So I Gave Him Another Hug
I am 27 and my Dad was diagnosed and died from colon cancer July 2013 three days after his 63rd birthday and just 15 days after being diagnosed. (Two months after my uncle died suddenly. Four months after my Grandma died. 9 months after my aunt tried to commit suicide. 14 months after a childhood friend committed suicide, and two years after my other uncle was successful in committing suicide just two more months after my Grandpa died. Before all this death, I had only ever been to one funeral.)
I remember getting a call at work from my Dad, and he said "Baby, I have some not good news. Your Mom and I are headed to the hospital, my liver is failing."
My first thought was hope or maybe I heard him wrong, and he's okay. I wish I understood.
My husband and I left right away to meet him, my Mom and siblings at the hospital. I'd never seen my Dad sick before. The only time I remember him ever being in pain was when he cut his hand on a broken glass. We arrived at the hospital and sat there waiting for more tests.
Since he was a pharmacist, he knew. He even told us, "I probably have two weeks." I just thought he was being his usual pragmatic self or placing himself in the shoes of so many cancer patients he'd met in his work. I wish I had understood, he'd never lied to me before.
We sat there all day, and the next. He was kept up for hours unable to eat or sleep because of tests that needed him to have an empty stomach. He went to be hungry, and woke up with promises of more tests the next day.
I had only been at a new job for 2 months. So I tried to split my time the next week unknowing that I would have so little time left with him. That first Saturday we went up, and played liars dice, my Mom and him celebrated their anniversary spooning cake to each others. Then it was Monday. Tuesday I worked. Wednesday I learned what chemo was and that my Dad would be starting it the next day -- his birthday.
My sister went on a planned trip, forced into going by my Dad who said he would only consider doing chemo if she went on her trip to South America. He didn't want to cause any lost dreams.
My sister left that day for her trip. I had to go to work the next day. Then it was Saturday, and my brother spent time with my parents that night. My husband and I went up to see my Dad on Sunday.
Between the time I saw him on Thursday to the time I saw him on Sunday he couldn't even walk. He had uncontrollable hiccups, couldn't sleep, couldn't keep down food. I took him for a walk, in his Mom's wheelchair. He loved to be outside, but I'd never realized how much people stare at a perfectly healthy looking man in a wheel chair. His voice was soft, it was hard to hear him. We went back to the house and watched Spongebob. Then I gave him a hug, having to work the next day, I had a thought "this could be your last hug from your Dad" so I gave him a second hug.
The next day he was gone. He went to the hospital, my brother met him and my mom for something small like "he threw up and there was some blood in his puke, but it could have been strawberries." Since I had to work the next day, my brother went. He called around 11 pm and said that we needed to get to the hospital right away.
I saw my Daddy die that morning.
His twin was there with us. My brother and I wept. For the first time, I know what the sounds of wailing feel like and sound like. My sister had to say goodbye on the phone, after rushing and trying so hard to get back, my Dad didn't last the 12 hours that she needed to get home. The nurses removed his wedding ring, and gave it to my Mom in a plastic bottle.
My Dad was an incredible man who loved everyone. Almost everyone in our small town knew him somehow as he had worked in the pharmacy for 40 years.
My Dad was one of my best friends, my husband and I are lonely without him. We used to hang out with him weekly for hours on end. We had planned to take Friday's off all summer so that we could hike and camp with him.