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A Fathers Lesson

Posted by in Grief and Loss
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In 1987, my first daughter was born. This was one of the greatest days of our lives. We called my Mother and Father to tell them the news. Next we called my wife' s Mother and Father, and then we called everyone we could think of. { NOTE: The internet wasn't ready yet.}

I remember sitting in the waiting room with my Father. I felt so secure and strong just knowing he was there with me. He would doze off and take a nap every so often as the two of us waited to go inside and see my new family member. I could tell he was very tired. I thought, man he must have had one heck of a tough week to be this tired.

It wasn't long after that day he told me he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Bladder Cancer, and had been under going treatment. He told me it wasn't the worst stage and that the doctors are sure they can cure it with a little more time.

All I said was, "Oh Thank God. Well Dad, let me know if there is anything I can do to help."

Later my Mother called me at work and asked if I could meet her at the hospital. I said I could after my shift was done. When I finally met with her she told me that Dad would need to be driven to Iowa to get more treatment. She explained that the doctors there are specialist, and that I shouldn't worry because they will fix Dad right up.

Shortly after that day, my mother called me at work again. She asked if after work I could stop by the farm. My heart stopped beating, and I took a slow breath and told her that I would be right up as fast as I could. As I drove the tears filled my eyes and the fear set in.

When I reached the drive way I could see several cars. I parked in the yard and ran into the house. My Mother was busy helping Dad move in his bed so he wouldn't hurt so bad. Close friends of my family were there to comfort her. My Mother was so polite to everyone, but I could tell she was about to break down. I asked the guests if they could leave us alone tonight, and told them we would call them as soon as anything happened.

She asked me to sit with my Dad as she took a bath. Dad would wake up for a little bit and talk with me as if nothing was wrong. I would choke back the tears and talk with him until he fell off to sleep again. Once he asked my why I was crying. I told him it was because I knew he was going to die. He took my hand and held it tight and said, "Don't you fear my death. I will be just fine. You need to stay here and help the others get through this." Then he smiled and fell back to sleep.

At around four in the morning my Mother woke me and said, " Honey, Daddy is gone now. You should come down stairs and help me with things." She was so calm and peaceful as we set about the task of contacting the police to come. I sat along side the bed watching out the window to the road waiting for the hearse to come. I wanted to be with his body until the very end.

I will never forget that night. I never have gotten over the fact that he didn't seek help from the doctors sooner, but I understand how he felt now. After I was diagnosed with bladder cancer I could only think "How do I tell the children".
But after going through it with him I knew to be calm and straight forward. Show them how this is to be done and let them know just what they should do.

But most importantly tell them you love them. Because in the end that's all that really matters.

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