Thursday, July 6, 2017

Missing my Dad

Sept. 7, 2016 I lost my Dad to cancer. He was diagnosed in the fall of 2013 with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and was given 7-12 months to live. He lived for another 3 years. He told me when he got diagnosed, he was not ready to go yet, he had things to do, he wanted 3 more birthdays, and at least 2 more Christimas', and he got them. He fought hard, I forget how many rounds of chemo he had, 6 maybe, seemed like he was doing chemo rounds 2 times a year that lasted at least 4 months, with a few months off in between. He was a strong man,  his body shutting down on him was very hard for him to deal with. He kept exercising, eating right, getting rest, anything he could do for one more day. He woke up everyday and thanked the Lord for another day on this earth, he reminded me that I needed to be doing the same, as none of us are getting out of this alive. He used to say he just happened to know his time was coming sooner then most knew. One day I was trying to get him to slow down, to stop doing so much, clearly it was getting hard for him to walk, or do minor tasks,  he got upset with me and told me, "I can't just sit around and wait to die, I have to be doing something, ANYTHING."

About a week before he died he said he wanted to talk to me, funny, since all we'd been doing was talking all the time, but he said he wanted to have a serious talk. He told me how worried about me he was,  he was worried him being sick and dying was something he thought I might not never recover from. He told me, I had to let him go, I had to be ready to move on, to remember him always in my heart, but that I needed to let him go. He told me, the first few months, the first year, are going to be very hard, but its okay, it will get better he said. You'll think of me a little less as time goes by, and at first you might feel guilty about that, but try not to, that's whats supposed to happen, your supposed to miss me, but keep then keep moving forward. Even in his last days, he was trying to teach me, to guide me, to help me. He was amazing, he was not thinking of himself, or his pain, he was trying to comfort me, he was worried for us. We had a long cry, we held hands and told each other some of our favorite memories,  he made me promise I would not be mad at God for him being sick and dying. I realized that my selfish attempts to hold onto him, were holding him up from what he needed to do. I told him I was ready to let him go, and tried to express how much my heart was breaking, and how much I would miss him. He told me he was going to miss me too, but he would check in on me when he could. We laughed at that, I told him he better find a way to let me know from the other side how it was over there. He died about 4 days after that conversation. We watched him as he had one foot in this world, and one in the other, and did our best to let him go. Towards the end he couldn't say my name, he couldn't say Christy,  he kept calling me Christmas, it was bittersweet.

So here I am almost 10 months later,  while it's not getting easier, it is more manageable,  I am finally able to understand what he was trying to tell me. My Dad did not want me to get stuck in that place of grief and sadness, he wants me to live, to be happy, to not waste anymore time on fear, grief, doubt, or any of that kind of bullshit. I know he would be proud of me today, tackling the big things I need to, and taking steps to learn how to relax, to take better care of myself. I finally was able to talk to God, tell him I am still mad, but I am ready to start talking to him again, I told God, I just need help, I don't know how sometimes to process all this. Hopefully I start hearing the messages he is sending me soon, as it will take more time to really be open and still and find the way he is showing me.

For the first time in a long time, I have hope, and that hope is starting to beat out the fear. I am learning to let go, to do what I like again,  I am being kind to myself and taking the steps I need to move forward.  Moving forward felt very hard at first, it felt like I was moving further away from my Dad, until I realized, he is coming with me, he will never be far from me, he is with me always. Like my friend Marsha said, "When I watch the sunset, I am seeing it through my Moms eyes, for her, sharing it with her." One smart cookie my friend Marsha.

My Dad was an amazing, wonderful man,  I miss dearly,  as I move forward and put that part of my life behind me, he is coming with me on all the great adventures yet to be. Thank you for all the love, and such a beautiful life Dad, I promise not to waste another minute.
All my love to you Pop,

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