What you can expect:
The brutal truth of me, without all the sugary coating.
Here I am just me, UNCUT and UNEDITED.
I talk about my family, my divorce, and a lot about MAKEUP.
If you leave me a comment, I will love you forever. :)

Thursday, January 11, 2018


I haven't talked much about my dad's cancer. I'm probably in a certain amount of denial on the subject. He hasn't said much publicly about it, so I've tried to keep the details to the same level as he has shared on his own facebook account, to respect his privacy.

Dad's had several rounds of treatment in the ICU for metastatic kidney/bone cancer. I'm not very good with specific medical terms, so bear with me on the details. The treatment he has received is called IL2 immuno-therapy. It involves several days in ICU at Huntsman, then a week or two off, then back in again, then a week or two off, until his body can't tolerate the treatments anymore.

So far, he's held up so well, we've all been pleasantly surprised and optimistic. A few minor episodes, reactions to the treatment which are no doubt miserable for him, and scary for his wife and the rest of us. His wife stays in the hospital with him constantly during his treatments. The rest of us come in as we can to visit, but it's difficult sometimes for me to get there. I try to see him between treatments, when he's home "recovering".

Last night we got a text from Dad's wife Linda, "Please say a special prayer. Ken is delusional and I'm scared. I hope it's all the drugs. No more for tonight and hopefully he'll sleep it off. No fever."

Suddenly it was too real. My dad... my incredibly intelligent, capable, fierce, can-do-anything-I-need-him-to, knows-everything-about-everything, fearless Dad is not even consciously aware of what's happening to him. It's become too much for his body and brain to tolerate. Up till now, he goes in, it's unpleasant, he comes home. He's still mostly himself (with the exception of being physically able to do a lot of the things he used to do), and he goes bravely back in for more IVs and shots and whatever else.

Dad has always told me that if he were to get a life-threatening condition, he would not bankrupt his family in order to treat it. He's told me for a long time, much longer than he's had a diagnosis, that medical care to keep him alive is not worth what it would do to those surviving family members financially. He instructed us to not let the doctors go to extreme measures to keep him alive. I'm writing this because I know how he feels about life and death. I know he has a much larger view of what matters. My father has never feared death.

But I fear living on this planet without him.

I have greater fear surrounding life without my parents than almost anything else that could happen to me. I'm terrified of a world where I couldn't call my dad and ask for his viewpoint on any problem I ever face. I simply can't imagine life without the knowledge that I could pick up the phone and he would be there to help me with any manner of things I needed. A world without a Dad hug. A world without his whisper in my ear, "I'm glad Father in Heaven sent you to our family. I'm proud of you. I love you."

We aren't a very affectionate family. This is probably an understatement. We don't hug each other unless something horrible has happened, we don't say "I love you" regularly. That being said, I've never, ever doubted the love of my parents.  I have never had to ask myself if my dad loved me, if he wanted me, if he wished he'd stopped after 6 kids and never had me. I have memories with Dad that are priceless to me.

If I got to sit by Dad at church, he'd put his arm around me and let me lay on the shoulder of his suit jacket. He'd squeeze my shoulder so hard it almost hurt and whisper something like, "thanks for sitting with me today. Love you."

The day I was baptized, Dad in his white jumpsuit in the water. When I had to go under the water a second time because my braided hair floated to the top and didn't get fully submerged, and he just smiled and said, "We're going to do it again. Ready? You can do it." He knew how much I feared being under water.  That day I didn't fear, because he held me, and I felt safe.

When I was small, we would have "falling asleep contests". I know now he just really needed a nap, but I thought it was fun to see if I could beat Dad, who could fall asleep under 2 minutes every time, and snored so loud I knew exactly when he had won. I never won the game, but now when I can't sleep at night I always think of how he taught me to push away all the thoughts and see only blackness until I didn't even see that anymore. Works almost every time.

Dad was the mayor of the city I grew up in, from 1989-1993. I used to run around the City Hall and serve as self-appointed Elevator Button-Pusher while he conducted city business, just so I could be in the same place as him. I didn't like the way the other kids teased me for being the "mayor's daughter", like I thought I was better than them or something, but I did feel pride that my father was doing something important, something he believed in. He often said other people didn't like him much because he does what is right, not what is popular.

Around the same time frame, my dad invented explosives for a mining company. Dad had to go to Hong Kong for 4 months, and I felt like it was a lifetime away. I missed him so much. Before he left, he came in to my room to tuck me in at night, and he read to me from an old copy of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". I don't remember a thing about the story, only that it was time just for me and my dad. The now-tattered copy of that book is on my bookshelf, and whenever I see it I remember it looking very small in my dad's hands as he read to me while I tried to stay awake. With 6 kids at home, getting my very own bedtime story seemed like the most special thing in the world.

I saw my dad cry only twice in my lifetime. The first was the day I told my parents I was pregnant at seventeen. I wrote in my journal that my dad was going to murder me, that he was going to throw me out of the house and I'd be living on the street when he found out. The tears that ran down his cheeks when he heard my news will never, ever be forgotten. I didn't know what to do; I'd never seen my dad break down, and it was so far from what I'd expected. "I'm crying because I know how much more difficult your life is going to be now, and I didn't want that for you," he said. His voice shook, and I was forever changed. He only thought of how much it was going to hurt for ME. Instantly he'd thought only of my struggles, my future. I should have known this about him already, but teens rarely see the truth of their parents, and I was no different. My parents supported me in my choice to raise my son from the moment they knew he existed, and continue to support us 15 years later. Dad paced the floor all hours of the night with my baby boy so I could sleep and continue high school after he was born. Whenever he looks at my son, his face is filled with pride and love, never disappointment.

The thing that I think of most when I think of Dad is the countless hours he's spent explaining the ways of things to me. As a very young girl, I watched a movie called "A Man for All Seasons" with him. The movie is about Sir Thomas Moore, who refused to support King Henry VIII in his attempt to make himself head of the Church of England. Moore was beheaded on Tower Hill for not backing down in his faith. I was so traumatized by this, I cried and cried and cried. I sobbed how unfair it was to die for doing the right thing. Dad put me in his lap and told me that there is no greater purpose than to stand for what you believe in, even if it takes everything from you. He explained how a God who loves us could let such things happen. He testified that he would die for his beliefs too, and it would be the right thing to do.

I begged him to never die, never leave me. 
He said all parents die, and all children grow to be parents of their own. 
It's the way things are MEANT to be, designed by God, not by accident.

I can't name all my memories. 33 years with someone can't be put into words.

All I really wanted to say is that I'm scared. I know my dad has lived a good and honorable life, with very few regrets, and he will face death without fear when it comes. I wish I could say I feel differently than I did when I was a little girl and begged him never to die, to stay with me forever. I'll never be old enough to want to live without my dad.

But it is because of him I know when that day comes, it won't be the last I see of him. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments make me ultra happy! Tell me who you are, what you think, why you're here...