It's been a challenging year to say the least. I'm not really complaining-I'm thankful for the time given; but there's an emptiness that's not likely to fill anytime soon. I've grown tremendously as a person but I almost feel like the cost of learning those invaluable lessons was a bit too much. But then again, ultimately God (Jesus) is the one who paid the biggest (?) price for lessons to be learned. BTW, Please excuse grammatical errors, one part of my brain is trying to get my thoughts out onto the screen while the other is saying "ummm is that the right punctuation? (thank heavens for spell check though!!)"
Anyhow...this round of learning/growing started last May when pops was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. Even without "cancer" we all know our time will come when we leave this earth but add "cancer" to the equation and IMO, time is limited; very limited. This is not my first rodeo going down the cancer road (mom passed in 1995 after a SHORT bought with Uterine Cancer) but dad was optimistic that he had "time" to do a few things that still needed being done. Only he knows if he got everything done he wanted to get done. I suspect that there is one thing he didn't get done.
I'm confident that I did everything that I could to make this last year the best I could for him. In the beginning I drove up to see him every other weekend. I was mindful of my limitations (taking a short "break" from driving at the beginning of the year to recharge my batteries) but during that time I called him and emailed when he was able to get to the computer. If he wanted Tasty Kakes; he got Tasty Kakes. He wanted Lego's for Christmas; he got Lego's for Christmas. He wanted to see his son in law (who due to illness cannot travel well); he saw his son in law for Thanksgiving. Every three day weekend I had off from work (except for MLK) we went to the casino because that made him happy (took his mind off the cancer). I honestly haven't done this much driving since I was a young adult....well worth it though.
March 14th was his 69th birthday. The weeks before had been rough on him. His chemo treatment had been changed sometime in Jan (because his cancer had responded nicely to the previous and he was on "maintenance" chemo). He was starting to sleep a lot and just NOT feeling "it". On a Monday of our three day weekend together I got to visit the doctor with them and we found out his BP was REALLY low and he was dehydrated. Mom (step but I call her mom) and I suspected he was dehydrated but had no clue about the BP. The DR told him to stop taking his BP meds. I remember that Monday well, there was a snow storm brewing. The three weeks that followed that visit seemed to be a bit better and so for his birthday we went to the casino. Despite having to use a wheel chair he seemed to have had a good time....
anyhow (again)...pops passed away April 2nd. I was able to stay with him the night of the 1st, all day the 2nd, and tell him how much I loved and respected him as he took his final breathe that night. I will never regret being in the room as he left the physical world. Whether or not it makes a difference to a persons soul as they leave for a better place, it makes a difference to me and I could NOT let him go without someone he loved from the physical world being there. Mom hated that she couldn't be there but she just couldn't let him go....her soulmate; her "everything". That is probably the hardest part of all this for me. Not once, but twice, in the last year two people I love lost their soulmate; their "everything". I can't even imagine. I don't even want to imagine even though I know a time will come when I could be in their shoes. Breaks my heart; leaves a hole that may not ever fill. Please don't misunderstand-I LOVE my father (the apple didn't fall from the tree). We are so alike in so many ways (and not all bad ha ha ha) but my love is much different than the spousal love. Besides--I had him for 43 years where as my mom only had him for 18 ish.
I'm thankful for the time I had....and I'm thankful for the memories and lessons learn.