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.