Sunday, August 21, 2011

End of life...

My dad lies in a hospital bed in what the doctors seem to think is his last leg.. He is only 61 years old but cancer has consumed him.
I left him a week ago, on a Saturday morning, a little bit run down but ok, and returned on the Monday to find him unable to hold a glass of water. I called 911 and off we went to the hospital. He didn't want to go.. It took a lot of cajoling on my part and promises that I would return him to his home soon... "Let's go so they can check you out and I can sleep easy tonight" I told him, smoothing over the untold, rough edges of my fears.
I came home at 4.20am the next morning... he was admitted.

Slowly, I have come to grips with the reality of what is going on. I mourn... He is still alive, yet I find myself unable to stop crying, unable to do any housework, hiding in my room, allowing my son to play for hours on the Xbox so he won't see me crying. I talk about my dad behind closed doors but Cody has caught on. It is difficult not to hear me or see me... after all, we live in a tiny apartment, there aren't many places for me to hide.

We haven't told him... we haven't told him that the doctors believe he won't walk out the hospital. I can't bear the thought that soon he might be gone. He is my only family. Why him? Millions upon millions of evil people in the world, people who have killed, stollen, murdered, raped... why my dad? You couldn't find a kinder man, a more honest man. He never hurt anyone in his entire life... and the only things he will leave behind are a good name, us three kids and two grandkids. Not a penny in the bank, not a fancy house, not because he hasn't worked hard in his life, the contrary, but because material possesions never mattered to him...

When he was diagnosed, two years ago almost to the day, I truly thought he would be the one to make it... Cancer has already claimed 3 of his siblings but I thought he would be the lucky one to get away. I guess until recently I still believed it... I am not so sure now. In fact I think I know deep down inside he will die soon... not because his doctors tell me so... I have learned long ago not to trust them and that what they give me is their best educated guess and not a fact. They are not God and have no knowledge of God's will either...They guess... and sometimes they are right because the chances are either or... just like when you are pregnant. You will either get a boy or a girl... no matter what you pick, you have a 50% chance of being spot on.

No, it's not the doctor's grim prognosis that make me believe my dad will die... It's the fact that he wants to die... The spark in his eye is gone, the fight is draining for him. He has fought so bravely, lasted more than siblings did, sacrificed parts of his body, his quality of life, just for a chance of remission... and it seems that this has been denied for him.
The cancer seems to have spread to the bones, consuming him rapidly, like a wild fire. A month or so ago, his scans were clean, now his body is crawling with cancer. The doctors throw their hands up in the air... and I... I don't know what to do next. My brain is buzzing, the thoughts coming so fast I can't even control them.

Life goes on inspite my turmoil. Bills still come in, I still need to cook and clean. Dolls need to be sculpted, sold and paid for so I can bring food to the table... I still need to walk the dog... and I get mad. I get mad at my husband because he is not picking up any of the slack! He will hold me and say things that sound nice but he won't do anything to really help.
What's gonna happen if dad is gone? Where will I find the thousands required for a funeral?
What will I do with his stuff? What about the small loan he took from the bank? Will I have to pay it? He has nothing to his name... must children pay their dead parents' debts?
What will I do with his cat? And while doing all that, who will put food in our table?
Selfish thoughts I know, but the reality is that the world did not stop turning this week.. I am left with $60 in my wallet and if I don't pay our car insurance by Friday, they will terminate it.

My dad is dying... everything else seems mute... yet it isn't. Where is my balance? How do I do this alone? There are no kindly neighbors to cook me something or babysit... or are they and I am just too proud to accept help? My dad faked feeling ok for a few months, which is why it took me so long to figure it out. He didn't want to burden me... he still doesn't. I don't even know what to pray for anymore.

I want to bang down God's door and beg for complete healing... fast. Yet at the same time I want to beg for mercy, for a swift, merciful, liberating death for him... for him to fly free of this rotten body that no longer functions... but I want to keep him here for many more years!!
What does this all mean for me? Will I die of cancer too? Do I only have a few years left? Can I stop it from happening? I don't smoke or drink and I am healthy for now... Why can't I turn off my brain???


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