Friday, May 16, 2008

The Kindness of Almost-Strangers

I have nothing new to report. My father is still with us, physically, which is a feat that has astounded all of us, including the hospice nurse, who told us today she didn't understand it. I think he'd be surprised, too.

Two days ago I walked into my parents' room and my mother was talking to him. He had turned to her and said, "We need to make a decision." Assuming he thought he was in the hospital (he's in a hospital bed right now), my mother said, "Well, it's up to you." He said to her, "I'm ready to go."

I woke up my brother (this was around 9:30 in the morning, about four hours before he was really ready to be awake), and we stood on the other side of the bed. He turned slightly and looked at us, managing to say, "I'm sorry, but I need to go." He told us he'd say hello to Pop for us, and my mom asked him to look for her mother, too.

When the nurse asked my mother today if she had told him that it's alright if he leaves, she replied, "Hell, I've done everything but call the President to tell him it's OK."

I for one have managed to keep it together, mostly because I'm so exhausted from this experience to be really upset anymore. You kind of get used to the sight; my mother told me that she's afraid she won't be able to get the image of him lying in bed, reduced to a skeletal frame out of her head. One day I hope we'll all be able to forget that and instead focus on what he used to look like, which is almost unrecognizable by now.

One great thing to come out of this is a realization of how many people have been thinking of us. I've gotten a lot of emails, Facebook messages, texts, and IMs from friends (and even blogger friends I have never met). I haven't responded to most of them, but I want to express my gratitude; it has really helped me get through this. On top of that, we have tons of new flowers sitting on our porch, and we've been kept in lasagna and chicken salad and red wine, enough to last us another two weeks.

Tomorrow is the Relay for Life at the high school. My father's first cousin's husband (it sounds complicated, but not really) will be presenting a check to the American Cancer Society, which is from a golf tournament he organized a few weeks ago in honor of my dad and another woman from the area who is suffering, albeit surviving, from cancer. When he came by the other night, he told us that past tournaments in which he's participated usually raised around three to four thousand dollars.

Today he brought by a copy of the check for us to see. It's written for $12,738.02.

It's incredibly comforting to know that no matter what, my family is not going through this alone.


Brit said...

My thoughts are with you Tyler.

Jamie said...

My tears are no consolation, nor are my words. Please know that I understand what you are going through, and my thoughts are with you during this incredibly difficult time.