I haven’t written here in a long time (the end of September, to be exact). At first, I took a break from writing because I needed it. My full time job was crazy busy, and I felt burnt out. I intended to take a short break and circle back, but the week break turned into two, which turned into a month… I decided not to beat myself up about it. I gave in to myself and allowed myself not to feel lazy or unproductive just because I wasn’t churning out 4 articles a week + one to two blog posts. Between pitching and writing, it really freed up a chunk of my time, and I felt better for the rest.
I also realized that as much as I enjoy it, writing can also be draining on me. I don’t know how not to make it personal, and sometimes I really don’t want to share everything that I’m working on or going through. I get in my own way. So, the break was much needed.
All in all, I thought 2017 had shaped up to be a great year for me. Between personal and professional milestones, I felt content.
Then, the end of 2017 happened.
In mid November, I went to Las Vegas to celebrate my niece’s 21st birthday with her, my sister, and my brother-in-law. When we returned, my father was not his usual self. His 73rd birthday was on November 21st. He didn’t eat any of his birthday cake.
My son Richie’s birthday was December 6th. My father was still sick, and getting worse. He slept most of the day and had no appetite. He went to the doctor and they told him all his results were coming back glowing. My father couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without becoming extremely winded for 5 minutes or so. They weighed him and discovered he had lost nearly 35 pounds in a month.
On December 13th, they admitted my father to the hospital. Despite his need to be on oxygen and difficulty breathing, the doctors weren’t finding much to tell them what was wrong. On December 21st, they did. “He has a rare, aggressive form of lung cancer. It’s inoperable.” It’s been a long time since I cried the way I did that day. On December 26th, we brought him home. Thinner, on oxygen, and needing help to walk, he looked different.
Things are different.
The oncologist told us that he can treat him – they would try chemo but have to catch up, because “the train has already left the station.” I tried not to get upset in front of my father, because I didn’t want him to think that I believed it was written in stone. One day my voice cracked and I failed. He told me “not to worry, my little fräulein, you should know your father is an ornery son of a bitch.” It made me chuckle, and I hope it’s true.
On January 10th, my dad went into the hospital to start his first round of chemo on an inpatient basis. He is extremely weak and eating almost nothing. There have been a few complications and he has had a few episodes where his oxygen levels drop and he can’t breathe. He was supposed to come home after three days. He’s just too weak and we don’t know if he can come home.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. I hope above hope things turn around. I’m afraid for me, but I’m really afraid for my mom. She met him when she was 21 – maybe even 20. Today is her 72nd birthday. That’s been the love of her life for all time. I can’t even fathom what she must feel.
There’s a writer that I follow on Instagram, Cindy Cherie, and she wrote a piece called Moments of Impact.
I can’t help but think how many times in my life that things have happened so quickly – circumstances have changed, a relationship gone, etc. and how it’s changed my life. I will never get over how quickly things can change, and how often we should remind ourselves to be grateful for the good things and people that we have before they’re gone – every day.
Tell the people you love what they mean to you before you don’t get the chance.