On or about April 28, 2004, I received a telephone call from my Dad who felt that he was suffering a heart attack. Dad called 911 and was rushed to the hospital and there it began. My Dad went through every test imaginable and was in ICU for several days. My doctors felt that the problems he was experiencing may have been a result of an aortic anuerysm, which he had been diagnosed with years before. On April 28, 2004, my father had a GI test wherein the doctor found a spot on the pancreas. The doctor then told us that pancreatic cancer was the probable diagnosis. On April 28, 2004, my world changed forever because I knew that my father had been handed a death sentence and it was only a matter of time. In the days following, we consulted with an oncologist, who for the first time gave my Dad an idea of how much life he had left to live. Unfotunately, his cancer was in such an advanced stage that treatment was not an option, i.e., chemotherapy or radiation. His doctor felt that he was just not strong enough to handle the effects of either. My Dad was so brave and took the news so well, ironically enough, I am the one that lacked courage.
In the months following the diagnosis, my Dad came to much peace about his life and hardly complained despite the pain, discomfort and fear. We did not speak much of his imminent death, him and I because I just could not handle discussing it with him for fear of breaking down. My Dad knew me well enough to know that I just could not talk about it. Looking back, I realize how selfish I was because I am sure that there are times that he wanted to cry with his little girl and discuss his fears, along with the life that he had lived. In the months following, my family witnessed my father who was always a modest man depend on others simply to go to the restroom. My Dad continued to lose weight, suffered a loss of appetite, along with becoming extremely jaundiced by July of 2004. My father, along with our family enlisted the assistance of hospice, who provided professionals to come into the home and help him by administering medication, etc. Members of my family took turns spending precious hours with him on a daily basis as he was unable to care for himself or be unattended.
One evening in early September, my father did something and it was then that I realized his days were numbered and he knew the end was near. My father sold his truck, which was his baby. A few days later, I was given the gift of spending a precious night with my father, wherein we talked all night, cuddled and took, what would be our last picture together. The following morning, my Dad went to sleep and never truly was with us again. When we discovered his state, we immediately called his nurse, who upon evaluation, told us that he was in the final stage of life. We were shocked because how could someone take such a turn for the worse in such a short amount of time. That evening, our family and friends, those special to my Dad and vice versa, were able to spend precious time with my Dad. After a discussion amongst my siblings and I, it was decided that it would be best for my Dad to go to a hospice facility. Truly this decision was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever been involved with because I did not want my Dad to pass away alone, although we had known from initiating hospice that this was an option. The facility was beautiful, peaceful and it was the right choice for our family. My father held onto life for 8 more days, although he was pretty much in a semi-comatose state. On Friday, September 10, 2007, I just could not deal with it anymore. Watching my Dad struggle for breath every minute of the day, and literally deteriorate before my eyes was too much. I knew that day that I could not be present when my Dad passed away and made the decision, that day would be the last time I ever saw my sweet Daddy again.
My Dad passed away on Sunday, September 12, 2007 at the age of 70. In
true Dad fashion, he was dependable to the end because he clung to life
long enough so that we would be ready and able to let him go. There is not
a day that goes by that I do not think of my Dad. I guess that I will
forever wonder about how I chose to deal with his illness personally. I am
greatful however that God blessed my life and that of my daughters with