Friday, March 18, 2011

One month without Dad

Thirty two days actually, but close enough. My last report was at nine days, and as I'm sure all of you can either guess or can relate, it hasn't really gotten easier yet, and I'm not to the point of expecting it to. The surreality of it is still as strong. The vision of seeing his lips fade from pink to white, and the realization that came with that sight, still haunts me. I still cry every day and dream of my father every night. I have no doubt I will get past all of that, though. I am able, everyday, to smile and press onward telling myself that my Dad would want me to be happy and live life to the fullest, and that is what I am bound and determined to do.

Today I decided to share an email I received. It is from a nurse who cared for my Dad while he was in the ICU getting IL-2 treatments. He spent two weeks there.

I am truly sorry for the loss of your father. In the few days I was given the opportunity to get to know him I feel truly fortunate. Your father demonstrated an incredible spirit despite the odds. In fact, I mention your father to every IL-2 patient I have now. He will always be known as the Super-Leukin Man and the first to receive most all of the doses.

Unfortunately, I experience death much more than average and though I may only have a few days or several hours to get to know the patient and family, I try my best to never forget. Steve will never be forgotten. He inspired me with his unbeatable and positive fervor throughout the most difficult challenge to face, to stay alive physically and emotionally.

Your father is a shining star.
"And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should"- Desiderata, Max Erhman

I decided to share this today because it makes my heart burn with happiness every time I read it. The inspiration he shared is really what it's all about. I said something very similar about that topic at my Dad's funeral, it was the one thing I really wanted people to remember, and to hear it from someone else was such a great gift.

Some of you know and some of you don't, that my husband was away with the Army for most of the tough times with my Dad. This made things unmeasurably harder, but that is life and we all did what we could. While he spent weeks in the field, laying on frozen ground with no food and no sleep, hiking through frozen streams in the dead of night, he would say to himself and the other guys, "At least cancer isn't breaking my bones."

So I guess my point is this… there are lots of things that make a bad day. Lots of things we can get angry about, get frustrated about, feel sorry for ourselves about. But if you're not dying, stop and ask yourself, is it really that bad? Is it really worth all the grief I'm causing myself and everyone around me?

Cheer the hell up, it could be worse. And that's not just a cliché.

Several months back I began pondering a new tattoo design and decided on a large, antique rose in the middle on my back. I've since been thinking on the perfect wording to accompany it and finally decided a few days ago…

"Being alive is the meaning."

I dare you to find me better words to live by.