Merry Christmas, and by the way, I’m dying

We drove to Arkansas this weekend to visit my dad and other family for Christmas.

After the big hospital scare last month, I wanted to ask my dad how all the tests were going. There seemed to be a lot of them, and not a lot of results.

When I asked him, he just said he didn’t want to talk about it. OK. Well I won’t push it. It’s probably not good news, then, I thought, but if he’s not ready to talk, I’ll wait.

So this morning, he tells me he’s got a tumor the size of a tennis ball in his lung and a golf ball-size one in his liver. The lung is not treatable, but the liver is. But what is the point of that, he said.

I know it won’t be long before it is over, from past experience. My dad, like many others I’ve seen with cancer, has lost a lot of weight – very rapidly and without trying.

I’m terrified. I’m devastated. I know he must be scared, too, and I can’t help but hurt for  him, but I’m so selfish I can only think about how much his loss will mean to me.

Not now. I’m not ready. There’s too much going on in my life, and I just can’t take on anything more. Yet here it is. My dad. The only real family besides my kids that I have left.

The last time he came to visit us he told me it would be the last time. He said he didn’t think he could do it any more. That was Fiona’s 16th birthday. I don’t know what he was thinking then, but he couldn’t have been more right.

And now I don’t know what to do, what to think, what to feel. I’ve been a daddy’s girl all my life, and I just can’t think of life without him.

My mom has been gone for 17 years, and I’m still grieving. My mom meant the world to me. I miss her so much. I don’t think I will handle losing my dad any better.


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