The Deadly “C” Word

I’ll never forget the day I was told my Dad had cancer. It’s not something that ever leaves you. It sticks to you like a small piece of staticky plastic. No matter how hard you try to shake it off it just won’t let go.

I had been out with Barry, my boyfriend at the time, when I got a call from my Mom saying that I needed to meet her at Starbucks right away, the one that was near my Dad’s house.

I was so confused by the urgency of my Mom needing to see me that very moment.

Barry dropped me off, but I told him not to go far as I had no idea how long I’d be or why I was even seeing my Mom like this in the first place.

It was a gorgeous summer day. When I got there she was already seated at one of the tables outside. She looked sad, and I was instantly scared. We’d already been through so much. I didn’t want to know what she needed to tell me because my gut was telling me it was bad news.

When I asked why we were meeting she told me that just a few hours earlier she went to the doctor with my Dad. They had done a scan and saw a dark spot on my Dad’s lungs.

Long story short… my Dad had stage three lung cancer.

In an instant I broke down. The realization of what she was telling me hit me like a ton of bricks. It felt hazy, like it couldn’t be real, this absolutely could not be happening. But the look on her face was all I needed to know it really was.

“Where’s Dad?”

“This can’t be real, is he dying?!”

“Why isn’t Dad telling me he has cancer?!”

Why the hell was I being told outside of a Starbucks?!

It was just me, sitting across from my mom outside a Starbucks, crying my eyes out in public. I felt trapped, I felt like I needed to run, and run fast.

My Dad couldn’t handle telling me, so he sent my Mom instead. He knew she was strong. I give her so much credit for having to be the one to tell me this awful news. She still loved him and after my whole “break down“ they started to be good friends, but my god, she now had to tell her emotional-as-fuck daughter her Dad has cancer.

In the back of my head I already knew: here comes a relapse. But this one, I could actually understand. Because who wants to think about something that is literally killing them?

Mom did her best to explain to me what the next steps were. Scans, radiation treatment, and he would have to have part of his lung removed.

I called my boyfriend and told him to come get me. I was a ball of nerves and tears and I had no idea what to do. First alcoholism; and now cancer. I couldn’t wrap my head around it all. Thinking of losing my Dad, just thinking of how unfair the world is.

That whole summer was bad. My Mom, being the amazing woman she is, took him to all his appointments since he was too drunk to get there himself. She told me recently that she was happy she had been around that summer to help him.

Again… the strongest woman ever! …and again something I didn’t see right in front of me. Her being there when she didn’t have to be.

When I finally went to see my Dad it was depressing. We were sitting out on his screened-in porch talking, but he had been drinking. He wasn’t incoherent but his eyes told all I needed to know.

I kept trying to tell him “You’re one of the strongest people I know, you can beat this!”

Instead of agreeing, all he could do was say the most heartbreaking things. Such as:

Dad: “You better get married now, because I’ll never see you walk down the aisle.” (All said with tears in his eyes.)

Me: “Please Dad, please don’t say things like that. You will be around, you will be okay, you just need to fight.” Tears just dropping down my face, pleading with him to stop talking like it was inevitable that he was going to die.

Dad: “Dan, I’m dying, I won’t be around to see how you grow up, or meet my grandchildren.”

I could go on but I think you get the point. My emotions were so all over the place, I felt like I was going to explode with not knowing what to do. My dad and I… well, I’ve gone through a lot of hating him, to loving him, to loathing him, to love and hate all over and over again but this couldn’t be the way things ended. It just couldn’t be.

The whole family really stood up, taking Dad where he needed to go. My Aunt, who has her own set of issues (but who is wicked smart), did massive research and would come over and just sit with him.

We were all trying to show him what he had to fight for.

There’s so much to tell, and it‘s so hard to try and find the right words sometimes to tell it in the right way. There is a lot more to tell but I think this is where I will end this post.

Life throws wrenches at us when we least expect them. I was always trying to read or look for the signs, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it fucking dropped. (Like it always did.)

Tears run down my face as I write this, because life is unfair, and when you’re young and lost, each blow feels like a bomb imploding in your stomach. How many more bombs had to go off for us? How many?!

One Reply to “The Deadly “C” Word”

  1. 😥beautifully expressed as always. I still can’t believe this happened to him/us. There has to have been a reason we will eventually understand, just not in this lifetime.

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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.