I never had a good feeling when this all began. I felt the threat of the “C-word” looming over all of us that day in the walk-in clinic. I felt it so much that I even pulled the doctor aside, away from my Dad, away from my Mom.. To protect them. To protect them from the “C-word” , as if hearing the word alone would make it a reality.
I watched my dad closely as he was stretched out on the gurney. His face swollen. I listened to the wise cracks of my sister, trying to lighten the mood, but deep down I knew. I knew when we left the hospital, leaving my dad behind as he was to stay the night. I knew as we drove to Gregg’s for a late night meal as none of us had a chance to eat earlier, being that we spent the day in the hospital with my dad. I knew the day after when he was out of surgery and told us that they didn’t take the infection that was making his face swell, that they took biopsies instead. I even knew before I got the phone call today to meet with my parents.
“Come to the house”
“what?! Why? What’s-“
“just come over”
Even though I knew all along that it was the dreaded C-Word, I can honestly say that it still did not prepare me for the rush of emotions I had when I actually heard the word spoken by my father.
My father said it. He said the word. My mothers eyes red from crying, immediately teared up again, as did my fathers.
My father was crying
My father was actually crying. The only other time I ever saw my father cry was after the death of his own father. This isn’t good.
Even though my tears had been falling before I even arrived, they fell freely now, as we all sat and cried. My father struggling through his own tears to point to my daughter and I saying “No tears, no tears”.
My daughter is the epitome of grandpas girl. She calls him Gepa for short or “The Geep”. She is extremely close with my father, and I watched as her little heart broke in two, tears streaming down her face. If anything I thought she would be stronger than I, she is extremely thickskinned, much like my dad, but even that couldn’t save her from the overwhelming fear and sadness we all felt.
What did they say?
What do we do?
Everything is so vague. We know the type of cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma), and that it is extremely rare where he has it (left sinus), but that’s all we know. We have to wait on an MRI that will determine whether my father, my daddy, will be ok.
After the news we all just sat in silence. Not knowing what to say, or what to do. I had to hug my father, I had to tell him I love him. I didn’t want to stop hugging him, he looked so scared, so defenseless. We all just sat there, then repeated the talk when my sister arrived. I watched her immediately start to cry, and it surprised me. My sister is usually like a rock, but she broke down.. And we all cried again. We cried until our eyes burned, our heads aching, and yet we cried some more. As I write this now, I’m crying.
I see my fathers life flash before my eyes, or at least his life with me. Our game nights playing mousetrap, nerd golf, and watching the Rocky movies. Him surprising me and taking me to the movies to see “Masters of the Universe”, the fun we had on our trips to The Enchanted Forest and New Hampshire. I was such a Daddy’s girl growing up, and I still am.
We all agreed that we live life as normally as possible these next few days until we know for sure what will happen. As my father said, “Day by day”. It’s hard to imagine going about life normally now, especially knowing this information, but for my dad, I will. My days will resume as normal, but I will also be silently praying.. Every minute of every day, that God gives him a chance, and we get good news.
Until then, “Day by day…”