This has been a post that I’ve been dreading. One that I actually never thought that I would have to write; regardless of the circumstances that we’ve been under. In fact, as I sit here typing each key slower than normal, I still can’t believe it’s real. All that has happened, and all that is happening.
As most of you are well aware from following along with my blog, my dad has been battling a rare form of nasopharynx carcinoma for the past 3.5 years. We’ve had some dramatic ups and downs, rough patches we call them, but he’s always managed to come out on top. Back in 2011, we were given a “clear bill of health” and told that the cancer cells were under control. He was “cancer free” – although we all know you have about 5 years until you can breathe easy. In 2012, my dad was re-diagnosed as the tumor grew back, this time into the bone of his spinal cord although it didn’t spread throughout. It was so hard to watch this roller coaster that he was on, and even harder to feel helpless.
2012 and 2013 were some of the toughest years throughout this process. Different treatments of chemotherapy were tried, some effective, some not. This last time, things seemed to be going as well as they could. In November, during one of this 3 month MRIs, we found out that the tumor had been stable. This was amazing news, and we all found a reason to celebrate. Thinking back on that day, I couldn’t have even fathomed that this would be my new realty.
On Tuesday, December 17th, my dad lost his battle to the cancer he had been so bravely fighting. The details, while fresh in my mind, are so intensely personal and hard to even describe – so I will be keeping them close to my heart, rather than sharing them all here with you, my sweet readers.
What I will say, is that it was fast, and something none of us had expected. While it was the most traumatic thing I have ever been through, I am so grateful that our family was together – surrounding him throughout all of this – a hand never leaving his side. I told him everything I’ve ever wanted to say. I let nothing slip through my fingers. He knew I adored him. I knew he adored me. Our bond was so special, and still.. as I sat there next to him when he took his last breath, my hands wrapped tightly around his, my life was forever changed. My heart, torn. There is nothing worse that I have experienced, then the loss of my dad.
I am only 28. We had so many plans – things to do and see together; conversations to have. We had my wedding to look forward to, and the birth of my first child. Things we always talked about, and things I just always knew he would be around for. My dad was supposed to be in my life for the next 20+ years. Never was any of this supposed to happen. But it did. This is my life now. We lost the greatest man that we’ve ever known. And soon.. not quite yet.. we are to resume living as best as we can.
Grief will come and go. It arrives when it wants to, and shuts down when it wants to. Sometimes I miss him so much that I feel like I will never recover. Like I can’t breathe. That I’ll never have the strength to be happy again. Other times I’m desperate for my family and friends and cling to their support, knowing that my dad would want me to be okay. That he would need me to be okay. Sometimes, I’m just plain angry. Angry that I will never feel his hugs again. I will never see him walk through the door with the biggest smile on his face. I will never see his name appear on my phone, nor will I ever be able to hear his voice. But I will write to him. Every single night. I will tell him about my days as if he is just away on a trip. After all, that’s what it feels like. The permanence has yet to set in all the way.
One thing I do know, is that my dad was a proud father. He told me again and again with my work that he was my biggest fan – after all, he was my encourager to begin this photography business of mine. I owe him everything. So with that, I know it is honoring him that I continue to not only produce work, but to produce amazing work. To not only bring forth good customer service, but to really INVEST in my clients as people I truly care about, the way he did his clients. To continue with this blog that I love so much that gives me such an escape, and to tell you all again and again, just how thankful I am for all of you.
You’ve all been behind me throughout this journey. You’ve come along during the hardships of his cancer and our families sadness, and you’ve celebrated with us in good news. So although I write to you with a heavy heart to tell you of the devastating loss of my dad, I know I’ve got support every which way I turn. For that, I’m forever grateful.
Forever changed to the core. Forever missing you. Forever your baby girl.
Love you so, my daddy.
December 27th, 1949 – December 17th, 2013