Brain Scan

Dad’s cancer came with a major relapse. we all knew it was coming. Dad was scared and thought he was doing to die. I couldn’t really hold this one against him, although I wished it didn’t always have to be this way. 

My Dad couldn’t face what was in front of him, and to him, it made perfect sense to say “fuck it” and numb himself. 

Before Dad found out about his cancer he had been dating this amazing woman, (let’s call her Devon). She wasn’t Dad’s type at all (not that this has anything to do with this.) But she was nice and kind and I really liked her. She didn’t know what she was getting herself into. But she was there for him when she could be and she stuck around through a good amount of the drinking during the beginning of his cancer.

One day my Dad had to get an MRI of his brain, to make sure that the cancer hadn’t spread. He drank EXTRA that day; he was beyond out of it. Mom dropped him off without coming inside since she knew Devon was over as well as my Uncle and Cousin. I knew it was too hard for her to come in, and she did a lot for my Dad already.

I wanted to make sure I was home for him, to show support. It was good that everyone else was there as well. With Dad drinking, I tended to stay at Mom’s house just a little bit more since it was so unstable to be at my Dad’s. It gets to a point where it is just too hard to watch someone you love throw everything away.

Everything had become how he was going to die, with me always pleading the same thing over and over again. Crying for him to fight, that it didn’t have to be the end if he just tried, but it was too much.

I think we were all just a ball of nerves waiting for him to get back from the scan. 

When he got home he stumbled drunkenly into a heap on the couch. It was crushing to see my Dad this way, but all he wanted to do was go into his bed and lie down so Devon brought him upstairs to nap.

I stayed so I could spend some time with my Uncle and Cousin, but eventually, I just wanted to get out of there. I couldn’t be in the house with all this negative energy and sadness. It wasn’t like we were going to be getting his results that day anyway so I told my family I was going to say goodbye to my Dad.

I went up our front staircase that led to a long hallway with a banister railing. As I was coming up the stairs I called out to give a warning that I was coming to say goodbye. What happened next happened so fast I still sometimes can’t believe it happened at all.

My dad thew open the door in a pure rage screaming “Get the fuck out of my house!”

The look in his eyes told me everything

1.) He did not recognize me.

2.) He was about to attack.

He started coming towards me fast screaming “GET THE FUCK OUT!” over and over. I started to sob and scream as I realized I needed to run in the other direction.

Devon pleaded for my Dad to go back into the bedroom. She did try, I give her that.

Luckily my Uncle and Cousin heard my scream and were fast enough to intercept my father before he got to me. Honestly, it starts to blur from there, I was in such shock. I know my cousin said, “Dan, let’s go for a walk.” And I just nodded and let him lead me out of the house. 

I was beyond shock. My Dad just tried to fucking attack me. Shit, he didn’t even know who I was! His own daughter! And again it happened all so fast it feels so real and unreal both at the same time. I can still see the blind rage behind his eyes when I think of that awful day.

I don’t know exactly what my cousin said to me, but all I can remember is thinking about the crazed look Dad had on his face. I thought I had been afraid of him before, but this was something new altogether.

I know my cousin was able to calm me down, we always had a special bond, and he never spoke to me like I was a stupid child who knew nothing of what was really going on. He knew it sucked but he knew the right things to say. I can say that because it was my cousin who was able to finally get me to snap out of it.

After our walk, I said thank you to both of them but I had to get the hell out of there. I needed to be as far away as I could from that house. 

This “incident” haunts me sometimes. Shatters my heart, which has already been shattered a million times already. It’s hard to believe that you can mend shattered. I never thought I could be put whole again. I’ll always have cracks, but that’s okay; because it means I don’t forget, but I can try to let go.

I couldn’t face my Dad, I was still too shaken and scared. 

Luckily, Dad got good news that the cancer hadn’t spread to his brain. At least we had that.

BUT he still needed surgery and radiation and detox. The doctors told him he can NOT drink, otherwise, they couldn’t do the treatment or surgery, and he was in bad shape. 

I don’t know who convinced him or how they got him to go to rehab, but he went to Florida to get sober.

I was just happy it meant, for now, the drinking and chaos would end, and maybe he would see a bit clearer that we needed him to fight. 

Yes, even after something so frightening and terrible I just wanted my sober Dad back. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Devon and my Dad broke up; it was kind of inevitable. Although they did remain pretty good friends. At least he had that. She really was the nicest woman.

I’ll never forget that day, that horrible, horrible day. I guess the only good side of drinking for him was that he never had to remember what he had said or did. I used to envy that he just got to forget. How easy life would be; but it’s made me who I am today. Drinking to forget and forgetting because of drinking is not the right answer. 

In the end, I think this quote fits best:

“Someone can do a terrible, unforgivable thing, and yet you forgive them if you love them. The heart is a strange thing.” -Sarah Pinborough from her book ‘Cross Her Heart’

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All opinions and conclusions are my own. I am not a medical professional and I am not able to provide you with personalized medical recommendations. If you need help, there are many sources of information and places to get help.