Watching the story of Robin Roberts and her battle with cancer makes me look back on my father’s battle with colon cancer. It brings back so many raw memories that remain with me till this very day. My dad passed away in June of 1999 and it took me a long time for those words to even register in my brain, to even say, “my dad passed”. When I think back now certain things are such a blur and other things are as if they took place yesterday. Listening to Robin say, “I had Faith, Family, and Friends” was all too familiar to me. My father had his family, he considered very few people friends, but I am not so sure he had faith”
Unlike Robin Roberts, my father wasn’t one of the “lucky” ones. I guess he was needed somewhere else at the moment. I often wonder if he fought as hard as she did or if he had as much faith as she does. I remember being angry with him for being in denial and not wanting to go to the doctor. The cancer had started off in his colon and returned to his liver. What a sad time that was for our family. To see a man with so much strength, deteriorate into something so not like him. I recall being so upset at the doctor’s and all of the treatments they wanted to test on him that one day I even told my father, “what are they doing, treating you like a guinea pig?” I was angry that nothing was working and his health was fading quickly. I didn’t mean it- I just didn’t want my father to go but also I didn’t want him to suffer or give up his fight either.
As I see Robin smile through the television I can’t help but wish that were my father. Anyone who met him knew he was full of life, a hard worker, and he didn’t want to die. In the hospital I often caught him whispering those very words to himself, “I don’t want to die”. It broke my heart to make out the words that vibrated off of his lips and it hit me deep down in my core. Traveling day in and day out with my mother to witness his health only get worse was agonizing. The drives to and from the hospital were often in silence. My heart ached for my mother and at the same time I took in all the beauty of the city. I took it all in reminding myself that no one is guaranteed tomorrow. I couldn’t believe all this was happening. A young life, my father, the man who held down our household and the family business may not be here to see tomorrow.
My father would never witness me graduate from college, he wouldn’t be physically present that is. He wouldn’t walk me down the aisle on my wedding day and he would never be able to bond with my children. It was a tough time to swallow in my life but it was a reality. Although those were some horrible memories I have wonderful ones as well. We spent hours talking, telling jokes, making up for lost time, and getting him what he wanted to eat on a good day. The bad days were bad and those shall remain with me forever.
This terrible disease has taken many lives and has provided others with a whole new life. I am happy that there are so many new treatments and more lives are being saved. I say silently, “why couldn’t my father’s life be saved?”. There is no clear answer for that but those who do have a second chance at life make my day a bit more brighter and my faith that much stronger! A blood donor for many years I have taken the initiative to register to become a bone marrow donor. If I can help someone continue to have faith and live many more glorious years of life then my life is well served.