That chill in the air

My husband and I went for a short walk this morning and it was fah-reezing. Well not technically freezing, but it was more cold than I like and November has barely begun. That cold in the air takes me back to a November eight years ago, the month that my Dad died. The memories come flooding back with every ache in my bones from the cold that grabs hold and doesn’t let go again until well into the new year. We lived an hour away from my parents at the time and I made several trips there to assist in the care of my Dad. We knew his time here was fading away because that October at the last visit to his oncologist, the film showed something we had all feared since his original diagnosis a few years before. There was a new tumor on his brain, not radiation damage as was the case at prior visits, but a new and aggressive tumor. I had gotten good at deciphering these pictures and I knew it before the doctor said a word. I knew because of what I saw, but also because of my Dad’s current condition. He was barely there with us as the doctor explained it all to us. My Mom, my brother, and myself. I think my Mom gauged her feelings according to my reaction. She knew I was the researcher and I was the one who always said we don’t worry until we need to worry. I sat there feeling her eyes staring at me, not able to look directly at her because I was fighting tears. I needed to keep my composure and hear all of the doctor’s words, listening for something hopeful, something that we could all cling to for hope. Those words didn’t come. We were going to lose him and our new focus would become keeping him comfortable and preparing ourselves for the inevitable. About that, the preparing for the inevitable. It’s not possible. After he died I always hated getting asked the question, how long was he sick? As if to say we should have seen it coming and been ready for that day to come, the day where he dies for a second time. The first time was with the original diagnosis. That was a death of sorts because we lost the man we knew, the man who would never return. At the core he was the same person we all loved and admired, but physically he would never be the same. So, while I appreciate and believe that people mean well when they try to offer words of comfort or support after a loved one dies, there are some things that we should never say in that situation. There are a few others things we should not say to someone after they’ve lost someone that they love, but I’d rather not make that the focus of this post.

So we didn’t do any preparing, instead we loved, nourished, and cared for this man who had been the strength of our family, but was now the one in need of constant support. I truly don’t remember a whole lot about that November because I believe I went through much of it in a fog, fearful that the next phone call from my Mom would be the phone call. Still to this day, that chill in the air, it transports me back to that November. That November where a piece of my heart still remains.

Luckily I also have Cody’s birthday as a reason to celebrate in November or I might just ask to skip the month altogether.


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