I don’t want you to die. Not just yet. But, I don’t want you to suffer either. Oh, and I love you.
You are sick. Sick with Stage 4 Lung Cancer and the prognosis is not good. Right now we are getting into the guts of it. Starting treatment and facing the rollercoaster of feeling sick as a dog, and yet, facing that challenge at a chance to prolong life for just a little while longer.
I have been afraid you would die nearly my whole life. With your heart issues, there was always a fear any time you weren’t feeling well. I guess that fear just never took hold too much. It might have been my own sense of invincibility, but I venture to bet that it was much more you and your strength and heroics.
You see, you have always been my hero. Well, always except for right when you and mom started dating and maybe not when y’all told me you were getting married. But, since the days when you were bringing mint chocolate chip ice cream over and once you told me that I could be in the wedding, well, since then you have been my hero.
You have been the man ensuring we had a strong sense of responsibility. You have been the man ensuring that we had a deep sense of self-worth. You have been the man cheering us along on the side lines. You have been the man teaching us how to run faster, throw harder, read more and live better. You have been the man teaching me life lessons since I was old enough to learn them. You have been the man guiding us through heartbreak and happiness.
You have defined unconditional love for me. You have defined parenting for me. You have defined how to love a spouse, how to work hard, how to play hard, how to do instead of try. You my daddio are my hero.
I want you to know I am not ready for you to die. I don’t know if I ever will be. There is just something about your calm demeanor and your unwavering support. I am not ready to trudge through life without your advice or your hugs. I am not ready to venture through big decisions without your counsel. And I am not really ready to grow up, I still feel like a little girl who needs her daddio.
I want you to know, more importantly, I am ready to support you 100% through this process. I am ready to put my selfish desires on the shelf and roll up my sleeves, listen to your deepest wishes and support you.
For now I will cherish all the moments. I will sit quietly while you share your memories. I will snuggle in a little closer to get a better whiff of your cologne. I will prioritize my time valuably so that I can make the most of our time together while we have it. I will make mom laugh. I will take mom to Target. I will come over and talk deep into the night with her so she doesn’t feel alone or weary. I will make sure I crawl into bed before I leave to give you another hug good night (from your Snuggling Pete). I will bring joy and happiness into your home when needed and peace and calm when needed. I will make sure that as we face this season as a family we love better, talk deeper and cherish every moment.
Daddio, I love you.