My Dad Died Of Lung Cancer When I Was 13

I think I was too young to understand the severity of the situation. Even as I sat in the doctor's office with my parents when the doctor said he had 6 months to live, I felt no emotion. My father had his second bout of lung cancer in 2003, after having part of his lungs removed. He had been a smoker since his teens, and subsequently developed asthma and emphysema. You'd think that was enough to make a man quit smoking...  I remember when I was little I tried so hard to get him to quit. I used to put the patches on his arm for him.. that didn't last long though.

During his final months, I was a witness to the effects of the chemo and radiation, the nebulizer treatments, and the complete lack of strength to just get out of bed. It's really disturbing to watch anyone go through this process - their body becomes so frail, looking skeletal you wonder how they're alive. What sticks out in my mind when recalling this was my "morning chore" I was asked to do for him. Every morning before school I was supposed to give him a glass of water or refill the cup by his bedside. Sometimes I'd wake up late or felt lazy and I neglected to do such a simple thing. I regret that the most.

He died on the first day of my 8th grade year. I came home and was tired so I took a nap. I was woken up by my uncle who said "wake up - i think your dad's about to pass" - something along those lines. I walked into his bedroom to see his friends and family standing around his bed, my mom at his side leaning in by his ear. I didn't get the chance to say goodbye. I didn't cry. Not then, not at the funeral, not in front of anyone. I kept a diary back in those days. I looked in it to see what I had wrote. "Dad died today." I looked through the pages to find any further mention, sadness, confession - nothing. I found one, five years later with the words "It just hit me." It's funny how the human brain is able to suppress something so... major.

I was really emotionless about the situation when it happened. My new tennis coach had asked about my parents a few days after he had died and I matter-of-factly told him "my dad is dead." The next school day I was sent to the counselor - that makes me laugh. I was too young, barely 13, to even know my father. I find myself trying to learn as much as I about his life before my own memories fade. It's one thing to lose a parent young - I can't even imagine what it would've been like if I had lost him now.

suianimi suianimi
18-21, F
10 Responses Feb 19, 2010

when we are babies our parents are our god and goddess. The center of our world. When we are hungry we get fed, we get wet they make us dry when we get cold they warm us when we cry they hold us and make us feel safe.<br />
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They are love (all of you with crappy parents sorry but for the vast majority this is the way it is)<br />
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Then we grow up and slowly we learn they are not perfect and at times they are totally clueless and helpless themselves.<br />
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My wife died 12 years ago. My daughters were 6 and 9. My oldest cried, she grieved the felt bad when she started to forget her mother's face. <br />
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I keep an altar in our living room and place food in front of it each day for our ancestors.<br />
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My youngest daughter right after my wife died, just looked calm. She poked her mother's face a couple of times and looked at me. I thought it did not affect her. I was totally wrong. It was there deep down and took years to finally boil up.<br />
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I have had a number of lovers over the years whose father's died in the 10 to 14 year old range. I noticed, because I was dominant and experienced and being a knowledge junkie loaded with information, they turned to me as a Father-lover.<br />
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Tell stories and go find people who knew your father, ask your mother, make videos of what they say. Best way is to set up a camera behind you and off to the side a bit and just let it run. Just sit and talk to them, hide the little light, so after a while the camera disappears and it is just the two of you talking you asking questions them telling stories.<br />
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But remember you carry inside you both your parents. You carry inside you many things. Lie in bed and bring them up in your mind. Roll them around and savor them. Let them shine like jewels and get clearer in your mind. If they are a bit 'wrong' don't worry.<br />
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My father often said crappy stuff to me, but I remember all the cool things he did, how much he helped me. Yesterday I was reading out loud about him to a group and tears just came. Totally caught me off guard. It was just a little thing he had done to support me, but wow to cry some 45 years after the event and 25 years after his death was nice, but then I like to cry. I like letting emotions flow. Yes I am a dominant. Yes I do whip my lovers. Yes I am sweet and tender. Yes I am strict. Yes I am many things which seem in conflict. So What?<br />
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You were in shock when you were 13. Your God had been shown to be mortal and flawed.<br />
Now some of that is coming up. Let it come. Cry, laugh feel pissed off and find yourself saying, "You left me you bastard." a minute later, "Oh I miss you and love you." and right after that you'll remember some silly little thing he did with you and be thankful.<br />
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Have it all. I do not worry about healing or any of the other platitudes people spout. Be alive. That means you get to have pain, tears, laughter with tears and ice cream when you are done. You get to look off into the distance and remember, you get to regret and forgive and feel everything you do.<br />
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All a part of being human. Even the crappy stuff connects later on as you look back.<br />
Keep looking, and be interested is the best advice I can give.

Sophrose !! i dont think time can heal what we went though. It hurts equally now asit did then. i think that with time u just learnm how to face it but it will always hurt like hell

I am 14 and i lost my dad in july of 2010 he was my world adn i wass with from the time he found out to the very end. Its hard now i never understood it until the holidays. i guess i was still hoping he would walk though the door and come home, or i would wake up from this nightmare, and a part of me still hopes i will. I guess its easy to say "Hope Floats". <br />
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- morgan clauss

Vicki & Soph... sorry to hear about your losses. Coping is definitely a process, but in time it will be more bearable. You'll miss and think about him daily, but cherish this because his memory will still live on through you. I had no one to talk to when my father passed either, but it's not good to hold those feelings in. If you ever need someone to listen, I can definitely empathize.

My dad died less than a week ago, and I'm 13 and 3/4. He died similarly of cancer but it was different for me, because it hit me a week before he died that he was actually going to die, if you know what I mean. I'm just wondering how long I have to miss him because it hurts like hell.

sorry meant to continue, my dad died when i was 10, i'm now 19, i cried at his death but went to school the next day, i cried at his funeral but gone with my life and almost forgot it. now i think about him most days :( and have no one i can talk to. much love x

that is completly out of order

that is completly out of order

Of course I cared about him. I didn't understand the severity of the situation when I was 13.

Seems like you didn't care about your father...