How do you prepare for loss?

Finding out one of your parent’s has stage 4 cancer prompts pretty much all the emotions. It breaks your heart, terrifies you, and it pisses you off.  I found myself immediately trying to remember every detail about Daddy. Every memory and every story I could ever share about him. Imagining a world without him however, is nearly impossible and not something I am prepared to do. Lord, I beg for your mercy and peace through this.

Stage 4 live cancer- inoperable due to location of the tumor and has began to spread into his lymph nodes.

Devastated. Even now, six weeks later as I type and read this sentence on his life- I am in tears and completely scared of all he’ll endure.  Scared of how I will ever survive when he’s gone or how I will miss him so much I can’t function.

It’s impossible to learn something like this and not start although premature, to grieve the loss that will come. To find yourself thinking about how things will go and praying for a miracle. For God to extend his life through the Chemo pills he’s started long enough for him to have a chance.  This comes in waves honestly and hits me a lot when I am driving or in the car.

Mainly I try  instead to memorize each moment with Daddy.  To memorize each time I’ve hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.  The memories flood into my mind often- almost as if I am scared I’ll forget them when he is no longer walking on the earth.

So many times as a little girl I sat in my bed room in the middle of the night yelling “Dad, Dad, Daddy” and he finally come and ask me what’s wrong and I would say- “I’m cold.” So he would turn the heat up.  Going to the grocery store with Daddy and I was maybe 8 and we were in the check out line. Daddy knew people everywhere we went and of course he knew the cashier. I remember standing next to him hugging him and hearing him tell her, “this is my baby girl, she’s my baby.”

I swear my heart literally hurts remembering this- so precious and so difficult to feel it y’all.

The 892 times we were short on bill money but, he’d buy me a pair of those way cheap plastic high heels that would inevitably break in a week at K-Mart.

The time we took a trip to Busch Gardens and all of us wore matching NEON t-shirts and shorts. We drove up and checked into a hotel. We walk inside and Daddy stumps his tow on the night stand and got so mad. Mom, me and my sister laughed to tears and it only annoyed him more . Hahaha.

Daddy is a painter- he painted houses for my entire life and lots of other cool things, he could stand on the highest ladders and stand dangerously to get the perfect stroke on the wall. When I was a kid he’d always bring us something home from the job sites. He painted my 2nd elementary school and brought me home a protractor. It was the best thing I’d ever seen. He’s also the best painter I’ve ever known and seen in action.

He loves Thunderstorms and rain- as do I. I remember standing with him right at the front door as a little girl watching these storms coming in and was never scared, because Daddy was right there.

I remember  we’d always watch scary movies on Halloween for my birthday. The way every year on my birthday he’d call me first thing in the morning and wake me up to say Happy Birthday, daughter.

I remember him and my uncles wrestling in the living room with us sometimes when Mama was gone. It never failed something got broken and we’d rough house way too much.

I remember the look on his face when he’s lost in thought about this Cancer. I cannot imagine what he thinks and feels- I can only pray for peace and courage for Daddy. The emotions come in waves and knock us down some days.

I remember the many mornings he made us breakfast- usually sausage and him teaching me how to cook an egg over easy. I was so excited because I sincerely never knew how he did it until that day.

So many recipes I’ve watched him make and tried to recreate. I remember hearing him tell the story that my sister was born and appeared in the mail box & I was caught one day when he was fishing.  I could hear that story over and over again and loved it.

I remember so many times he snored so loud he woke himself up and I thought it was so funny. He’ll never know how many times  I watched him sleep (still do). The difference is I study his face now and soak it up. I pray for his heart to know the Lord and feel peace only He can give him. I pray for courage to fight and battle. I see him carrying the weight of the world in his mind.

Daddy has a smile that changes your mood. He has a voice that makes me smile.

It’s so hard to see him some days seem so broken down and worn. He’s 60 years old. He found out his cancer was stage 4 the day before he turned 60.

He’s always loved sweets- chocolate and coconut are top. Watermelon and grapes- bananas. It’s strange how I can see how much his cooking influences my recipes when I am making something up. Our parents behaviors and quirks weave into parts of our own lives and we don’t even recognize it. To this day I won’t drink water or anything else unless it’s super cold and FULL of Ice. Daddy, is the same way.

I remember when I was 14 and got into this horrible car accident. Mama & Daddy were divorced and it was a horrible wreck- obviously the Grace of God I survived. Daddy was there every day- more than anyone. He brought me ice cream sundaes and biscuits from Hardees.  He loved me completely during that week y’all.

I am balling at this point because as I said, it’s impossible not to grieve even though he’s still with us. Everyday I speak to him on the phone or in person I am always aware it could be our last. I always tell him I love him and I pray for tomorrow.

He started taking oral chemo pills a few weeks ago and he’s on a very low dose but, we pray that God will make the cancer stop spreading and reproducing and spare his life as long as possible. We pray that God would give him peace and ease his pain. I find myself sad or angry at God often but, it’s only because I am selfish and I would obviously never choose this for Daddy or anyone else.

I remember him watching the Nascar race every Sunday. Seeing him watch so intensely and (laughing as I type this next part) I remember the time he asked me to make banana pudding and I did but, never put the bananas in. He still makes fun of me for that.

 

There were so many times he told me a story or a joke that made me laugh to tears. So many goofy moments that I long to see in his face again.

 

So, now that you know what’s been new with me as of very recently in this regard- I would love your prayers friends. Prayers for strength, healing, peace & joy for Daddy. Prayers that this Chemo Pill will work to keep him from getting sicker and that he will have a desire to fight and not give up. Please pray for my sister and me as we navigate this journey and love him well and serve him even when we’re overwhelmed and exhausted. Please pray that we’ll be strong and trust God and grow closer through this trial vs fighting over the kinds of things that tend to be stirred when you face such a battle.

 

Pray that we’ll surrender our fears, worry & sadness to the Lord. Pray for Daddy to overcome and enjoy life.

 

Thanks for letting me share and thanks for committing to keep him in your prayers.

 

All my love, Jennifer

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. Amy Medley says:

    A good article to share, sis. I remember dad drove 4 hours to SC to see me and boys just to bring my check. He wouldn’t mail it out. He was always there for me and boys when we need him or something comes up. Also, I remember dad came down visit with me and boys in SC and we went to eat at NASCAR Cafe. It was a good time. I remember the wrestle with dad in the living room for laugh and fun. I remember dad was teaching us how to ride a bike outside on the yard. Yea, when I was little girl, I remember sometimes when I have a bad dream, and screamed. Dad comes in to see what’s wrong and bring me water. Also, I remember when I was little, probably 10 years old or so, I showed dad the magazine of the closet shelves that I want for my room (the one with rainbow wall) and dad said okay then I was gone at school for a week and come back on the weekend, saw the shelves in my closet pretty much like the magazine. I loved it. I remember he’d change up wallpaper in my room, I remember a smurf thing then a rainbow. He taught me how to cook an egg over easy too. He’s the best cooker for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and some basic desserts like banana pudding. I miss his cook. Dad always does the goofy dance. I think a lot of things he did for us or when we were together. Looking back at this made me know dad loved his girls. I pray that he is going to live for many years, if possible. <3

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