Filed under: arg, butches, cancer, dad, death, exes, memory, mom | Tags: arg, butches, cancer, dad, death, exes, memory, mom, the ex: cohen
this afternoon, my mother called me from the hospital in nj. my dad has been admitted for vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath. he’s undergoing some tests, specifically an m.r.i. of his head to see if there is anything to be suspicious of there. my dad’s had cancer for the past several years. it started with his kidney, which was removed and he enjoyed about a year and a half of remission before it crept back up again in his spleen and liver. through chemotherapy, those tumors wound up shrinking significantly, but it’s always been made very clear that there’s no more opportunity for him to “beat” cancer. it’s more just a waiting game of where it will pop up next and with what kind of vengeance. earlier in the year, it was discovered he had a spot on his spine. it wasn’t particularly large or intrusive, but once cancer hits bone, especially spine and its column of connecting fluid, it’s not the best of signs. needless to say, it seems the dr. is going straight for scans of his head to see if there is any brain tumor or lesion to be found there.
i’ve always feared this moment and i’ve been pretty realistic in knowing it would probably come soon, at some point. spine and brain are so connected and usually once one has had a taste of the cancer stuff, the other is next to follow. all the reading i’ve done has told me that brain cancer is a quick and slippery slope with fatal results. it’s strange to write these words. my father’s and my relationship has been so strained my whole life. there have often been times since his diagnosis several years ago, not to mention times before that when he was still a healthy man, that i’ve thought of how it would be easier, especially on my mother, if he passed away. and now, with that reality staring me in the face, part of me regrets ever thinking it and the other tells me not to forget the long history of emotional violence that stems from him.
but what really gets me every time i worry about him or start to contemplate his death and what that will be like for me, i almost always lose sight of the reality, the right now. i eventually, without fail, always wind up overlooking him and land up at the fact that i will take care of and console my mother, what’s needed anyway, but who will take care of and console me? every time i think of his illness and his passing, i come back to this right here…and i miss you terribly; in ways that make me clutch my gut with the pain of your absence. because despite everything we went through and regardless of how you never knew what to say when i was upset over his illness, you were and still are what i think of when i think of comfort. when i consider all that i might need when his final decline begins, it’s only you that comes to mind. you, the person who struggled most with knowing what to say to me in times of sadness. you, who thought i needed more than just your silence and support or the physical strength and safety of your arms and shoulders. i have every reason in the world not to trust you and this won’t change that; this won’t find me dialing you aimlessly at 2am needing to hear your voice. yet still, it’s your absence i’ll cry for right now and not the eventuality of my father’s.
you were my safety net despite all of your fears that you were never strong enough for me. did you ever really know that?