There are landmark moments in our lives that we remember. Certain moments could be the birth of your children, divorce, death . . . or saying, “Enough, I’m going in for treatment.”
Landmark moments shape you and they never leave your memory.
These moments become the landscape of your life.
My mind travels back in time every October.
I never used to like October, but I do now.
I love looking at trees. They are so pretty, standing tall saying, “Check me out. Look closely at my colorful leaves of yellow and orange.” (If a tree could talk that is what it would say.)
A lot takes place about this time of year, too. It starts to get dark early. It’s rainy and cold.
All sorts of candies are piled high in front of the grocery entrance.
You can’t help but pick up five bags.
But, most of all, about this time I think of my late dad.
My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer the last week of September.
Four weeks later he died. He died Oct 24, 2006 at 9:54 am at Swedish Hospital.
As it gets close to the anniversary of his death, I begin to ask myself questions. Where was I at this time? Who was I with?
What was said between my dad and me?
How did each family contribute their time and love to care for him?
It’s something I do. It gives me comfort, peace, and I a smile that we talked, hugged, and forgave one another.
When I was growing up, we were never close.
For the very first time that October in 2006, I was getting my education about cancer, Medicare, endless prescriptions, and death.
I first heard the word matastasized.
What does that mean? I had to look it up.
Definition: Cancer cells have spread all over dad’s body.
My first time to hear this phrase, “He is actively dying.”
Layman’s term: Let him go .
I was on autopilot for four weeks.
I thanked God that there were 25 family members to help out.
My mom, three brothers, my sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins were present.
There was a lot to do. Dad had chemotherapy about
once a week. I became the taxi driver. Dad’s sister is a nurse so she kept track of all his medications. My mom cooked all of dad’s meals. I made arrangements for a hospital bed to be delivered to their home. My brothers and sister re-configured the whole house to accommodate the bed in the middle of the living room.
There were calls to make to Medicare and to our lawyer friend to write up a Power of Attorney so the doctors could talk to 25 family members. Prescriptions had to be filled and picked up.
The doctor prescribed one particular medication for dad. My jaw dropped when I added the total cost. One pill was $100. Wow.
My family is huge. A couple of our aunts didn’t get along and they thought it was OK to argue at dad’s house about their issues.
Well, my sister, Rita, put a stop on all their nonsense.
She became Sergeant Rita.
She made an announcement and it went like this:
“All arguments and ill feelings will not be tolerated at dad’s house as we take care of him. This is about dad, not you.
Leave all negative feelings at the door when you come inside. Thank you very much.”
You go Rita! All she was missing was a blow horn.
Any landmarks in your life?
My time and memories of my dad playing with and
hugging my boys, babysitting, attending all their sports games, and the last four weeks of his life are all I need to bring a smile to my face. All other memories of him I have let go.
They no longer serve me and my spirit.
For those who are going through rough times with an aging or dying mom or dad, instill in their hearts a path of forgiveness. In the end, it is all about forgiveness anyway.