On The Death Of My Father
For those of you who may not know, my father lost his battle against lung cancer on July 6th. He was 66. I don’t want your condolences, they mean nothing to me. I just want to share my experience of his death with you.
Two weeks after his best friend, 15-year-old Black Labrador-Australian Shepard, Riley, died, my father had an appointment with a primary care physician. His back hurt and they took an x-ray.
In reviewing the x-ray, his doctor diagnosed my father with stage IV terminal lung cancer. That appointment was 51 weeks ago, and by the time that appointment had ended, we had learned that the cancer had already metastasized throughout four or five vertebrae, his hip, adjacent to his aorta, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) his lung. In a follow-up scan, it was also found in his lymphatic system, stomach. Toward the end of his life it was discovered in his brain. That was the hard part.
My father fought bravely and heroically every fucking day for months, and months, and months. He endured numerous treatments (Radiation [which left him nauseated to the point of anorexia], Chemotherapy [which by sheer exhaustion prevented him from day-to-day activities], and (my personal favorite) ‘Targeted Therapy’ [which resulted in a pulmonary embolism; but their TV commercial said that could happen, so NBD]. He also ingested innumerable other pharmaceuticals that left him bed-bound for the last 100+ days of his life.
When my father did finally pass, he was comfortable and in his own bed. He was holding the hands of my twin sister and me while his wife looked on from across the room. My sister was holding his wrist and told me that she felt his pulse beating very fast and asked me to check it. I did, and it was. Like, really fast. Like, I’m no EMT, but probably 200+ BPM. And then, almost like a blizzard, it just…stopped.
My assumption is that anyone still reading at this point is sympathetic to what I’ve mentioned above, or at least sympathetic and understanding of my situation, and since you’re one of those people, thank you, and I love you.
There isn’t a moral to this self-indulgent piece of prose. All I can say is that if you find something you enjoy spending your time doing, you should do that. Fuck the rest. We’re all going to get terrible cancers or be struck by buses, and life is too short and unpredictable to not enjoy every fucking second of it.