Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Enough Already

I spent my Monday off in the kitchen. The Squeeze and I were having my old buddy and 'best babe' Mary and her hubby over for dinner, so after spending a small fortune at the grocery store I chained myself to the stove and began cooking.

The menu for the evening would be some cheese and paté and other nibblies while we sat about and chatted and drank some wine, then onto the main course of lasagna and Caesar salad, followed by a dulce de leche cheesecake and whipped cream for dessert. Several times through the lasagna-making process, I thought, 'why didn't I just buy a frozen one?'. But, I cook with love. And probably better ingredients. While the sauce simmered for a couple of hours, I began working on a pot of jumbalaya to take to work for our lunches this week.

The afternoon wore on, and eventually I had the lasagna prepared and resting in the fridge, the jumbalaya cooked and portioned out into containers, and the bacon and croutons cooked and ready for the salad.

I packed Stella up and took her to the pet food store that our former neighbour manages so I could pick up another huge bag of Stella's food to get us through the next month or so. I reminded her of the invitation to The Squeeze's party that we never heard back from her about. Turns out they were away on vacation and got back the day after the big party. When I told her that we got married at the party she screamed with excitement, came running around the counter and gave me a huge hug. Eventually Stella and I got over the volume of the scream, paid for the food and headed back home.

When we returned to the house there was a message on the phone from my sister-in-law. "Dave, we just got back from Dad's doctors' appointment. Call us back." I forgot that he had a meeting with his oncologist and a GI surgeon about possibly doing surgery on a hiatus hernia that was causing pain when he ate. After trying to call my sister-in-law back several times and getting a busy signal, I managed to get through. It turns out that my father's cancer has spread to his liver. He is having another scan on Friday to check out his bones and brain because he's been complaining about back pain and headaches. They aren't able to do any more radiation for whatever reason, and the GI surgeon said that they can't open him up to fix the hernia at this point. "I wish we had better news for you," the doctor said.

So again, now we wait. Hearing that from my sister-in-law was quite a blow. Part of me is crushed, and a part of me is in denial and doesn't want to face what this means. I'm dreading what we'll learn next week. My father is pretty much resigned to the fact that he's going to die soon, and he's quite fed up with the chemo and radiation and doctor's appointments he's been going through. As he says, "What a waste of time." I think he's ready to go, but I'm not ready to let him. I'm still sitting here waiting for a miracle.

Needless to say, I wasn't completely present for our company, but I did enjoy the visit and the opportunity to have dinner together. My mind just drifted onto other matters. I'm still in a fog of disbelief, and I'm waiting to wake up and find this has been one of my weird dreams.

Oh Dave. It's hard, isn't it? You know, I understand that life is short for all of us; that sickness and death are inevitable for all of us, and I like to think that when my mom's or Paul's time is up that I will be okay with it, but I know that emotions will run high; that grief is made of many components besides loss.

At your mother's funeral I found it very difficult to approach your dad. I saw him standing there looking, at least in my mind, so meek and harmless and vulnerable. It was very hard not to cry.

Our attachment to good parents who were kind and loving and devoted to our happiness - it's a powerful connection, isn't it?

We had a scare when Paul was diagnosed with a blood cancer. Turned out it's one of the gentler cancers and he may live quite a while yet. But I made sure no words would be locked up, regretfully, until it was too late. I told him truthfully, he was my hero - for taking in my mom and I when we were down and out, with little to offer in return, and giving us a life of privilege, and for teaching me what a "real man" was - one who could admit and accept his limitations; one who stood by his family above all else; who protected his loved ones; and who wished no ills on anyone else.

I'm very glad that he knows how I feel.

Whether your dad has 10 days left or 3000, I hope that he has the opportunity to make the most of them. I hope he'll see much of his family and I hope that you all will talk to him with courageous honesty.

I hope he'll suffer little and enjoy much of whatever the things are that make him happy.

He always struck me as a lovable ol' fellow. It would be great if his days numbered closer to 3000 but really, I think quality is better than quantity.

Love you,

Oh heavens. I'm so sorry to hear this, Dave. I would have thought you had been through enough over the past year or so.

I hope you are able to spend whatever time he has left (and let's hope it's more than the doctors think and that it's all good) in happier pursuits and doing fun things with him.

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