Double Jeopardy

A year ago today on Oct 16, 2008 is when I found out my dad had cancer. It was the same day my company's new laptops came out. It's weird how I associate these two. It also sucks because every time I see one I literally see the words DADDY HAS CANCER flashing across the screen.

His journey with cancer started off as a misdiagnosis of ACID REFLUX ! Way to go Doc. Last summer he had trouble swallowing and would often get what we call the "vurps" and wasn't feeling too great. The doctor told him to keep taking his Prilosec. Yea. Good call. He then went in for a stress test and numbers were elevated or something so they said HEART ATTACK ...and sent him in an ambulance to the local hospital (which doubles as a building full of no useful info whatsoever). Wherein this building they did no MRI / Cat Scan , nothing but an EKG, and OH MY !! No signs of cardiac arrest.

Gregory and I finally talked him into going to see a different doctor, and that's when they found the esophageal cancer. Stage 3. Invasive. 8 to 18 months with chemo. Today marks a year since I heard those words from my mother, standing in a parking lot where they had come by work to tell me what they didn't want to tell me over the phone. One year since my father's eyes hid behind the same brand of sunglasses that we have both had on while we held each other silently, each one of us fighting off the tears harder than the other. So alike, he and I. I am my father's daughter. One year and my daddy is still alive. Alive, but not well.

I can see where the cancer has taken it's toll. He has lost and gained weight, he has lost hair. He tires easily. I usually find him in his recliner, either reading or sleeping. A week or so ago I went down to do the fall hedge trimming and other assorted chores that Gregory and I would always help him do. Except this year I did it all myself. My mom helped by doing some raking, but she's almost 68 years old and can only do so much herself before tiring. She told me after about 30 minutes of work that my dad was inside crying because he couldn't help his daughter. I don't think I could have pierced my heart with the gas hedge trimmer I was wielding and made it hurt more than knowing that my daddy was crying. I managed to cover up my sobs with the whine of the trimmer and soaked up the tears on my gloves.

Mom, there's some things I don't need to know.

When I found out my dad had cancer, I was stunned. I left work early and went straight home to Gregory , who I told face to face and then we held each other and cried for just a minute until he said "Pops is strong, he will beat this and we have to be strong for him." He was devastated. He loved my dad and felt closer to him than he did his own, who was abusive to him in so many ways. He once told my dad that he never had a father, and asked him to be the one he never had. Sure, they didn't always get along, I mean really?? What daddy get's on with his #1 girl's man 100% of the time? But oh how G loved my daddy, and I was so happy that finally the two men in my life were on the same page.

I did some grieving of my own, but I try to put on a brave happy face when I am around my dad. I go to his doctor's appointments, but sometimes he wants me to leave the room when the doctor comes in to talk to us. I understand, he just wants to protect his baby.

So I kept moving through life, working, taking care of my husband and stepson, helping my parents with things that needed doing, and talking to my mom and dad 2-3 times a day and googling and web-md'ing what I could find about esophageal cancer.

And then my Gregory died.

And the little part of my life that the cancer grief had wedged itself into exploded. Then imploded.

I am grieving the death of my husband. My husband was a recovering / non-recovering alcoholic. The contents of a bottle of vodka were too strong for him to resist. A little fall , a black eye , him walking around laughing and goofing with me as usual? That turned into a slow bleed that killed him after he was fine for several days. The doctors call it "talk and die" syndrome. His liver was so messed up his blood wouldn't clot. Type 2 diabetes didn't help. So he died. And part of me went with him and I will never, ever be the same.

I am grieving the impending death of my father. There is no cure. There is no hope. The man smoked for 50 years. He got cancer. The cigarettes that he loved are coming back in the form of cancerous cells that are killing him. And I am scared to death to lose my daddy.

But I think I'm scared for me too. I'm scared that I have poured so much of myself into grieving for Gregory that I haven't given myself the time or space to deal with the fact that my daddy is going to die.

And then it's just me and my mom. And what is she gonna do? That's gonna leave me as the strong one. The one who handles things. The one.

I don't want to be the one.

I want to be Kim.

I want my husband.

I want my daddy.

I want my life back.

I haven't done anything wrong.

I thought cruel and unusual punishment was against our constitution.

I thought double jeopardy wasn't allowed.

I want my pardon.

I want my happy ending.


hunibuni said...
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hunibuni said...
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hunibuni said...

I first of all want to say that I'm sorry. And I want to say I understand. Both my dad and Rich's dad are critically ill right now. Mine had a stoke (his 7th) and a heart attack 3 weeks ago. My father in law is battling lung cancer.

Much like you, I want my happy ending.

Earth_Mommy said...

Oh, sweetie. I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this, alone. If I could, I'd climb through this laptop screen and hug you and cry with you and be strong with you. We lost my pawpaw a year ago in August. He WAS my daddy. No warning. One day he was working happily in his shed, the next he had died of a burst anurism near his heart. He was 89 and I loved him more than just about anything. Death sucks. I especially sucks when you can't grieve because you have to be the strong one.

Just remember, though, if you ever get to the upper coast of SC, hollar. I have a hug I owe you.

Bubblewench said...

You're stronger then you think. I know it all just sucks though.

Lots of hugs.

ShellSpann said...


Anonymous said...

This sucks. All of it. You deserve your happy ending but it will be awhile before you get there. Growing up sucks, having to be the responsible strong one sucks. That's all I can say, it just sucks. Hopefully you can find some comfort in knowing that you have us to comfort you. You never need to be strong for us. We're here to help you through whatever may come along, good or bad. Most of us don't judge, and those that do can just be deleted. Hang in there.

sybil law said...

You're so much stronger than you know - you've dealt with so much already. It completely sucks!
When you aren't feeling strong, there are plenty of us who would be happy and proud to step up and be strong for you.

HEATHER said...

My mom is fighting cancer right now too, so I know exactly what you are feeling. I keep you in my prayers.

TexasRaceLady said...

Kim, we all wish for a happy ending. Happy endings come when we re-unite with our loved ones on down the road.

I watched my mom die by inches -- for 8 years while she fought ovarian cancer at age 61. You want pain --- I'm now older than my mother was when she died. That freaks me out.

I watched my dad slowly give up doing all that he loved as his heart just slowly quit working. He made it to 80. I helped him celebrate #80 knowing full well that there would be no #81.

I watched my step-father waste away because he just couldn't recover from a broken hip and a cracked vertebrae. He fell, and at age 87 he just didn't have the strength to overcome the pain.

You are NOT alone, Kim. We all have our tragedies. Please know that we are with you. We all share your pain, and your longing for a "reset" in life.

I wish I could find that button that would put things back the way they are supposed to be.

Lynda said...

My mom got sick a year after my sister died, and I don't know what I would have done if she didn't have her surgery and died.

I can't imagine what you are going through. Sometimes it seems like life throws you too much. But if you ever want to talk, I'm happy to talk with you. Even if it's just frivolous take your mind off other stuff talk.

Kim said...

Thanks yall. : ) You help me through every day.

LOVIN7 said...

((HUGS)) Coz- as always I'm here for you.

Beautiful Mess said...

It sucks and I'm so sorry. I don't have any words that will make you feel better. Just know that a short woman in Oregon thinks about you a lot and sends you SO much good JUJU!

Lisa said...

So sorry about your sorry about your husband, just so sorry. Life is not fair, and it just does not make sense, does it? I wish I could just buy you a drink, and we could try a little misery loves company.