September 5, 2015 was one of the worst days of my life. It was the day I found out my dad had “it.” The word I expected but didn’t want to face.
Stage 4 in his lungs, bones, and spine. A week later we were told he had about six months left with us.
A half of a year.
He was only 55. People nowadays can live to be over 100.
How was it possible that he was only going to live half of a life?
They were going to be releasing him from the hospital so he could be comfortable at home. The house he and my mom had bought when I was only 11 months old. Where his heart had lived for about 25 years. Where he belonged.
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I started making a list in my head of all the things we were going to do in that six months. It was such a short time but yet enough to make an impact. Enough for him to “go out with a bang.”
We were going to shoot off fireworks in the alley. We were going to get out for at least one more ride in his old T-bucket hot rod. We were going to take family photos in front of his fireplace.
Maybe we’d make it to a Carlos O’Kelly’s where he used to take me on daddy/daughter dates when I was in high school.
All of it.
Anything he wanted.
The sky and his physical ailments were the limits for that six months as far as I was concerned.
He came home from the hospital on Wednesday, September 16, 2015. Hospice care got him all settled into his new normal.
He only lived another day before the sky turned gray. He took his newly prescribed dose of methadone on Thursday morning before taking a nap that his exhausted body desperately needed.
He slept all day and into the night. He slept until the next morning when his body decided to sleep forever. I had jokingly told him goodnight, but I didn’t tell him goodbye before he went down for that nap.
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September 18, 2015.
Two weeks. Not six months.
I thought of how busy I had been in the six months before his diagnosis. Not as busy as I believed I was at the time. Not as available as I would have made myself if I knew what was going to happen, especially that quickly.
Hindsight is always 20/20.
If you’re reading this, I’m giving you that 20/20 sight now.
Think about what’s actually important in your life and adjust whatever changes you need to make. Analyze your priorities today not tomorrow.
Grief is always difficult but adding specific regrets and missed moments on top of it can feel unbearable for quite some time.
Time is not always what it’s supposed to be.
Make the best and most of every day in case six months turns into two weeks.
Or two weeks turns into tomorrow.
Don’t just start your list . . . live it.