Tres de Abril, However You Say “2016” in Español

Good morning, all. The sun is shining, the grass is green, trees are budding, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

As you know, my dad has terminal cancer and hasn’t been doing chemo for about 3 months now. His oncologist, I’m sure as part of her job and to give some hope and comfort to a dying man and his family, gave a very generous estimate of six months to a year left to live his life. Since he stopped chemo, he’s been dealing with a great deal of back pain and discomfort. He’s on pain medications and patches, but they aren’t fully taking the pain away, just making it more tolerable.

He tires out so easily; the simple task of doing dishes makes him have to sit down on a chair. Laundry requires him to go up and down the basement steps, so he lets it pile up a bit before he trudges back and forth. Luckily, he can still do these things for the time being, but you can tell it wipes him out. He also yells at me for trying to help, the crazy old man. I get it, though–a dying man’s act of defiance to prove he still has it in him to do these things. And I wonder where my own stubbornness comes from.

He called me yesterday afternoon and I could tell it wasn’t going to be a simple conversation, or just to chat.

Since my last visit to see him, we agreed it was time to set him up with hospice care, which means a nurse comes in a few times a week, checks on him, does vital signs and all that jazz. We also managed to talk him into having someone come in twice a week for “companion care,” so basically to sit and chat or help with light housekeeping. Oh, he was pissed at that, but as his daughter and also medical power of attorney, I strong-armed him into accepting it.

He didn’t have good news, sadly. He said his pain is getting not so much worse, but “different” and he said he is also noticing other changes in his body. He had a frank discussion with his nurse and she bluntly told him, and as he likes to say, “the leaves on his tree are starting to fall.” She told him he may not live to see May, as in he most likely has about a month left to annoy me. (Kidding, of course.)

We have a month left with Dan Valentine Hoffmeyer.

I talked with my brother and sister-in-law last night about this and my brother and nephew are going to drive from Idaho this week so they can spend some time with Pa for one last time. I’m so happy about that. Not for the circumstances that’ll bring them here, but just the fact they’ll be here.

How am I doing? Well, truthfully, I’m oddly okay. I knew his cancer was fucking aggressive, and Dad even said himself that the 6 months timeframe was liberal. And besides, I had my mental breakdown last week, so I’m much better equipped to handle this situation now. It doesn’t make it easier by any means, but it does, kinda.

As I keep saying to myself and my family, it’ll be okay. We’re going to be okay. And we will. The man’s had a good life and he’s ready to go. I’m not ready to let him go, but I don’t really have a say in the matter.

I want to write his obituary, so I’ve been trying to find the words to do so, but nothing seems good enough yet. I’ll keep thinking about it, though.

And there it is, folks.

Thank you for all the love and support so many of you have shown me and my family during the last 15 months. My heart is full and I hope I can bestow the same amount of love to you when you need it.

If there’s one thing I want from all of you, it’s that I want you to tell your family, friends, whomever has been there for you in your life how much they mean to you and that you love them. Please and thank you.

That’s all for today. As always, thanks for taking time to read this.

One comment

  1. Steve Koch · April 4, 2016

    I remember when your family planted new trees from the state on his 20 acres ? Southeast of big D. Be nice to see what it looks like now after all the hard work to make the area a refuge for small animals.

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