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Browsing Tag: pancreatic cancer

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…

Eight Years

Last Saturday, the 16th, marked eight years since my dad died, and as is now typical each spring, April always makes me feel a bit…strangled. I can’t see the blossoms open on the pear trees in this valley where we live without thinking of walking out of the hospital that day, after a week of watching and waiting and crying and waiting some more, to see that spring had happened while we were in the otherworld of the ICU. As most of you already know, it was almost exactly a year later that David’s dad died after another battle with disease, after a car accident. April? Not the best memories lately. I’d wanted to go to Arlington with my mom to visit my dad’s grave this year. But life, or really, a kids’ soccer game, and the dog, and all the other tiny details of a Saturday in the suburbs got in the way, and we ended up walking around the grotto of Mt. St. Mary’s University instead, quietly talking our way along the mountainside, stepping in between shadows and sunshine as we slowly moved under the…

Because I Have to

One of my biggest regrets was that my dad didn’t hold Saoirse the day she was born.  I’ve told you this before, I think? Dad was there, all right, in my recovery room as soon as we were allowed visitors after her birth. He was bundled up in his winter coat with a scarf wrapped around his neck because the chemo made him so, so cold, but I didn’t let him hold her. He’d been at the hospital for twenty-four hours, waiting for me to have the baby who wasn’t in a hurry to come out, even though he was in pain and should’ve been at home, in bed, sleeping. I don’t remember if he was the first one to enter the hospital room after she was born, but he’s the first one I remember seeing. I made a point to remember that moment, remember his face, the way he carried his body, because I guess I knew I’d never see him greet another one of my babies. But I didn’t let him hold her. The nurses had scared…