For nine days in January our world was turned upside down. Everything is a cloud of memory and moments. I cannot believe it can all be summed up in nine days. It all happened far too quickly.
You were gone far too soon.
From day one of chemo to your final breath we only had nine days with you.
I am still reeling from it all and I know I haven’t let it sink in. I catch myself asking a lot of how’s and wondering a lot of why’s, but the constant thought that passes through my head and runs across my heart a thousand times a day is simply “I cannot believe my dad is gone.”
You died nine days after you started chemo.
I’m certain it goes back much further than anyone will ever know. I am certain you knew you were ill for sometime prior to letting the rest of us in on your secret. The day after chemo you mentioned something in passing that will forever sit with me, you told me you had stopped coughing. When I pushed to know more details you said you had been coughing up muck daily for sometime, stuff far worse than simply mucus. It was then I knew you had been sick much longer than you let on and that you knew. You knew time was limited.
You always had a way of knowing. You were insistent on coming to Arizona this winter to be a snowbird. You were concerned with the business of everything and ensuring mom had what she needed and was surrounded by who she needed. You knew this would be your last trip, your final destination living. Once the two of you arrived here safely, that became clear to the rest of us with your cancer diagnosis. We all just thought we had more time.
I don’t know how God decides someones fate, someones timeline. But, I do know I prayed to him a lot about keeping you around longer. I prayed to have more time for mom, for Avery, for me. But, God definitely has the final say. And when it was time, your time passed rapidly.
Chemo started and I think we were all pleasantly surprised with your results. You seemed well. You seemed alert. You went about the first couple days as if everything remained the same. Your routine remained the same. On Thursday everything changed. Your oxygen got low, you fell as you got ready, you broke your back. From that moment on time seemed to change. In some moments it felt like it was passing rapidly, in other moments the clock seemed to stop. There was an emergency room visit, a broke back diagnosis, then your blood pressure dropped too low, then you recovered as you tended to do. Mom brought you home, your pain wasn’t manageable, then you were moved to a hospice hospital for pain management. Saturday we all visited you late in the morning. You were awake, alert, smiling and joking. Everyone felt comforted by your improvement and hearts calmed. We left for lunch…
We returned that evening to hang out a bit and deliver mail. You were sleeping. And you never fully woke again. Sunday we visited you and we were told the nurses saw signs that your body was preparing for the end. We started contacting out of town family and travel arrangements were made. By Monday when we spoke to the hospice doctor we learned it was all just a matter of time. Time was not on our side. Tuesday, time seemed to stop, I felt you slipping away. Your awareness was limited. And then Wednesday morning came. And you passed. Just like that you were gone.
Your presence is missing. It’s missing in nearly everything we do. I miss you. I miss you every single day.