I know I should be commenting on the Kavanaugh situation (and I have been watching and keeping up with it) but, once again, LIFE has thrown something my way that is simply more important.
Last week my father has been diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. We are still waiting on the pathology of the actual tumor in his lung to know what type it is but it really doesn’t matter. On his chart is “non-curable”…. My dad wants to try to extend his life but with quality of life. So it can be a matter of months, a year or maybe by some miracle a few years. It has spread to the brain and on Wednesday he receives a PET scan to verify where else it is, they have found spots in his liver and adrenal glands as well but can’t confirm until the PET scan.
I am with him now. Back in my hometown and spending some quality time with my father. We are going to his morning ‘coffee’ group which consists of 5-8 men, depending on who’s in town, etc. at the College Street Diner, occupancy total 20 tops and mix matched tables and chairs. This is where the men tell it like it is and all the rules of polite communication are thrown out the window. Innocent patrons are thrust into the conversation because of the space and if they don’t like it, well they can leave. My dad loves it.
And the family that owns College Street Diner loves him, which makes my heart full.
We also make sure to make his lunch dates. He has a different friend he meets for lunch every single day. On my first day here we went to one of our favorite places I do make an effort to frequent when I come into town. Pop’s Place in Denison. We sit down for lunch and the manager, Cody, immediately saw on my father’s face something was wrong so I had to take him aside and let him know the news. This is a 6’5″ gentle giant who broke into tears.
We won the ‘lottery’ that day… they do a lunch lottery at 12:30 and whichever table number is chosen Pop’s buys the lunch.
I record these moments and these places because I am grateful to have a peek into my father’s every day life. Already with doctor’s visits and upcoming radiation on the brain, and chemo beginning immediately … I realize how short and precious are these ‘normal’ moments.
That particular day my dad was told it was ‘non-curable’ and we sat in his study trying to accept his fate but not wanting to give in to the sadness and despair that was sneaking into each of our hearts. Once my mom gave in and went to bed my dad sat up with me and began to talk. Honestly, unloading a few things from his past that maybe a daughter shouldn’t hear…but he was grappling with his past. And then he gave me a gift I didn’t realize I needed.
He apologized. I was shocked, “What for?” I asked (though, there are quite a few things I did need him to apologize for but I wanted to know what HE was thinking…) and that’s when he said something that stopped my breath.
“I’m sorry I didn’t keep you away from your grandfather. I just couldn’t imagine he could get past me. I don’t know why…I’m so sorry. I saw him in that bathroom with you, he told me he was helping you go to the bathroom.”
My friends, that is my first memory of my abuse with my grandfather. I was so young, I have often questioned it and now my dad validated it. You might think this is a horrible admission from my dad but, for me, it was a gift. He validated my memory and he admitted his mistake in not being able to accept he allowed a monster to get to his little girl.
My father wept. He wept for other mistakes, for my siblings and what he could’ve done different. I listened. I was present in this important moment and I didn’t try to reason it away or make it better. He needed this to move forward.
In many ways, despite the death sentence, my dad has a gift of getting life in order. He is telling everyone he knows who smokes to QUIT (he smoked for 25 years…stopped in 1982)….he is telling everyone he loves he loves them.
This is our gift. And I’m blessed to have the ability to be with him during this time. He is a good man and he is loved.
Life is precious and God has given you today as a gift. Treat it like one.
Read more about Shannon’s story in EXPOSED and REDEEMED available on AMAZON.