We found out my dad had cancer 20 months ago. We were saddened by the news, but because it wasn’t very advanced, it didn’t seem real or terribly pressing. He made the decision at the time not to fight it because of his age and his desire to maintain a good quality of life.
Yesterday though, it all got real. As I stood next to my dad’s hospital bed he told me that the doctors had given him a more specific amount of days left. All kinds of emotions came flooding in as my mom and I tried to process this news. I felt stunned. I had no idea how to react. Many of you know how this feels and can recall the exact moments in your life when you heard similar news. It is nothing short of surreal.
During the last 24 hours I have held back tears numerous times. When I talked to my daughters, I tried to remain factual so that I didn’t trigger panic in them. When my mom started to get scared, I held back the tears so that she would be able to rely on my strength. And today, I held back tears as my dad talked to his Palliative Team about my faith and writing because I didn’t want to ugly cry in front of strangers. I decided tonight that I don’t need to hold them back any longer though. This crying is a gift. This crying allows me to feel the sadness and to process the loss that is occurring. It tells my dad that he matters to me and that I love him and will miss him greatly. It supports the emotions of my mom and my girls and says that I’m here, fully present, and you can let go with me and be vulnerable. My friends will also get to see me cry, not to make them feel awkward, but to open myself up to humbly receive kindness and care. My hope is that by receiving this care, others will know that I am available for them when they need it from me too.
Y’all know that being authentic is really important to me. I am no longer able to put on a happy face and pretend that life isn’t filled with a large spectrum of emotions and experiences. And this time will be no different. My blog will be devoted to honestly seeking Jesus while grappling with this grief. I know many of you have been here and I long for your support. I know the last few weeks of his life will be hard as I wade through family emotions, give courage to my grieving girls, love and support my mom in the ways that she needs, and crown my dads life with gratitude and joy.
This journey I’ve just begun demands faithful companions. I hope you’ll join me as I rely on Jesus hour by hour to hold me heart and my hand.