Wish Dad Were Here... Grateful That Mom Is!!!

Dad was a grumpy old bastard who lived to be 80 years old.  He believed he lived on borrowed time for a lot of years because of ailments he endured throughout his life.  His wife (my stepmom) sent me a list of ailments Dad either overcame or was living with at the time she sent the document. There were 11 major league medical issues.  I’m talking esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, a triple bypass surgery, and a heart condition that was diagnosed when he was five years old. Many people’s lives were cut short by any one of these conditions.  That grumpy old bastard survived it all. He wanted to live to see his 80th birthday. He did... plus six months. 

Dad and I maintained a solid relationship and healthy respect for each other.  We didn't agree on everything as we traversed a wide range of subjects. Dad was very candid about end-of-life issues.  He brought it up in 1996 while my boys and I visited him and his wife in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. This topic would surface from time to time in normal conversation. 

Then, in 2015, he asked if I would be the executor of his and his wife’s estate.  That is one sobering question to answer. There was no hesitation when I offered up my “Yes!” 

Unfortunately Dad never mentioned how he dealt with cancer.  He never brought it up and I did not ask such questions. I'm not mad or upset.  I have no regrets. It’s just one of those times I wish I could pick the brain of someone whose been down that road, and someone I can trust He is not the only one I can trust.. 

Mom also won battles with cancer.  We’ve talked already, and we’ll remain engaged as I tread the trodden trails both my parents have traveled.  She and Dad survived there battles with cancer in a time when treatment processes were much more abusive to the body and had reduced likelihood of survival and full recovery. 

Mom and Dad waged their battles with cancer while I was in the Air Force.  I did not have the luxury or convenience of being in hometown USA to help and support either of them during such trying times.  To date myself… 

  • The internet was not available to general population 
  • I lived in England!  
  • Overseas phone calls were expensive!!   
  • It was like the Dark Ages, Yo!!!   

If at all possible, be there with those you love when they travel these trodden trails.  Walk with them and support them as much as possible. They will appreciate your presence.  Such acts of kindness are for your benefit as well. 

Traveling with your loved ones today better prepares you to understand and anticipate what to expect when cancer invites you to travel the trodden trails of the Unwanted Detour Tour? 

Have you walked this walk?  Please share your greatest challenge through it all. 

Were you beside a loved one while they traveled the trail?  What challenged you the most? 

Insights, perspectives, and hacks are great medicine for the spirit and soul.  They cost nothing, have no ill side effects, and do not require insurance approval.

Please dispense liberally!!! 

Tootles

2 comments

  • Tony

    Tony Texas

    I was in a position to walk with my dad. Our relationship was outstanding, and we walked much of this road together. I drove to San Antonio every week to drive him to Chemo, and he was very open about his cancer, and his role in it (denial treatment with OTC meds, far longer than one would expect from a man that many considered a true Genius in other areas). The important thing, for me, was that after attending church regularly together as a Nuclear family, we had drifted away from it in later years. I had some bad experiences with misguided Christians, and had found my way back home years before his health challenges began, but it didn't come up in conversation until circumstances brought the subject up. When I asked him about it, his calm, smiling answer was simple, and VERY reassuring. There was no doubt in my mind that he was not only connected, but very glad that I had asked. I was quite caught up in the "who's in, and who's out" dichotomy, and finding out that he was "in" eased my mind through the difficult time of bowing to the inevitable, and allowed me to give comfort to family, instead of being caught up in my own experience of mourning and grief. I've since come to "re-believe" believe that God Is Love, and that He'd prefer me to nurture my own relationship with Him, and trust Him to take care of His other children (with any help I can provide along the way, as my own sacrament), but when I was "keeping score", it was a huge game-changer to know that our separation on earth was temporary. These days, while I still don't understand it, I find great comfort in knowing that don't have to. I hope you're far, far on this side of the "caught it in time" line. You and he have a lot in common, and that's a light that the world needs. I'm asking God to improve whatever plan He has for you, for your sake, your family's sake, for my sake, and for His. In Jesus' precious Name, this is my prayer. Amen.

    I was in a position to walk with my dad. Our relationship was outstanding, and we walked much of this road together. I drove to San Antonio every week to drive him to Chemo, and he was very open about his cancer, and his role in it (denial treatment with OTC meds, far longer than one would expect from a man that many considered a true Genius in other areas).

    The important thing, for me, was that after attending church regularly together as a Nuclear family, we had drifted away from it in later years. I had some bad experiences with misguided Christians, and had found my way back home years before his health challenges began, but it didn't come up in conversation until circumstances brought the subject up.

    When I asked him about it, his calm, smiling answer was simple, and VERY reassuring. There was no doubt in my mind that he was not only connected, but very glad that I had asked. I was quite caught up in the "who's in, and who's out" dichotomy, and finding out that he was "in" eased my mind through the difficult time of bowing to the inevitable, and allowed me to give comfort to family, instead of being caught up in my own experience of mourning and grief.

    I've since come to "re-believe" believe that God Is Love, and that He'd prefer me to nurture my own relationship with Him, and trust Him to take care of His other children (with any help I can provide along the way, as my own sacrament), but when I was "keeping score", it was a huge game-changer to know that our separation on earth was temporary. These days, while I still don't understand it, I find great comfort in knowing that don't have to.

    I hope you're far, far on this side of the "caught it in time" line. You and he have a lot in common, and that's a light that the world needs. I'm asking God to improve whatever plan He has for you, for your sake, your family's sake, for my sake, and for His. In Jesus' precious Name, this is my prayer.

    Amen.

  • The Drum Coach... Eric Anderson

    The Drum Coach... Eric Anderson

    My friend... "Commercialanity" had the same effect on me. Since realizing this polarizing force, I've sought to answer my questions in the Word. The will of God is always being done. My understanding of His will is not relevant. It isn't like he needs to answer to me, right? The real test is, "Can I accept His will when it is contrary to my desires?" Christ and Paul display great examples of how to respond to the question: "Not as my will, but Thy will be done!" That shift in mindset has made a huge difference thus far, and I will remain grounded in that mindset as the cancer treat gets underway later this month. I appreciate you sharing this short part of the walk with your Pops. Such are the times that can bring real clarity to life. Thank you most sincerely, my friend!

    My friend...
    "Commercialanity" had the same effect on me. Since realizing this polarizing force, I've sought to answer my questions in the Word.

    The will of God is always being done. My understanding of His will is not relevant. It isn't like he needs to answer to me, right? The real test is, "Can I accept His will when it is contrary to my desires?"

    Christ and Paul display great examples of how to respond to the question: "Not as my will, but Thy will be done!"

    That shift in mindset has made a huge difference thus far, and I will remain grounded in that mindset as the cancer treat gets underway later this month.

    I appreciate you sharing this short part of the walk with your Pops. Such are the times that can bring real clarity to life.

    Thank you most sincerely, my friend!

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