Something You Carry With You Always
I lost my dad to non-hodgkins lymphoma May, 1998. Then, my mom died from lung and brain cancer. Shortly after, my dear aunt died from colon cancer. It is hard to watch the people you love slowly suffer to death. I was 18 when my dad died, and I had to quit school to be his in-home care provider. He suffered thru multiple major surgeries, including a bone-marrow transplant. My dad was my hero. When I was 11, he went into treatment and became clean and sober. Then he went back to college and became a domestic violence/drug & alcohol rehabilitation counselor. He had just got recognition in the community for the advances he was making in his field. I could not have been more proud of him. Then he got sick and he just kept getting sicker and sicker. He had lymphnodes removed, his spleen removed, even his prostate. He had a very selfish spouse who was not the type of support system that he so desperately needed. Even tho I took care of my dad, giving him his injections and medications and changing and cleaning him....we didn't talk a whole lot about stuff. We had a couple deep heartfelt conversations, but mostly we tried to distract ourselves in anyway possible. Watched a lot of comedies...read joke books and such. Played with the dog. Then dad went up for his bone-marrow transplant. Of his 6 bros and sisters...ALL were perfect matches! This isn't too common, and it was a big hurrah for us. My dads oldest brother wanted to be the donor, because he was my dads big brother. He still feels like he could have done more some how, but the sacrifice he made is so special to me even to this day. After my dads transplant he was actually declared "cancer free". He had zero immunity tho, and his wife insisted on taking in stray cats...and she refused to go thru the stringent cleaning (handwashing, etc) that they required in the cancer ward. My dad contracted a yeast infection from her, and it resulted in pulmonary embolism and successive organ failure. We had to take him off life support. His wife climbed up on his bed and sat with his head in her lap and wouldn't let any of us kiss him good-bye or anything. He fought even tho they said he wouldn't.....it was the hardest thing to watch ever. I felt like if I lived thru the experience I could live thru anything. I did what I could. I held my dads hand that was tied down to the bed, and I told him to go be free. I know he did. It still hurts to this day tho. Sometimes its hardest when I think about how much he would have loved to see me have my kids. I try to keep him in their lives by telling them stories about him.
I lost my Mom to cancer in 2002. She had lung cancer from smoking and it quickly spread to her brain. Amongst other problems she ended up having an aortic aneurism burst and she bled out after 21 hours of surgery. My mom was the worlds best mom. I say that with the utmost respect to all moms everywhere, being one myself. She was the most selfless person you could ever know. Her heart was bigger than anything of this earth, and she ruled with an iron fist. I adored her, and I can only hope to be half the mom she was. Mom didn't want to tell me she had cancer, because I had been selfish and told her that if I ever found out she had cancer it would kill me (after losing my dad). When she finally told me, she died 2 weeks later. What I wouldn't give to just have one more afternoon with her.
My Aunt Dean was really old when she finally passed on, 98. She was a cancer survivor of 10 years before the colon cancer finally got her. She proudly served in the service for most of her life. She outlived 5 husbands! Her 6th husband died shortly after her, most likely of a broken heart. He loved her dearly and every moment without her was painful for him. I admired my Aunt Dean a lot. She was a very strong, independent woman who loved nature, and never gave up.
I have to say that as a result of losing these people in my life, my only family -- I carry a huge fear of loss, losing someone else I care about. I know there is nothing I could do about these things, but the uncertainty keeps me up at night sometimes. I sure miss my mom and dad and aunt. As I'm sure everyone here misses their loved ones who were so unfortunate. My thoughts are with you all.