I’ve always wondered if it would be better to know you are dying or to just go unexpectedly. If you had asked me that question before this July I probably would have said it would be better to just go suddenly and painlessly.
I don’t think I agree with that anymore. Learning and realizing that my father has a finite number of days left has been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to accept. It has also been a gift for which I will forever be grateful. I moved away from home in 2003 and over the past 10 years I haven’t exactly visited as often as I should have. I’ve missed a lot of special occasions and family dinners. I have been given the opportunity to try to make up for lost time the best I can. I will not miss another birthday or holiday, and I will spend as many weekends with my parents as I can while I still have them around. Dad may surprise us all and beat this cancer, against all odds. Even if that happens I will be sure to not miss any more holidays.
Yes, I now feel that knowing that my father is dying is a gift.
I don’t know if he sees this as a gift or not. I honestly don’t know how I would see it if I were in his position. I would like to think I would see it as a blessing, and even more so, I would like to think he is grateful for this time. Truth be told, I don’t know that he sees it that way. I know he is enjoying all of the love that is surrounding him during this time, but I also know he takes anxiety medication regularly these days. He smiles and speaks of happy things. Even his eyes are smiling, but I can see the sorrow hiding behind them and it breaks my heart for him. I know this will be a difficult year for me, but I cannot begin to imagine how hard this is for him.
So, gift or curse? Definitely a gift for family, but for the patient? I think a little of both, maybe.
P.S. Cancer sucks.