Today should have been my dads 69th birthday. It should have been but it isn’t. You see a decade ago he lost his battle to cancer, which started in his mid fifties as a diagnosis of throat cancer.
Throat cancer is the pits, all cancer is the pits but my dad was always a fighter and in typical dad fashion he gave this fight everything he had. For a while it seemed that he was winning his battle, but the celebration was short lived, when the cancer returned in his brain. This was a battle that he could not win.
My relationship with my dad was a complicated one. He left home when I was 17 and we didn’t have any contact for several years. Truthfully he broke my heart when he left and it was something that I thought that he never truly realised. Until one day, in the last weeks of his life, in a rare moment that I got to spend some time with him alone, not surrounded by other relatives he said to me “I am so sorry that I have to leave you again”.
As I said it was complicated but nevertheless he was my dad, he still is.
This year it will be ten years since he passed away and I have been really struggling to come to terms with this milestone. Maybe it is because it is a decade and in terms of life we celebrate those milestones, but I think that the main reason is that it has dawned on me that in a ‘decade’, ten years from now I will be mid fifties, the age when he first noticed his symptoms and I am just not ready for that to happen to me.
My husband has never feared death, he is realistic in his approach to it. I however am not. I tell my children that I am going to live to 100 and that I have plenty of time to tick off my bucket list entries. But what if I don’t? We just don’t know what is around the corner, so do I start now to go crazy and fulfill all my dreams ? or do I plod along hoping that I do have those 55 years left in me ? My dad never got to retire, he never got to slow down, he never got to meet my youngest daughter. These are all things that weigh heavy in my heart.
Life is never simple, it’s a complicated one.