My dad has terminal cancer. He was diagnosed 4 years ago. He did the chemo and radiation and whatever necessary to extend his life, but now, there’s nothing more to do.
I’ve written already about my dad and I’m sure I’ll write more, but this is specifically about the things I’ve learned when we knew there was nothing left to be done.
He’s quite literally dying. Some days, he wants to fight for all 6 months he’s been given.
Some days, he’s tired of all of it and wants to sleep eternally. And, he doesn’t know or like it, but I understand that feeling. I also understand the fight.
Dad and mom both taught me to fight. Dad and mom both made me believe there’s no use in fighting. Dad and mom both gave me tools for fighting and for dying, but, it’s not about me.
My dad is dying. Cancer has overtaken his liver, lungs, and bones. He’s in a nursing home now. And the first thing dad has taught me while dying (but, certainly not the most important), is that “nursing home” is a horrible way to define care for people. They are people confronting horrors like incurable cancer. “Nursing home” is far too cliche. It needs to be called something like, “the final fight home” or the, “I’m not dead yet, treat me with respect” home.
Someday, I’ll write about what I thought of the “nursing home”, but not today.
As of today, I’ve learned that real connections are far more important than fake ones. My dad has visitors every day. Of course, this also means that people are too busy unless you’re dying to come and see you, but people have lives.
I’ve learned that no matter your circumstances, you can always brighten someone else’s day as I’ve watched him make friends and connections in the “nursing home.”
I’ve learned that with simple kindness to others and wanting to be a light in their lives (instead of expecting someone to be a light in yours), you can live forever in peoples’ hearts.
The words spoken by my dad when asked how he was when he knew he was dying.
He used to say “wonderful.”
Now, he’s “almost.”
To be continued….,