My dad has stage 4 cancer of the pancreas and liver and for people who want details (mostly boring ones), you can go here.
I’ve written quite a bit about my feelings on the whole deal on facebook too. I know there are a few of you who read here who don’t read there….but I so badly don’t want to belabor the issue. It’s big and it’s real and it hurts. But long medical explanations quickly become monotonous for some of us. And he’s 79 and has lived a joyful and generous life. The family is rallying around him and the neighbors are offering products for healing and bringing in food and flowers and songs. He is back and forth between wanting to get strong enough to take some chemo for prolonged life and telling Mom who he wants to preach his funeral message. I cry sometimes, walk around in a daze sometimes, hug my kids extra tight, and stare out at the northern landscape pondering life and death.
I was able to spend about four days with Dad and Mom last week and it was precious to rub Dad’s feet and back and tummy and bring him another pillow to make him more comfortable. We weren’t a family with a lot of physical affection growing up, so it seems extra poignant now. Time softens and widens us, doesn’t it? Dad feels like his body is a prison and I long to see him soar free. But of course it hurts like crazy to think of letting him go.
I need some lightheartedness today. We’ve all been in a funk after a Very Long Flu and the news about Grandpa and the coming of muddy March, which is almost more than my weak constitution (weather-wise) can bear.
So I’m going to post photos of my children (and their classmates), taken by their cousin Veronica at school.
Speaking of children. We’ve got some tough things going on here with growing up and yesterday I spent the day in town with Bryant. Occasionally we all need a break from the grind of life–maybe especially when we’re 13. We ate lunch at The Chopped Leaf (it’s new to Dawson Creek) and went grocery shopping and finished out the day at Starbucks. He didn’t want me to take a selfie (or technically”usie”…that’s actually a thing) of us with our lunch, but he let me snap a coolish-for-me shot of him at Starbucks with his mocha and their very Starbucks-ish wall mosaic behind him. (Not that I know much about Starbucks. I don’t go there much and it’s relatively new to our town too.) When we got home, I wrote up a goodish-for-me description of teenage life…and unfurling personalities…and becoming…and I posted it on facebook with the picture of him. Knowing the touchy nature of teenagers, I posted it and then quickly went to okay it with him. What I’d written was okay, but there was absolutely no way that I was allowed to post the picture. None, zip, zero. I didn’t even plead very long, deleted the whole thing, nursed my wounded heart, and thought wryly to myself that that in a nutshell is what life with teens is like, that delicate balance between making them face reality and suck it up and grow strong–and the need to respect them as people with big feelings and preferences and deep longings for identity and power. Ok….I sound like I’m trying to be a therapist here and I’m not a very good one.
This is a quote from Alec the other day, “Mom, DON’T let Dad become a grumpy, conservative old bishop.”
Dan isn’t a bishop and doesn’t hope to be one. And grumpy is not a word that would ever describe him.
But I take these warnings to heart.
I have to add when it comes to teenagers that it is just wonderful to come home after being gone for over a week to a clean house and a baked potato dish in the fridge for Sunday dinner and little children bathed and people relatively sane and happy. A big, big shout out to Victoria. She did it with the help of her cousin Hannah–and I know the big boys and other kids pitched in too. She runs a house better than I do. Sorry to brag. She has her limitations too, of course. But I’m so thankful for her.
My brother Kevin’s funeral was 8 years ago this past Monday. He died on the 7th of March and I think his funeral was exactly a week later. I miss him. ❤ He seems closer lately, somehow.
This morning my neighbor Linda Funk was here for coffee and I told her I’m fasting today and would try to especially remember her brother in law who’s so sick with cancer in prayer-especially when I got hunger pangs. Then I felt bad because Jesus talks about not letting other people know you’re fasting and going on with life as usual. They have their reward on earth, those people who want to look righteous. Anyway. At lunch time I was writing about Dad being sick and wanting to get better and also wanting to go home to Jesus. And I was hungry and thought about this rye bread I got for 50 percent off at No Frills. I got hungry enough that I thought maybe God would be gentle with me breaking my fast because my Dad is dying and so I ate two slices with lots of butter and cream cheese. My weakness is very strong today.
I thought I had so much to write today. Then I wrote about Dad on caringbridge. And a little of this and that here. And now I’ve already run out of all the excellent things that were pounding on my brain and I’m remembering the messy fridges, the tomato seeds that need to be started, and the lunch table that isn’t cleared yet.