Back in 2007, my dad got sick for the very first time. His diagnosis, the big C. He had tongue cancer. He had a golf ball size tumor on the base of his tongue. At that time, chemo was not an option. He started radiation to shrink the tumor and then he had lazer surgery to remove the tumor and a dissection of his neck. After going through this, he got 5 years of living cancer free. What I saw, was my dad who was full of life become a recluse. He no longer ate food, received his nutrition through peg feedings. He no longer wanted to attend family functions/parties. He was in pain all the time. He lost weight, which he had no spare fat to lose. Truth is we lost dad already the first time around in a different way.
By the time I met my true love, he got to meet the sick dad. My husband never got to really know my dad. They would have loved talking about airplanes, fishing and camping. With in months of being married in April 2015, my dad called my sister and I to talk. He was sick again, he knew the cancer was back. We found out in July he had a new site of tongue cancer. After testing, it was determined cancer was in the whole left side of his tongue, into his jaw and clavicle bone. Bad news, I still tried to put on my best brave face, for my dad and my sister.
September 1 2015 was the most difficult day I will forever hold in my heart. On this day we met with the oncologist. My dad was told there was no treatment options available. The surgery would leave him very deformed (he didn’t want that the first time, so it didn’t even matter this time). He was upset, worried that we had wasted our time going to this appointment. I was still processing, that this time he was going to die. The oncologist told us Dad’s timeline was best case 6 months. I vaguely remember telling my sister I needed to use the restroom, before we left for our 1 1/2 hour drive home. I totally lost it, bawled my eyes out in that VA Medical Center’s bathroom. I thought that was the worst day, but that was just one of the bad days.
Getting our dad to admit that he needed medical care was difficult. We finally got him into hospice care November 16. By Thanksgiving his health had deteriorated dramatically. On December 2,2015 my dad died while watching Church with me. He just stopped breathing. It was peaceful and a blessing. I remember looking at him as it was time for the gospel, and I just knew by looking at his face that he was gone, he was no longer breathing.
I recall this grief just letting go, the ache in my heart strong. Lots of crying , I pressed the nurse button. And a nurse or someone came in I think, I never looked at the person. I calmly said “I think my dad has passed.” I was so stricken with sadness, but I felt honored to be with him when he passed over. It was the saddest day of my life, next to the day we were told our mom was gone.
My sister and I have now joined the both our parents are gone club. I feel like an orphan. Not sure what’s next for me, I know I need to continue to grieve. I won’t shut it out. I also know that I need to distance myself from negative forces/people. I won’t make any rash decisions right now, but I know that with the love and support of my best friend, my true love, my husband I will make the right decisions for me.