A year ago today, I learned that my dad had Stage IV cancer and was terminally ill. I don't know if I can adequately articulate just how difficult this past year has been. The illness in and of itself is barbaric. The pain, more excrutiating and overwhelming than I could have ever imagined...physically for him, emotionally for me.
Aside from the insidiousness that is cancer, I have found myself having to endure some of the most painful and awkward situations imagineable. Due to the choices my dad has made for his life, I have had to dig deep, finding forgiveness and uncommon courage along the way. I have had to bite my tongue, put on a happy face, swallow my pride and really be in the moment...all for my dad.
There have been days, weeks even, where my life seems somewhat normal. Stressful, yes. But manageable. And then, I hit the wall. As I did this week. I watch as the cancer seeps into his bones and invades his vital organs. The grief washes over me as I wonder if this is the beginning of the end.
I have started a small laundry list of the simple, often inane things I will miss about him. Through my tears I recommit to repair my relationship with him; hoping for the blessed peace which will surely accompany the reconciliation.
I often think of Baby Joy and the words her brave father spoke at her funeral. He said he had no regrets, that as far as Joy was concerned, his conscious was clear. He had done right by her. Oh that I should be so lucky.
Perhaps time is the only blessing of cancer. Quiet moments between diagnosis and death; moments spent remembering, communicating, healing.