When I was at work the other day, I was talking about starting to go to the gym. Someone remarked that perhaps I shouldn’t be doing that right now, because, well, you know.
What they meant by you know, was that my dad is dying. And who wants to go the gym when your dad is dying?
Well, I do, actually.
Everyday I wake up, and everyday is another day when I know my Dad is not well. He has cancer, stage 4, the worst it can be. Nothing can be done to cure him. It is awful, and the thought of him not being here makes me feel very sad indeed.
I’ve cried, we’ve all cried. I cried the day they told me, I’ve cried on the way to work. I think of a memory of me and my dad and tears well up in my eyes. I watch Nancy with him, laughing and smiling and cuddling her Grampy, and I feel so sad that he will not see her grow up.
But you know what? I am tired of crying. I am tired of grieving for someone who is still here. I want to live my life, the way my Dad is so proud of me doing. I want to do the things I want to do, enjoy my time, make nice memories for all of us. For him.
I keep thinking how awful it must be for my Dad. He has to face up to his mortality, a fear we all hold, surrounded by people who are crying for him as if he is already gone. He is being strong, as usual, holding everyone together when inside he must be falling apart.
I want to make this a happy time. I want to make this time full of smiles, and laughter, and happiness. Not just for my Dad. For me. Should I be feeling worse than I am? Is it wrong to want to go to the gym? To go on holiday? No, I don’t think so.
Maybe this is a selfish thing to say, to write. But I can’t help feeling that it is wrong to be so maudlin and so miserable when this is the only time we have left with my Dad.
Life should go on, life is what we are here to do. And most of all, I realise that life is precious. Life is so precious and we all take it for granted. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I keep thinking of the tragedy in Tunisia, which happened days after my Dads diagnosis. Here we are, crying over my dad and yet there are 30 people whose lives were taken suddenly and cruelly, no warning at all. No one knows when they will die, just my Dad has been given the heads up. He can say goodbyes, tick things off a list, enjoy the time he has left.
Which is what we should all do really, isn’t it? Enjoy the time we have. I am a great believer in mindfulness, and living in the moment. Our time is now, we won’t get these moments ever again. Let’s make these moments count.
It is easy to look at everything and start to feel sadness. To look at the calendar and wonder which day it will be. I won’t let myself be held to ransom by Death.
I have reduced my hours at work, temporarily at least, to make the most of this time. Spend time with my family, to take time for myself. I think of my Dad, and I want to make every time I see him a good one. I also look at Nancy too. I want to make sure we have lots of memories and good times to share as well.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I will cry. When it will all get too much. But I need to balance this with some positives. I have to at least try to do this. I can’t feel like a dark shadow of doom hangs over me every day. I can’t pause my life, leave my life in limbo, waiting for the day when ‘it’ happens. And I don’t think that’s fair on my Dad either. Keeping some level of normality must help him somewhat to feel like life goes on too.
It’s ironic however that the normal you crave, that my Dad and we all want has gone forever. It was gone before we even realised we had lost it. We can’t go back, but we can move forward, and move forward together, smiling not crying. This is an awful situation, but I want to make the best of it, for all our sakes.