I still remember the day my mom called me and told me my dad had stomach cancer. They had rushed him to the hospital days before because he was feeling so ill. They told us it was a stomach ulcer. That's okay I told my mom, they will get it;dad is a strong man. My dad was always a very active person who loved life. He loved his family, his work, his friends and sports. Always being active. I knew he could beat it.
On July 4, 2000 my dad died. He had bravely suffered through stomach surgery in October of1999 where they removed most of his stomach and almost all of his esophagus (it had spread so far). That's okay dad, they will give you chemo and you will win I told him.
I spent my last Christmas with him in December of 1999. He was so frail and skinny then. My dad actually traveled with my mom from PA to Texas to my aunts and uncles. When she wheeled him off the plane in Texas (I had met them there I live in Arizona) in the wheelchair he had his hat on to cover his bald head and his bony hands were sticking out from mounds of clothes. I still remember fighting back the tears, but reassuring myself he would be okay. He spent that holiday using every last ounce of energy he had to do things he wanted to do one "last" time. I argued with myself that it wouldn't be his last time. He just felt bad. We saw a professional basketball game and even drove to the beach one last time.
I never saw my dad cry so hard as when I left on Christmas night to go back to Arizona. I just hugged him and told him I would see him in a little while when I go back to PA. I never never thought that I would never spend another Christmas with my dad... this will haunt me forever.
I was with my dad the day before he died. We spent the day together as he stared up at the hospital tv from his bed, not really watching tv, not acknowledging that anyone was even there. He had that "cancer" stare that I didn't know what it meant until I saw my dad these last few days. He was in sooo much pain they were injecting morphine into him every 2 hours. I still thought my dad would get better.
That day I left and I told my dad that I loved him and I would see him soon (I was coming back next week). He shook his head and I gave him a kiss. When I got back home to AZ, my mom called me and said dad was dying. He died while the fireworks were crackling and popping outside his hospital window.
I am still angry. I am angry at the doctors for not helping him and letting him suffer, I am mad at god because he has my dad and I do not, I am mad at others who still have their fathers and do not even know what it is to lose a parent. I am mad at the people who say "I am sorry" when they find out and then they never again mention my dad. I want to talk about him. I want to remember my dad when he was alive and well. I do not want to live these visions over and over in my head while my dad was suffering.
If writing this does anything, I want it to wake up the people out there who know someone close that is dealing with a death of a parent. We do not want you to pretend that our dad didn't exist. We want to remember the person. We want the time to be mad and angry and to wish our dad was back with us. Please be patient...our heart now has a big hole in it that will never be replaced.
I love you so much dad.
I miss you