My mom died six years ago from breast cancer. One year after her death, I was sitting in a waiting room as my dad had surgery and I stood in shock as the man in scrubs told me that "a tumor was found, it's big, bad, and ugly...most certainly cancer. But, I removed approximately 4cm of tumor successfully."
Since then, dad went through a very difficult cancer treatment, specifically for the bladder, then he got on track for his regular check-ups, but he didn't quite make it to the five-year cancer-free mark because today he ended up back under the knife. This morning, the surgeon found three areas of his bladder are either very inflamed or have cancer. With some biopsy tissue taken from each section and some cauterizing performed, he is now in the waiting game. We must wait to discover the biopsy results which will probably be available next week sometime.
My dad and I are good buddies. Sometimes, we're such good buddies that I have to remind him that I'm also his daughter and that means I don't want a rush of too much information. Dad's been living as a single man since mom died and doing his best to give a full definition to the term "Bachelor."
However, he is extremely firm about his stance concerning marriage. He never wants to be married again. He feels as if his long marriage to my mother should be the only marriage he enters. After all, he believes he got married to share his life with his wife, to have kids and to eventually have grandkids...he's done all of that through and by his one and only marriage to my mother. At this point, at 66 years of age, he has no desire to be married again, but he does appreciate companionship.
Our mom was definitely our friend. We were like the Three-Musketeers, me, my sister and mom.
But, since mom is gone, we are left with our dad, who does his best to be an involved parent to his three grown children. My dad and I get along with ease. Well, as long as the cigarettes stay put away. For my own health reasons and previous lung collapses, I cannot be around cigarette smoke. Period.
The pre-surgery testing did reveal a problem with a chamber in his heart. It's not beating correctly. He's already scheduled to get his heart shocked back into proper rhythm in a few days and be put on some blood-thinner medications. There was also brief talk about a Pace-maker, if the shock sessions don't help significantly. I think my family is on over-load right now. Too much at one time!
One thing is for sure, I'd like for that ticker in his chest to keep working right because my dad and I are close and enjoy each other's company. My dad is one of the last people left in my history who stands beside me, no matter what. I'm his baby. My sister is his REAL baby, since she's the last one out of the three of us and my brother, well, let's just pick on him and say that he acts like a baby! At least we can laugh about that one.
The smoking is a battle that I hope he conquers. He truly needs to quit smoking. Each day as a non-smoker is one more day free from the chains that bondage. I think it's possible that he could learn to love to be free from lighting up. But, only he can make that change and explore that possibility for himself.
I don't want to have to move forward in life without my dad. I was 36 when my mom died and I'm now 43...I'd like to get further into old age myself before my last parent leaves me behind. Since none of us have any guarantees that we'll make it to the next day, I guess we'll continue savoring every moment we have with each other. One thing is for sure, I'm glad my dad lives nearby because he visits me regularly and I always enjoy our interesting conversations.
My dad is always generous hearted as well. At the moment, Stefie is away at college with our second vehicle, so my dad is letting me borrow his truck. His beloved Chevy truck has over 207,000 miles racked up and it runs like a dream. For my necessary appointments and duties, I've enjoyed driving this old truck as we are contemplating the process of buying another vehicle.
I guess the point is...my dad is my dad. We are always ready to be there for each other. Neither one of us expects the other to be perfect; if he says something "wrong," I don't get hung up on it --- words won't get in the way of our father-daughter relationship because I know my dad loves me with all his heart and that he'd WISH to be able to give me the world on a platter. He WISHES that he could've been the perfect dad, and I wish I could've been the perfect daughter. Since wishes don't always come true, we've learned, with wisdom, to accept one another, to enjoy one another and to know that "I love you" comes in many different forms, if we don't stay too dense to recognize it.
As I get older, I don't want to let sweet chances pass me by for me to make sure that my dad knows that I love him in spite of rights or wrongs or misunderstandings --- I don't cling to any words that come from disagreements, and I'm thankful that he easily forgets the mistakes I've made as well. I only cling to the moments that are tender, fun and beautiful. Those moments are worth hanging onto tightly. We can choose to accept the love we are given, with the imperfections or we can chop up the love by being overly critical and losing focus in life about what is really important and deserving of our attention.
When you lose your focus upon things that really matter and start shoving your expectations on others to the point of being destructive, you begin to lose bits of your own life. It's not worth it. Sometimes, you must let the harmful words and moments roll off of you and don't try to get it back, let it roll away, down the drain, far away from you and from any desire to allow admission in your head. Let it go.
When you know the foundation of love is there, you must overlook much. Believe me, it's usually being done BOTH ways, so don't ever feel high and mighty, as if you are the only one doing the overlooking. The point is, a loving relationship does this for each other. We can decide to build upon our strengths or we can purposefully knock each other down with every bad moment because we're intent on punishing each other. I can tell you that I see some people wasting precious time keeping themselves hung up on he said, she said kinds of things ---- stupid words that should be let go with the wind. The words don't define the relationship, but the person's willingness to hold onto the words to continually wallow in self-pity is a person who has short-changed everyone. Like I said, these things go two-ways. If you let go of a hurt, I promise that you're not the first to do it. But, it's the way to move forward in love and forgiveness so that continued good memories can be made.
In the end, that's often all we're left with. Memories. Either we can do our part to make them as worthwhile and as selfless as possible or we can stifle the memories because of our own stubbornness that results in self-destruction. I'd rather move forward with love and not let myself get hung up on something that might have caused hurt feelings but that did not define the entire relationship. I see too many people around me doing this and I want to shake them so they'll WAKE UP! At the end of the day, we can choose what has importance in our lives and what doesn't merit our ongoing attention.
My dad...I must say he was the man who taught me to have a good time in life and to not worry about what the side-liners think. Live it to the fullest. Let anything hurtful that is said by another so that the words may dissolve instead of becoming solid by your own choice, let it go, and focus on the good parts of love. He taught me to participate in life...to enjoy being in the middle of the celebration.
I sure do love my dad for helping me to try to be a better person.