A Month Since He Left and I Feel Lost…

It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since I said good-bye to my Dad. I still can’t explain how I feel to anyone. One minute, I am laughing and joking, and the next I am trying to hide tears. It’s not like I have never lost anyone close to me before, but the reality is, I had never before lost my Dad.

It’s not something that you can prepare for, even when I knew he was terminally ill. You just keep waiting for him to be the next miracle cancer survivor, so you don’t want to prepare yourself for the inevitable even if you know it’s coming.

Most of the time, I want my alone time so that I can miss my Dad the way I know how without feeling guilty. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty, but for some reason, I do. On the other hand, when I am laughing with family and friends, I feel guilty then as well.

I don’t think there is any definition of grief. I think that it is different for every person, and I believe that I am struggling to cope with life, and I am struggling to cope with death. What I mean is this, when I am living, I feel guilty that I’m not grieving, and when I’m grieving, I feel guilty that I’m not living. It’s the only way I know how to explain it.

The only stations I have been listening to (on Pandora) are Bruce Springsteen, and a few of the other classic rock stations that play the music my Dad loved. It’s then that I can smile and feel happy because it’s then that I feel so close to him. It takes me back to when I still lived at home. Dad would come home from work, when he would be gone for days at a time on the railroad, and it would be 3 or 4 in the morning. I can remember being so mad at him that he would turn the stereo on in the living room. He didn’t even turn it on loud, but I would wake up when I would hear him come in, so naturally, I could hear the music. I would give anything to wake up to my Dad playing his favorite tunes on the stereo. I would give anything to have just one more day with him.

It seems to be getting harder by the day, and I think that it has finally become “reality”. I have finally realized that I cannot call my dad anymore, and I cannot sit out in the sun with him anymore. The newspapers piling up on my front porch might just be piling up because I don’t want to throw them out. I don’t know what to do with them. The only reason I subscribed to the newspaper was for him.

I am beginning to feel lost without him. I am beginning to feel like I don’t know how I ever coped with him being so far away from me for the past 9 years. Maybe because I knew I could call, I knew I could visit. Now, all I have are the memories from those phone calls and visits, and all of the days before December 29, 2018.

I will forever miss my dad, and I will forever cherish every last minute that I had with him.

 

 

 

My Dad Secured His Place in Heaven Today

Today, at 9:05 am, my Dad took his final breath on this earth, and left us to be with the angels.

To My Dad:

I will never forget how much I loved you, and how much you loved me. I will never forget all of the things that made you a great dad, and a great father. I will never forget the sacrifices you made for your family. I will never forget all of the times in these past few months that you said to me “Miss, I don’t know what I’d do without you”. I will never forget the way you would play the drums on the steering wheel while driving in the car and listening to your favorite Bruce Springsteen song. I will never forget when I laid in that hospital bed with you just yesterday and wondered if you knew I was there. I will never forget the past 44 years, 6 months, and 7 days that I got to spend with you.

If I had to fight this battle with you again and again, I would appreciate every single day because it would be more days that I had to spend with you. More times that I got to hold your hand and tell you I love you. More times that I would have to say thank you for being the most wonderful father any girl could ask for.

I am grateful that you are finally at peace, but I miss you so much already that I can hardly breathe. I want to be angry, I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but I know that it is not what you would do. You would take the hand given to you, and you would make the best of it, as you always have.

You are the strongest man that I know, and I will be forever grateful that I can call you my Dad.

 

It’s Time to Hit the Bricks

In the final stages of cancer guide that was given to us by Hospice, it talks about the final days and hours. It talks about how people that are getting ready to let go begin “planning for their trip”. With women, they tend to talk about things like making sure that they remember to get milk, or to make sure that the laundry is done. With men, they tend to worry about things such as fueling up the car, or making sure the car is tuned up for their wife.

This morning, my sister heard my dad say very softly, “It’s Time to Hit the Bricks”. To many of you, this may seem insignificant, but to my sister and I, it meant something. My dad has been saying this since we were young. Every time we were going somewhere, he would say “It’s Time to Hit the Bricks”. He said it when he got called to work on the railroad, he said it when we were going to visit family, he said it for a variety of reasons, but it always meant one thing; IT’S TIME TO GO.

I called my Uncle Jimmy (Dad’s brother) because he wanted to be there with Dad during his final hours and/or days. He came to the house to be by dad’s side as well as ours.

Now, all we can do is wait for whenever it is that Dad decides “it’s time to hit the bricks”…

Merry Christmas Dad

First of all, Christmas is supposed to be a time of family and joy. Unfortunately, this year, the Good Lord had different plans, at least for our family. Although Dad is home with us for Christmas this year, he is barely recognizable as the old “Frank” that everyone was familiar with, but it is clear that everyone still loves him regardless. He has had more visitors to the house in the past couple of days, and we are so very thankful that he is with us. He did not get to enjoy the Christmas tree, as he is unable to get out of bed. In fact, he is unable to do anything at all. The last time he ate was the few bites of macaroni & cheese that my sister tried to feed him the night we brought him home from the physical therapy center exactly 3 days ago.

It is so weird to think that just last week (even days ago), Dad was talking, joking, laughing, eating, going to the bathroom (although with help), and enjoying his time with family and friends. He was even going to physical therapy every day.

Did dad decide that it was time? I almost feel that way. It’s almost as if he just wanted to come home (even though it is not his home in Florida, it is his home) so he could be at peace with his family by his side.

Hospice gave us a book on what to expect during the final stages of cancer, and we have been following it and realizing that Dad is every bit the cancer patient that they were writing about.

I am scared, sad, and angry, but the love that I have for my dad is beyond anything that cancer can take away from me. I refuse to let my dad think anything other than the fact that there is an abundance of love around him every second of every day that he has left.

Merry Christmas Dad! I love you!

9 Weeks Since Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis and I Am Terrified

When Dad’s oncologist said that his prognosis was “2-4 months without treatment, and 6-12 with treatment”, my heart sunk, and I truly felt like we were in a nightmare. I could not help but be positive, I mean, people beat cancer all the time, right? Why can’t Dad be one of the few who manage to beat the odds?

Once the shock wore off, the “realist” in me began searching for answers, and I was just trying to “deal with it all”.

Now, the shock is back, and I am in complete disbelief that the man who I have adored my entire life is lying in a bed that he has become prisoner to.

My feelings today have completely changed.

I would give anything for a prognosis of 6-12 months, but I have come to the realization that it is not in the cards for Dad, and I cannot even begin to explain how terrified I am of losing him.

Every single day when I look at him, I realize that I am losing my Dad to Cancer, and I am not ready to accept that. Not yet. We haven’t had one pleasant day since he arrived from Florida in October. NOT ONE! He has been filled with pain and nausea, and has become dependent on everyone to help him with all of those daily tasks that we all take for granted. This man is not my Dad, yet he will always be. He will always be the first man I loved, the first man that I drove in a car with, the first man that taught me responsibility, and how to work hard, the first and only man that my husband had to ask permission from to marry me.

If I could just have one more good day with my Dad, one more day that we could sit and talk about all of the things that we used to talk about, go for a drive, cook out on the grill. Just one more day!

I cannot even write this without clearing the tears from my eyes so I am able to see. I cannot imagine life without my Dad in it. Not being able to call him, text him pictures, visit him in Florida and go to the beach, or go play miniature gulf just to come home and lounge in the pool. I’ll never again get to feel the excitement when he calls on his trip from Florida to visit and says that he’ll be at my house in a few hours.

All I can do now is be there with him while he fights the pain and the fear. Tell him I love him every chance I get. Hold his hand while he sleeps. At least I still have that. I still have the chance to love him unconditionally, the same way he has loved me unconditionally for my entire life.

I still have that.