This week, 5 years ago - I can remember it like it was yesterday. My dad was taken into the hospital sometime near the end of October, and never came out. I don't remember thinking that it was necessarily the end when they took him in, but I travelled 3 hours to be there that day, so there must have been some inkling. His smile was still there that day, his sense of humour still intact. On his first day they did a "cognitive test," to evaluate just how with it he was, or wasn't. Asked to write a sentence on a piece of paper, any old sentence would do, my dad penned what was to be his last written request - "Can I please have a beer?" That was my dad, right up until the end. 2 weeks later he was gone.
It seems like it was years upon years that Dad was sick. It was 4 years in the end that he fought against a cancer that first appeared in his liver, and later in his colon. He fought like hell, like all of us expected he would, and I don't think many others would have lasted as long as he did.
This year has been tough. Partially because of another family member going through a similar story. My cousin Katie is 26, and her husband is currently lying where my dad laid 5 years ago - in a hospice, in what appears to be his final days of a fight with cancer. They've been married for less than 6 months, and the whole thing is a whole lotta heartbreaking. The fact that it's all happening at the same time of year is more than a little bit freaky.
However, of all the times of year that he could have gone, I'm glad it was at this time of year – I put my poppy on on November 1st, and spend a week thinking about him a little more than usual, and remembering Remembrance Day that year and spectacular outpouring of family and friends that we had that day for his funeral (which was on Remembrance day.) I have a poppy in my car, and one on his photo that hangs in our house, and I like to think it keeps him close, and keeps me remembering all year long.
These past 5 years have been full of SO MUCH that my dad would have liked to see. 5 grandchildren, one for each year. (Well, kind of. My brother and his fertile wife went and had twins 10 months after they had their first kid. I know. I KNOW!)
Plus, just this past Friday, there was this: Y'all, that is my MOM, graduating from college, with a diploma in Fashion Design! If you'll recall the fashion show that she did back in April, and her beautiful final collection. (If you haven't seen it before, take a gander on back.) This is my mom, once again, confirming the fact that she is a rock star.
So, needless to say, the man has been missed.
And now, for a wee trip down memory lane!
(I have a new appreciation for this photo of me and my dad, since sitting in this very same position myself!)Check out the 'stashe! And the pants! And my hot ma! And that little bundle of cute? That's me, of course!This is the cabin that I built, still in it's early stages. Dad was sick already here, so was mostly relegated to "supervising." But he was an expert at supervising!
Not sure where this was taken, but I kind of love it!
I think this is one of the last pictures taken of Dad, at our housewarming party in September of 2005. (That barren field of dirt behind them is not my house, in case you're wondering!) That's my dad's traditional scowl, which both my brother and I have inherited. He's happy here, it's just a little hard to tell!
So that's all. Another year, come and gone. It doesn't get easier it seems, it just gets farther away, but that's one of the reasons I like to take a moment and remember every year, so it doesn't get too far, so the memories don't get too fuzzy. I still hear his voice, telling me to take the car in for an oil change and put away the lawnmower and don't water the tomatoes too much already!
Yes Dad, I hear you, and hopefully I always will!