Letters To Daddy- Coping with Losing You
Coping with grief, loss, love, and acceptance.
On July 23, 2015 my father went into the hospital because it hurt for him to breathe. Three days and numerous procedures later he was diagnosed with Pneumonia caused by a tumor in his airway. On July 28, 2015 he was told he had Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Given 3 months to 2 years to live, he survived for 5 months. I am still processing the grief associated with his passing and have decided that I need to tell him how I feel. Since he isn't here, I'm writing letters and sharing them. In doing so I hope to work through my feelings and maybe help someone else along this journey.
December 7, 2016
I went running today and you were on my mind the entire time. I cried during my run; do you know how hard it is to cry and run at the same time? Today I am angry with you and I want to hate you but I miss you too much. You broke your promise, we agreed on 2 years. That was the plan, we were going to fight this for 2 years. Not months, not days, not hours, and you broke that. I’m mad at you because you knew something was wrong with you and you did nothing. How long did you walk around hiding your pain until it was too late? That’s what happened, you waited until it was too late, and you didn’t give me a chance. We had plans; I was supposed to take care of you, you were supposed to fight. I was not supposed to lose you so soon. Why did you have to be so stubborn and allow your pride to get the best of you?
I had to ask God to release you, do you know what that does to a person? NO, I don’t think you do. I had to beg God to give you peace because I couldn’t stand to see you suffering. That wasn’t supposed to happen. I was not supposed to watch you die, you were supposed to be getting better. When you died, you opened up something inside of me that I didn’t know existed. I’ve heard you say my name; the way you always stressed the beginning and end of my name. I’ve felt you close to me; close enough that I turn my head and expect to see you standing there. Sometimes I’ve could even smell you. You’ve disappeared now and I’m left feeling angry, sad, and empty. I wasn’t prepared for grief and I’m still bouncing around from stage to stage. You’re supposed to be here.
I still have 16 days until I’m faced with the 1 year anniversary of your passing and currently each day is getting harder and harder to get through. I’ve cried in the shower, which has sometimes made me late to where I was going. I think about all the things I want to tell you. I can only hope that you are with me in spirit and can see everything that I have experienced. You asked me about grandchildren, funny because it was the first time I had ever heard you mention them, maybe in 2 years I could have given you one but you left too soon. I bet you didn’t even realize that your Oncologist was sad when he gave us the diagnosis of weeks to months. He was rooting for you just like I had been. It hurt him because you had been getting better and we were hopeful that everything he was doing was working.
You gave up and you weren’t supposed to, I think that’s what makes me the maddest. I was hopeful and all the while you had accepted your fate. You could have helped me prepare for this but you didn’t. You put on a happy face just for me. People survive cancer all the time, why couldn’t you??? I stayed with you, you know. In the end, I was by your side. I watched you take your last breath and I stayed beside you until they came to take you away. I felt your body start to cool and I waited for you to breathe again but you didn’t. I wanted you to put your arm around me and tell me everything was going to be ok, but you didn’t. It’s funny, I’m certain your soul was gone before you ever took that last breath. You would stare into the distance and I figured that you were seeing grandma, granddad, and your sisters. You said your last words to me that day as well and they will forever be etched into my mind. After you said them I called Momma and she rushed to the hospice facility and stayed with us. You spoke to her when I wasn’t around and that was it. You left with your parents and sisters that day I’m sure of it.
The Cancer ate you from the inside out; it left you just a shell of who you used to be. I have never seen you so weak and fragile. I was going to have a closed casket because the man who died on December 23, 2015 wasn’t my daddy, but the funeral home did an excellent job on making you look like you were supposed to. If they would have allowed me to, I would have given you as many organs as you needed but it wasn’t an option. All the nurses were so nice in the end; you would have liked them. When they came to check on you, they checked on me. They tried their best to prepare me for what was happening to you and I tried to put on a strong face. I wouldn’t cry in front of you because I didn’t want you to hear it. I never cried in front of you, silent tears fell while you were sleeping, or when I left your rooms I would cry. Never in front of you though, I had to be strong because I thought that my strength would continue to give you strength but I think it was the other way around. You used your strength to put on a good show for me, you had me fooled.
Daddy I miss you terribly. There are birthdays and holidays that I won’t get to hear your voice. I somehow deleted the voicemail I had of you wishing me happy birthday, I cried for two days over that. There are the random check up calls that I won’t get anymore. You even learned to text for me because I told you I hated talking on the phone. I won’t get any of those anymore and I miss them. I miss them this year and I already miss them for the future years. I don’t feel better after writing this, maybe one day I will but that day definitely isn’t today. I love you and wish you were here.