Two years ago, my dad lost his 6 month battle with Stage IV Colon Cancer. No matter how prepared you “think” you are, the loss of a parent is heartbreaking. Growing up my dad was this vibrant, physically fit man who was invincible in my eyes. Yet as I watched him slowly wither away, he became unrecognizable. Frail, irritated (well he was always irritated), stubborn (that’s in the blood line), basically not the person I once knew him to be. His illness came like a thief in the night and was too aggressive even for someone in good health to face.
The past 24 months has been a whirlwind and now that my dad’s gone, it still doesn’t seem real. It’s like watching a snapshot of my life and hoping it was all just a bad dream I would eventually wake up from. Through it all, my stepmom and brother were loyal care givers till the very end. They were selfless in sacrificing their own needs to ensure Dad was comfortable with minimal pain… taking him to every doctor’s appointment/chemo treatment, giving him total control of the remote (imagine round the clock episodes on TV land), administering meds, changing sheets, and keeping up with his overall personal hygiene… The list of duties was endless and with my father’s demanding personality, I know it was no easy task.
I wasn’t able to be there or help as much as I would have liked due to my own health issues, running a household, taking care of kids, working to keep my business afloat and in between wondering if my stepmom & brother resented me for not doing more. Then winter brought a revolving door of sinus infections to my house. The few times my family was well enough to do something fun, I felt guilty for enjoying myself while my dad was lying in a bed fighting for his life.