I Don't Call Him Daddy
November 2001 just a couple month's after 9/11 while the nation was still in shock. I was sitting on the back deck of my parents house with my father. Trying to absorb what he was saying to me. I was still in shock myself after learning in late September that the man I thought would never die was doing just that. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer aka mesothelioma. He was given 3 months to live 6 if he was lucky with treatment.
My father being the stoic man he was surprised me on that day. He asked if I wanted him to have the treatment? If I needed him to live longer? He was worried about my feelings! Worried about everyone but himself.
He was asking almost begging for my permission to die. Looking him in the eye I could see how weary he was. How old he looked at the young age of 56. As if he had lived two lifetimes and wasn't ready to live a third. I said to him almost without hesitation don't you for one second feel guilty about leaving me behind.You raised me to be strong and that is what I will do. I will be strong for you. Whatever decision you make I will support it! He let out a long sigh and said he would think about it.
He later decided against treatment after talking with the doctors and coming to the conclusion that he was going to die. It was just a matter of when. He didn't want to die like that. So we called hospice and made him comfortable and did our best to make what little time he had left the best it could be.
As we sat on the deck on that fall morning sun beating down on my back taking the chill off my bones. The smell of freshly lit fireplace in the air. His eyes slowly scanned the yard looking for my daughter who was now knee deep in leaves carefree and happy. Guilt washed over his face. He turned and looked at me his eyes were the softest I had ever seen. No anger, no hate, no hostility. A calm suddenly came over him. He then says to me that he worries about my daughter Mercedes. How it will be for her to loose him she is so young!
My words to him were that little girl thinks you hung the moon and stars and in her eyes no matter how old she is you will forever be her Papa. Just like you raised me to be strong I have done my best to raise her that way. She will be okay don't worry about anyone but you right now in this moment and time.