I haven’t really talked online a ton about my father’s health, but it has been failing for a while. He was diagnosed with lung cancer sometime last year, and it’s been pretty much downhill from there. In the past few months, he has been in and out of the hospital and learned that the cancer had spread to his brain
When Noah was still in utero, my daily prayer was that he wouldn’t be born on the day my father died. That prayer was answered, but now the inevitable is on us, and I’m not sure that it hurts any less. I have an 11-day-old son who is dependent on me and Bobby for everything. My dad was diagnosed with an antibiotic resistant staph infection a while back, so seeing him is basically out of the question, even if I could muster the strength. Those of you who’ve had children know how those first few weeks are.
One of the more heartbreaking things in the past few weeks has been my mother recounting telling him she’d been to Tuscaloosa for Noah’s birth. He told her he needed to apologize to me because he’d promised to be here. I hope he knows I wasn’t mad at him. And that I feel the same about not being there for him as he’s moving from one life to the next.
I sent Amy, my oldest sister, a picture of Noah by text to show him so he could at least see his grandson. I wish I’d thought of it sooner because my mom said she wasn’t sure he even understood what it was. But, again, I can hope.
I’m so thankful for the time I got to spend with both my parents before my dad’s health declined too much, when he still knew me and was just as ornery as ever. I’m glad I was able to let him know how much I love him through my teary insistence that I wanted him to do everything he could to get well (specifically go to an inpatient rehab) so that he could be around to see his grandson grow up.
At the same time, that makes it tougher, because I really did care, despite not having been as close to him as I would’ve liked. Our relationship was complicated … too complicated for a blog post, but I think I’ve finally come to terms with some of its complexities.
Bobby, Noah and I may make the trip down this weekend. It’ll be hard for a number of reasons, but I really would like to be with my family during this time. It’ll be impossible not to think about my dad, but when I get sad, I simply try to imagine him sitting down with my Pawpaw and Granny, maybe with his friend Mac who passed better than 10 years ago, sharing a meal or sitting on the river’s edge, swapping tales of who caught the biggest fish here on earth.
I somehow think that’d be his version of heaven.