thoughts and things

I don’t want to stop living because my dad is dying

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. 

12 thoughts on “I don’t want to stop living because my dad is dying”

  • Oh lovely ­čÖü
    I’ve been here with my own dad with terminal cancer and if I can give you any advice, it’s this. Take things a day at a time and spend as much of it as you can with him. If all you can do is sit and hold his hand, do that. I was there for my dad. I took him out. Whatever he wanted, I did. I made him laugh and I never let him see me cry, ever. I never wanted him to see my pain so I hid it behind the humour and let it go once I was back at home. This is a heartbreaking time for you and your family. Unless a person has been through it, they can’t know how it feels to watch someone they adore, fade away in front of them. But here’s where you can pay something back for all the years of strength that he gave you. You need to be strong for him now. Try not to think about tomorrow…he’s with you today so work with that.

    Sending much love and strength your way. xXx

  • This is such a bittersweet post, and it’s hard finding the right words to say. I’ve not been in this position, and don’t know how I would cope with it, but the fact that you want to live in the moment, and make as many memories with your dad, and for all of your family is one that everyone should take away from this post. xxxx

  • Oh Em, I’m really sorry to hear about your Dads diagnosis. I agree with everything you’ve said in this post. Take time to spend quality time with each other, laugh, giggle and cry together. None of us know when our time is up and the recent tragedy in Tunisia has made me think more about doing things now instead of putting them off. Keep writing, keep living and keep smiling, big hugs xx

  • Oh my darling, my heart hurts for you all.
    You are right though, do not be held ransom by Death, whilst you are here today, life must be celebrated and lived to the full.
    I do think your approach will help your father, he wouldn’t want his last memories to be sad ones. Focus on the time you have, rather than what is to come.
    Much love to you all

  • Beautiful post. Making those memories seems like the right thing to do. It’s what my auntie did when she was terminally ill and the memories she made with her boys lives on. I hope you can cram as many memories as possible in. Big love to you and your family xx

  • I think you have exactly the right attitude. It’s not easy when you have to deal with something like this and only you can decide how you get through it with your family. Do what you need to do. Laugh, cry, spend time with him and make plans for the future. You have to. Much love being sent your way.

  • Oh doll,
    Cancer is so very shit isn’t it. We lost someone just before Christmas to it, and like you we knew it would happen and like you we wanted to make the most of our time with him before it was too late. That’s not selfish or silly or stupid, it makes complete sense, enjoy the time you have left and take lots of photos for Nancy (as I’m sure you have done)
    I’m so very sorry you’ve been given this awful news, thinking of you all lots and lots. You know where I am xxx

  • So very sorry to hear about your Dad. Sending all my love.Such a beautiful post and I hope you make the very best of the time that you have left with your wonderful Dad. Xx

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