I wish I wasn't new here

My father, only 55, passed away two days ago on Monday. His long journey began last year in September when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. It was treatable, and he received chemotherapy. By February his scans were clean. YAY! My father has always beaten what he said he would. He kept receiving chemotherapy and was supposed to end this December.

Then came August. Then came the lump, the swelling. Another biopsy, another visit but this time to a cancer hospital. His cancer had come back and now it seemed to cover his chest where before it had been but a dot. He needed aggressive chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant. Risky, but my father was in excellent health otherwise. He was to begin those treatments in only a week or two, but we never made it that far.

Confusion came on suddenly, ideas that he was doing things he clearly wasn't. He had difficulty typing (he was in computers for 20 years), difficulty lifting his head to see the screen. He slid down off the couch and could not get himself up. My mother and I had him admitted to the hospital.

October 21 through November 21 was back and forth. In a room, to ICU, back to a room, ICU again. He developed a rare metastases, 1-3%, into his spine and brain. He received major chemotherapy and fought and fought the entire month. Now his white blood count was gone and he was too weak to receive any transplant. So we waited and we hoped. We worked with him to lower his heart rate and up his blood pressure.

In the end, my mother and I stood by this brave and fighting man and watched him decide that enough was enough. We had told him he could go if he wanted to, he was ready. We lost him that morning, too early, but it was a beautiful day.

I'm sitting here now, trying to write an obituary for a man who has yet to see me get married or have children. I'm 27 and I held his hand as he died, just as he held me right as I was born. Something feels so wrong yet so right in that.

I knew from the moment we got the rare metastases news that things could go badly. But no one is ever prepared. I knew my mother would fall apart and I would have to pick up the pieces as we went along. So I will have a time to openly grieve, but that is not now. Now decisions must be made and things must be put in order.

I don't believe that any length of newspaper space could ever truly explain this beautiful man. I'm struggling to include everything that made him so special, though many people will never truly know him.

I realized as I sat here writing, glancing at his name where it says 'died', that it wasn't getting through to me. It feels like an extended vacation because nothing is different in this house except my father isn't around and there are more tears. My mind knows he has passed and it tries to remind me every so often. It seems each time is a shock, as though I didn't realize it yet.

It feels sudden, like when we were told his prognosis. I stare at his office and his things and then my mind says "but he will never sit there again" and I have once or twice double checked myself to be sure that I wasn't lying.

Most of all, mixed with my grief I am angry. I don't know at what, I'm just angry. THIS WAS TREATABLE! HE WAS CLEAR! How do we go from one day perfectly fine - laughing, walking, creating - to this? In one month. One horribly beautiful month. His birthday was last week - it was one of the best days he had since being admitted. Then it all fell apart.

We've found out since, with an autopsy and test results, that the chemotherapy for the rare metastases worked. He was almost completely clear of cancer. His body had been ravaged beyond repair and as hard as he fought, it fought back. He fought right to the very end, even as he was slowly dying.

My father, always going to the extremes, always saying if it was treatable he would fight it - maybe he knew he actually won the battle, he'd beaten his cancer twice, and now that his job was done, he was tired. So we let him go, and he let us go.

Thank you for reading, I know it was a long post but I felt a sudden burst to write and this is what I came to.


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,860 Member
    Megan, nothing can ease the pain of your loss, shock and grief except time. I'm sorry for all your father had to go through, what you and your mom had to witness and for the loss of a vital life.

    I'm glad you could be there with him and for your mother. This is something that not all people get the chance to do.

    Many people will post on here and share your grief. As you go through these next few days, weeks and months, and, eventually, through the years, know that your father was blessed to have a daughter like you and undoubtedly knew it.

  • grandmafay
    grandmafay Member Posts: 1,633
    I am very sorry that you are here, too. Your anger is a part of your grieving. It is one of the stages that most of us feel. Sometimes we even cycle back to it. Right now, you are probably in a fog. That is called the fog of grief. You do need to grieve. Give your mother support. As a mother, I know how important that support is. My sons were, thankfully, very supportive when I lost my husband. Remember, though, that your mother will need to find her own way through this grief. Be there for her, but don't try to be too strong. Cry with her. Listen to her. Encourage her to get professional help if she needs it. Grief groups and counselors are wonderful. Hospice programs often offer these. Don't expect her to "get over" her loss. Don't try to set a time limit to her grieving. Know, too, that although you can understand to an extent how your mother feels, you really don't totally get it. I thought I understood my mom when my dad passed away. I learned when my husband passed away that I really didn't. It is a whole different experience than losing your father. Both of you are hurting and feeling a deep sense of loss. You can support each other through this. You may even be surprised by the strength your mother finds. I hope so. For now, concentrate on taking care of yourself as well as being there for your mom. Fay
  • njpatti
    njpatti Member Posts: 2
    I'm so Sorry
    I'm so sorry for your loss Megan. I lost my dad, mom, and husband to cancer. The grieving is an ongoing process but it will get better. I am still in the process of grieving as my husband died June 2010 so I understand what you are going through. Please know that I will keep you in my prayers.

  • markedbygrace
    markedbygrace Member Posts: 3
    njpatti said:

    I'm so Sorry
    I'm so sorry for your loss Megan. I lost my dad, mom, and husband to cancer. The grieving is an ongoing process but it will get better. I am still in the process of grieving as my husband died June 2010 so I understand what you are going through. Please know that I will keep you in my prayers.


    Thank you for your words of
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. It helps to know that we're all on the same journey though none of us want to be here.

    A small ray of sunshine broke through once I submitted my father's obituary to our funeral director. She said that it was very well written and I have a certain way of saying it so it sounds amazing. That felt good. My mother was happy when I read it to her before submitting it, and she said that it captured what she wanted perfectly. I've just seen it has been posted online and not changed one bit, which we are happy about.

    My intentions are to be there and be strong for my mother, but to allow her to grieve as she needs - in her own way, in her own time. When we spoke just yesterday I told her that I will be there for her but I can't be all for her. She never expected me to be, and she knows that while we grieve for the same man, our grief is very different. I am a daughter, she is a wife.

    We will take one day at a time. Since the holidays are now upon us we hope to spend some time away from the house with my grandmother and try to remember good times.
  • markedbygrace
    markedbygrace Member Posts: 3
    Sorry that previous post was
    Sorry that previous post was not meant to be directed to anyone in particular, I just hit reply on the wrong box.