I've taken a short break from posting due to this, as I was out of town for most of last week. Now I'm home and trying to come to grips with the fact that he's gone. Last year at this time he was fine. He lives in another state, but he came home this time last year for a class reunion. Little did I know that would be the last time that I would see my father when he was conscious. An example of how you never know what might happen to someone, so make sure you say what's in your heart.
Last winter my Dad found out he had invasive, aggressive bladder cancer. After consulting with several doctors, he decided to have surgery to remove his bladder. He was to go back for a check-up at the beginning of July. I had planned to go visit him over the summer, but he thought it would be better if I waited until the holidays.
When he went back for his check-up, however, they discovered the cancer had spread throughout his body. Once again he met with several doctors. They told him that if he did nothing he would probably only have until Christmas, and that he would be in a lot of pain. They wanted to do radiation and told him that they "thought they could kill it". He started radiation at the end of July. Unfortunately, instead of helping him it seemed to make him too weak and tired to keep fighting. We all thought that once he finished with radiation and had a few weeks to recuperate that he'd be stronger. I talked to him the last day of his treatment, and that turned out to be the last conversation we'd have. He became ill with an infection and was admitted to the hospital for just a few days. I called him the day after he came home, but every time I called he was sleeping. That evening my stepmom had to call an ambulance because he was having trouble breathing. He was admitted to ICU, sedated and put on a ventilator. My sister and I flew down, hoping that we could talk to him at some point. A day after we got there they stopped the sedation, thinking that when he came to they could ask him some questions. My Dad never regained consciousness, though. We knew that his kidneys were failing and that he had fluid in his lungs. His heart wasn't strong, I think his pacemaker was the only thing keeping it going. He had already told my stepmother that he didn't want any more cancer treatments, surgery, or medical "procedures" like stents. He was taken off of the machines and the IVs were taken out, and he died the following morning.
My Dad had just turned 81, but he was far from an old man. Before his diagnosis last winter, he was active. He cut his grass, he liked to do projects in the house, he could fix their cars. His mother just died a few years ago, just shy of 97. I wish that I had been able to say goodbye to him. I wish that I had visited him sooner. So many things I wish.
That's why I published this post. I know the people who read my blog don't know him. But there are plenty of people like me who think there's more time to do things. But if it's important, especially if it involves a loved one, don't put it off. Don't be too busy, don't lose track of time, don't assume you can do it later, and don't assume someone will be there whenever you get to it. Think of what you'll feel like if there's not more time, or if they're not there when you're ready. Do the things that are most important, go out of your way to spend time with people you love. You probably won't regret doing that.