Monday, April 16, 2012

A birthday with nothing to celebrate...

Christmas 2011...
Today is my birthday... I remember celebrating last year, I was 8 months pregnant with Baby D and it was my baby shower day. I had a new dress, super cute shoes, it was a happy day. I was full of anticipation of my new little dude's arrival, wasn't sure if he'd be here early like his brother or right on time (turns out the latter of the two would prevail). I was anxious, physically exhausted, counting the minutes of each day, realizing how much I hadn't done that needed to be finished, I had a lump in my throat thinking about just how much our lives were going to change...

This year is eerily similar, but there is no baby arriving. Instead we've recently received the news that my Dad's cancer is back. It is now Stage 4. The doctors have given him 2-4 years best case scenario with intense chemo treatment.

So I sit here with a lump in my throat in shock over how quickly one's life can change, anxious, physically exhausted, counting the precious minutes and hours of each of these last memories together realizing how many things are unfinished.... I am not ready to live this life without my Dad around. I'm not ready to think about our last Christmas... our last hunting trip... our last conversation... my last birthday with him. I'm so not ready for this and I'm so angry. I want to throatpunch the doctors, HOW DID THEY MISS THIS?! I want to scream and kick and cry. And I want to curl up in a ball and hide away forever. I am physically ill just thinking about it and there isn't a

single.
thing.
I.
can.
do.
about it...

Devastation can't even come close. I feel like someone has ripped my heart right out of my chest. Like someone is suffocating me until I can't breathe.

How does one begin to live when they know their expiration date. To me it has done the opposite of what most would think.. instead of "over-living" and going out there and making the most of it I feel like it stops you from living. Stops you dead in your tracks. Everything in my world is depressing right now. A beautiful sunrise is tainted by the sickening feeling that there will only be so many more of these that my Dad will enjoy. A tender moment between my sons and Grampa is almost too much to watch anymore because I know that my children will never really get to know and remember him.

Every day right now is spent realizing how finite our time here is, how cruel and unfair life is, and instead of it being a gift as everyone would love to encourage you about. It isn't people. Death isn't a goddamn gift, it is crushing to all those left behind. Call it selfish... I didn't choose this and I don't want it.

People try to say the "right" thing... they try to tell you that at least you get to have this time, however short it may be, at least you get to say goodbye, now you can make the most of this time, etc. They try to say 'just think about everything you have to be thankful for, everything that is good in your life, focus on that.' Well let me saw off your arm, lay it on your kitchen table for you to gaze upon every hour of the day, and you go ahead and try to think of all the good things.... let me know how that goes for you. I realize they are trying to be helpful, it makes sense that saying something along those lines would help but it doesn't and that's not their fault, it's mine. I could choose to focus on the good of life rather than this crap but right now I can't. I suppose I'll get there.... I certainly hope so, for the sake of my husband and children... they deserve to have a mom and wife that relishes each day, not one that is shut down and flat and impatient. If it weren't for them I wouldn't get out of my bed. Ever. So I'm thankful they are in my life because I'm not sure what would be happening right now if they weren't.

My Dad is in pretty good spirits... as good as you could be I guess. He puts on a brave face but I know he is just as shocked as I am. When he called to tell me what the docs said I was literally dumbfounded... I said "so that's it????????" and he said "yep, that's it, kid" trying to compose himself. I hung up the phone and went outside and fell to my knees. I sat on my back porch bawling wanting so badly to just go away, to wake up from this dream. When I got to the hospital I fell into his arms and sobbed... all this time I've tried to be strong and I just couldn't fake it anymore... he held me and told me it was going to be ok and all I could say over and over again was "I'm so sorry Dad.......................... God I'm so sorry"

"It's ok honey.... It's going to be ok"

My heart breaks for him, I can't even begin to imagine this from his perspective. He is trying to be strong. "Well, looks like I'm going to retire early huh".... "We're just going to make the most of these next 4 years." "I'm gonna ride my bike 130 down the highway, if they pull me over, let them take my license, what else could they possibly take..." This is one of the things I'll miss most about my Dad. His humor and strength are second to none, thinking about that brightens my day. There could be the biggest of giant elephants sitting in the room and he'd find a way to make everyone comfortable about it. Or at least get a laugh.

It's amazing how much can change in a year. In one phone call. My birthday this year is less than happy. I don't feel like celebrating, in fact the word celebration is almost a sick joke to me right now.  My wish for my birthday is for peace, health, and strength for my Dad, myself, and my family as I try to mentally sort out the inevitable...

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