is anticipatory it still comes as a f-cking shock.
My dad had gone in for an MRI of his brain. Everyone told us it was probably nothing. We expected his cognitive issues were because of adjustments in his medications. I was driving to the grocery store during the time of his appointment. And started thinking: I need a sign. I don’t feel right. It’s gonna be okay. It’s the medications. I dunno though, what if it’s not. I just need a sign. Please God give me a sign. The car in front of me brought me back to reality because they were driving 10 MPH under the speed limit. I caught the license plate: DUEPRAY. Oh my god, due pray, like do pray. I should be praying right now! I grabbed my rosary that hangs over my rear-view mirror and began reciting the Lords Prayer. Then, a bird flew past my windshield. A little bird in slow motion. I’m actually surprised I didn’t kill the bird… that’s how close it flew.
When I got home my phone finally rang.
“Well? What did they say?” I asked. A PET scan a couple of months earlier showed no signs of anything. We’re talking about cancer, there were no signs of cancer.
“It’s not good Georgia.” My mom was matter of fact. She even said my name.
“Okay, what is it?”
“It’s in his brain,” she stated.
“No it’s not… wait are you kidding me?”
“Are you JOKING me!?” I belted. I seriously couldn’t believe it.
“No, I’m not kidding you. They found approximately 20 lesions or tumors in his brain,” her voice got soft and broke. I heard sniffles through the phone and could only imagine the amount of tears trickling down her face.
“Ohhhh f-ck.” Then silence. “Mom, are you driving?”
“No, not yet, we are walking out to the car.”
“Okay, well just drive home. I’ll call the siblings… I love you mom.” Then, I hung up.
I was holding McKinley screaming out loud Oh God, Oh God! while sobbing and trying to call my sister and brother. I’m crying now. It’s everywhere in his brain. And time is running out. Precious time with my daddy. Precious time for McKinley with her Papa.
This might sound strange, but in my mind I’ve always known my dad was going to die. Duh, the life cycle. It’s something we know to be fact, yet believe we are invincible. When he first was diagnosed, the thought changed to- my dad is dying. And now that his death is upon us, the thought has reverted back to: my dad is going to die. Really Soon. It’s not that I didn’t foresee the cancer spreading, I did. Just not this quickly. I wasn’t ready.
How am I doing? Terrible. I know it may be social protocol, but it’s really a strange question to ask. In my opinion. Different people have told me to be strong, but what does that really mean? What is it to be weak during your father’s death? And, why is it a bad thing? I understand they are words of encouragement and sympathy and it helps. The truth is, I’m not sure I can be strong. I only hope that someway somehow my father’s voice will ring loud inside me and the words and strength will flow effortlessly.
So, we are preparing for the end. With hospice. An anticipatory grief (counseling term). A milestone. A really f-cking hard milestone. Living with and caring for: a parent, a hero, a friend, teacher, and advocate, someone you look up to, depend on, and someone you love deeply. Your father.
Early in the year, I did a post to raise money for LUNGevity Breathe Deep Newark for our team: The TERMINATORS. We helped raise, with many others, $23,000 for research. Thank you again for your help and kindness. Here is a short movie I prepared of that day (May 11th) and the speech my father gave to everyone (they asked him to give a speech because he was the #1 individual fund-raiser and the only survivor in attendance)
I wanted to let my readers know that things have been harder lately. Obviously. My father is really struggling. We are all struggling. Skipping the details of what that means or entails, I’m spending more time caring for him. And so, this blog is something I currently cannot commit to doing as frequently as I was before.
I will continue to try to participate in “Monday Monologues” and “Wordless Wednesdays” capturing pictures of McKinley’s Milestones and family life. Although, I’m not sure how frequent that will be. My hours spent editing craft, recipe, and informational posts will most likely take a temporary backseat for now. I apologize for that and I hope that you’ll remain an avid follower.