By SUSAN WEBER
My dad had complained of a pain and swelling in his side for several months, and being the stubborn man he was, he refused to see a doctor. I think it was fear as much as stubborness that kept him from the doctor.
He kept telling me (his only child) that it was “just a pulled muscle and only needed some linament”. He hated doctors, and didn’t believe in them, especially after he lost my mom after 42 years of marriage because of what he called a “quack doctor”.
Finally, a friend of his convinced him that he should be checked out. We were not prepared for what was to follow. They did exploratory surgery, and found that cancer had taken over his abdominal cavity, spreading to various organs. Ten days later, he was gone!
I have always heard that once it “hits the oxygen in the air, it’s all over with.” Now I believe that. The family was in shock that he went downhill so fast.
I didn’t have time to say good-bye, or tell him just how much I loved him one last time, although I’m sure he knew that. He stayed sedated on morphine for the last few days of his life, a shell of his normal, active self.
He was an avid golfer, a brilliant computer programmer, and friend to many. He could make you laugh even when you didn’t feel like it. Most of all, he was my “Daddy”, until his dying day.
If you have a friend or family member with cancer, or any other potentially terminal condition, TELL them how much they mean to you.
It’s like that old saying…”here today, gone tomorrow”. I know my father knew I loved him dearly, but I would have loved to have been able to say it to him one more time, and know that he understood me.
I miss him and my mom a lot. Being an only child, I feel like a 59 year old ‘orphan’ now. If not for my own kids and grandchild, I’d be a basket case.
They have kept me sane, and given me a reason to continue on with my own life. And I know that’s what Mom and Dad would have wanted.