I Lost My Father to Cancer In 1996

My father was lost to cancer in 1996.His name was Francis Jerome McMahon.He was very strong, a metal fabricator,an artist,a master fly fisherman,and he could build flintlock rifles from scratch.He taugh me a great many things.I was much like a Padawan Jedi learner,lol!But in his younger years he was a hellacious drinker and smoked at least two packs of cigarettes a day.Well the drinking continued off and on but the smoking got worse.Later on and this must have been when he first noticed symptoms,he started to smoke marijuana.In 1995 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was put under cemotherapy and later radiation treatments.But the cancer then spread to his throat.The radiation treatments did terible things to his brain.This man who had an IQ of over 120 was reduced to  the intelligence of a child.His wieght which was close to 200 pounds was reduced to 90 pounds.His hair was gone and he couldn't keep down food.Later on because we could not take care of him any longer we had to put him in a nursing home which was one of the hardest decisions we had to make.There must have been some wisdom left in that brain because when we told him this he began to cry.But he wasnt there long on Aug 15,1996 as he lay in bed the nurse asked him if he wanted a drink of water.He said yes .When she came back he was gone.

We buried him a few days later in St.Patricks Cemetary(at least he was surrounded by Irishmen).The VA donated a headstone and we still have his flag.His headstone is engraved with one of his favorite things to do,a man fishing.

In 2006 my sister Jackie was found dead of alcohol poisoning on a park bench in St.Pual,Minnesota.She is now buried next to Dad.

Im glad I never started to smoke.

irishknight1973 irishknight1973
41-45, M
4 Responses Dec 13, 2008

My prayers are with you and your family calamity.

OMG I am so very sorry to read about your father and then your sister. My father is really criticaly ill at the moment and it's terrible to watch. He got something called Guillian-Barre syndrome on the 14th Dec and within a few days, he was completely paralyzed ....was on life-support for weeks; still is - if he survives, he will have to stay in hospital for maybe eighteen months, two years.. no-one really knows - and there has been more than once I thought he wouldn't survive. It happened so fast; seeing him wasting away is awful, too. He is now coming off the ventilator for a few hours at a time cos his lungs have finally started working a bit on their own again. He has never smoked, though, never. <br />
He got close enough for me to be able to imagine what it would be like if he had died: when I was in the ITU sometime early Jan, I think, there was a day, a few hours, when it seemed like he was going. I am so sorry for your losses. I can't imagine you ever fully get over the loss of such close family members. I hope you have the support you need xxx

You lost your Dad the same year and at the same age as me and i know exactly how you feel. x

I am so sorry Knight that these tradgedies touched your life. it's very sad.<br />
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I can feel your deep love for your accomplished Dad in the way you felt like his Jedi student. He must have been extremely proud and thrilled about having you as a son. It's these good times that sustain us throughout our lives. <br />
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I can only imagine the powerlessness you and your family must have felt when no longer able to care for him. My granny died of Pancreatic cancer due to her drinking and it was frieghtening to watch her waste away. thank god she was prescribed morphine to ease her suffering. <br />
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It so hard to see once strong, vital adults become ill, especially when they never expected it, and couldn't stop practising their addictions. May they rest in true peace.