Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mid-February shouldn't be so scary...

How do you blog about losing your Dad? I feel like not acknowledging here would be wrong, and yet if I were to tell you all about him... let's just say I imagine that eventually blogger would tell me that my post was too long.

My Daddy has been sick for a while. I'm thinking I was a freshman in college when he found out he had lung cancer, but I might have still been in high school. By the time they found it, the tumor was the size of a baseball. He had surgery and they removed one of his lungs. He went through chemo and he was in remission for about five years. I was living with him in 2009 when the cancer came back. He went through another round of chemo since operating on his only remaining lung was just too risky. When the treatments were over the tumor was small but it was still there. He's basically been taking what they referred to as "maintenance" chemo ever since. Last February he had to go to the emergency room because he was short of breath. The only explanation we really got was that his COPD had flared up and it was some kind of 'episode'. Since then he had to be very careful about over doing it. He started using his handicap placard and would avoid going anywhere he had to walk long distances or take a lot of stairs. In the fall he had trouble shaking a bronchial infection but after several rounds of antibiotics he was doing better. The doctors had changed his medication and he was doing a lot better. Talking to him last month was like a different person than he was just before Christmas. I thought (we all did) that the medicines were finally making things easier for him.

Kassie's Graduation Fall 2012
The last phone conversation we had was about my wedding. I was telling him that Jason and I had decided to have all of our siblings as attendants. He told me that he was going to make it a point to be able to dance with me even if he just "shuffled his feet a little." We talked about him walking me down the aisle because there were some stairs involved and basically we just talked about my wedding in general. He was doing good and he seemed to be in great spirits. We texted each other on Valentine's Day. I found out later that he spent a good while laughing about sending his text messages to us so early this year.

I don't usually focus on my faith on the blog, but I've mentioned it enough that most of my regular readers would know that I am a Christian. For years I worried about my Dad. He grew up in a Christian family but as an adult he actually told me that he didn't have the faith that I had, and he would have to come to it on his own. Thank the Lord, he did. Two years ago Father's Day my Daddy was baptized in the small country church where he grew up and where he and my grandmother still attend. Because of all the sickness going around he'd been staying home so he wouldn't catch anything. He and Dee were listening to a sermon on the radio and he was making his notes on a piece of paper. On Tuesday Dee brought it to show us what'd he'd written, beside his scriptures and just below the address he'd looked up to mail out a sympathy card.

As a his daughter and a Christian, there is nothing that could have given me more peace. He wrote this on February 17th. He wouldn't wake up on the 18th.

I'm still a bit of a basket case most of the time. I wasn't supposed to lose my Daddy this early. I'm sad. I'm angry. There are even times I forget he's gone. I saw a woodsy picture frame earlier and thought to myself "I should get that for Daddy." A lot of people are telling me it will get better, but I know it won't really. I'll just learn to cope with it better. My mom lost her dad when she was just a few years younger than I am now. She still can't handle Father's Day.

Jason put together a slide show for the mortuary and he's planning to put it to music. This isn't all of the pictures we collected but they are all the good ones I have access to. This was really for me. I'm sharing it with the family but Jason's will be better. I just needed to have something for myself until he's finished.

Thank all of you for your sweet comments and thoughtful emails/messages last week. 


Kimmyyy83 said...

I love you! I lost my mom at 17 and know what its like for something so tragic to happen! If you ever need to talk I am here!

Angelwithatwist said...

I lost my father 6 years ago. We were not as close as we could have been due to him and my mom divorcing, but his loss opened other wounds. My heart goes out to you and I am sending you love. From one daddyless daughter to another..

holli said...

Danielle, what a blessing to know you will see him again in Heaven! As i'm going through my own difficult struggles with my Dad's health, i cant stop crying for you. You're right, it only gets easier in coping but its not easier ever in missing him. Love you and this blog post is not even close to being too long. Write as long and often about your Dad.
You look like your Dad ( your eyes).

Annabelle said...

Sorry for your loss. Thinking and praying for you and your family.

FierceandFashionable said...

Just found your blog and this post brought me to tears. I'm so sorry you've had to go through this and you are in my thoughts & prayers.

xx Michelle

Fierce & Fashionable

tara said...

i am so sorry for your loss! praying for you and your family! xo

Aubrey S. said...

Danielle, I wish there were something we could do or say to take the pain away, but I know that there isn't. I think of you everyday, and I'm so thankful that you and your dad were able to have the relationship that you eventually grew to.

Keep your chin up, girl. You know he's looking out for you all the same.

Babes Mami said...

You know by now that I fail with words in these situations. Speaking from experience, it really doesn't get easier. You just sort of focus on it less each day and 'move on' from it. I still have moments, years later, where I will see something that reminds me of my great grandma (not the same as a parent, I know) and I will burst into tears. Or I will hear this song at the mall or on the radio or somewhere that they played at my Grandpa's memorial and I will start crying. I can't help it. But, it has gotten easier to deal with as time passes.

Lynne said...

I think you were very perceptive to say that it won't get better - but your ability to cope with it will get better. That's true. I am sorry that he will not physically be present on your wedding day - but he will be there. (I lost my mom in 2001 - the hurt never goes away, but it does change and become easier....not easy, but easier.) Praise God for the knowledge you will see him again!