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Browsing Tag: death

Update from the Brain Cancer Chronicles: Mom’s Almost There, but Not Quite There, and I’m Not Ready for There Anyway

Let me tell you what’s weird in Brain Cancer World. Two weeks ago, when mom’s hospice nurse came to visit, she declared my mom’s condition “status quo, with deterioration.” I think that means, “Still living, but a little less than she was before.” Last Thursday, a day after we visited with Mary and Tim and one of their brothers and sister-in-law, I got a phone call. Everything the day before had been status quo: Mom slept most of the visit, but when she was awake, she was listening and responding. That day, the day after the visit with the family, something changed, and I raced down to her house. The nurse had stopped by earlier, and noticed that Mom’s color had changed. Her lung capacity was diminished, which we knew, but she had what the nurse called “the Look.” It was this Look she didn’t know how to describe but knew well from her work with dying patients. It’s not a good Look, basically. It’s not a Look we’re going for these days. So, based on…

Missing Dad: Ten Years

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the day pancreatic cancer took my dad. It’s a marker I’ve thought about since the very beginning: where would we be at ten years? What would he have missed in that much time? What would we have missed? My dad is as real to me today as he was then. In all unembarrassed honesty, I miss him so much my chest aches. The death of a parent before anybody is ready creates this weird sort of outline where the person should be standing in your life. The outline of that lost person never goes away: it might fade, it might lose its edges a bit now and again, but it’s always there. Every dinner, every holiday, every milestone: the outline, standing there, empty where it should’ve been whole. I missed David’s dad’s anniversary a couple weeks ago (Yes, I just switched gears and mentioned David’s dad. April is a FUN month for our household). His was 9 years, and I hadn’t updated my calendar yet, and the day came and went until the evening, when David mentioned it…

Nine Years

On Easter Sunday we marked the ninth anniversary of my dad’s death (pancreatic cancer doesn’t spare the loving). We joined the family for Easter mass, as always, and we had Easter dinner, as always. The day was filled with its own dramas, its own troubles big and small, as they so often pop up, holiday or not. My brother and I talked about it briefly when he called from the home he shares with his wife in Wisconsin. Something about the symbolism of the Easter anniversary. The depressing aspect that yep, Dad’s still dead (because despite nine years you still wonder sometimes if it’s just a bad dream you’ve yet to shake off). Jesus is risen, but Dad’s still gone. David’s dad’s anniversary was a couple weeks ago (I’ve said it before: April is super fun around here), and we hadn’t commemorated it “officially”–between David’s travels for work, and then life, it hadn’t happened. Yesterday we remembered Dad and Tom with a quick toast and moved on to the ham, because what…