Another late night as it reluctantly creeps towards a dark early morning. I can not sleep. I can not seem to breathe. My loss of appetite is bothersome. My entire body thumps with each beat of my weary heart.
I am well aware that I am not the first to walk in the wake of a loved one fighting to live. Cancer has only one destination in its horrific plan. However, my father has a much different plan. A clever plan. A plan so clever that all of us who are around him seem to be baffled as they watch him walk with out the aid of a wheelchair or a walker. And they watch him gain weight while he can only have nutrition through a tube that protrudes from his belly. This feeding tube is due to the damage of the radiation – not the damage from the throat cancer. Even with the confusion my father lives with now – my phone rings in the middle of the night and he tells me with his painful sounding voice – before any of the caregivers bother to tell me when I call during the day – that “something is wrong“. (By the way, I have found even better medical care for Dad!)
If these remarkable things have occurred, then why my bottomless sadness? Why the isolation? Why the sleep deprivation? Why the private meltdowns…?
Because my father’s soul is changing. His larger than life personality is changing.
Once again it is all about the choices we have to make in life and then learning to live with and accept our choices. And today – today was the day I saw the true reality that he is indeed beating the throat cancer, but the radiation and chemo treatments seemed to have relentlessly beaten him into becoming another person that resides inside his skinny body. Quietly I hope this is temporary. It must be temporary.
While I was sitting with my father and holding his hand today, without warning, another piece of my heart broke away and crashed on the floor as if it was an ice glacier slipping into the Antarctic Ocean.
I have never admired my father so much – nor has he ever taught me such an important lesson in life.
As much as I long to sit and spend sweet time with the love of my life who lives in California – I will remain in Tucson to fight for my father so he can be as comfortable as possible for as long as he chooses – because this is the right thing to do. And because of all of this, I am full of gratitude and I see and feel that God is with us at all times.