Tuesday, February 15, 2011

saying goodbye

It was almost two years ago exactly that my Dad discovered what he thought was a bug bite on his leg. He was diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma just shy of two months later. I officially gave up my hope that he would win the fight this past December 23 and he finally lost his battle today at 7:20 am. He was 59.

The house was quiet and dark. My mom and husband were sleeping, I was at his bed side holding his hand as he took his last breath. The last two years have been hard. The last eight months have been harder. The last two weeks have been the hardest and there just aren't words to describe the last few days. But it's over, and that's what we've been hoping for. Once you know you're out of options, you just want the pain to end.

I've had a long time to prepare for this moment, and I know it's helped immensely, but it's still harder than anything really should be. I know there will be times I forget that he is gone. I'm sure to hit speedial 6 on my cell phone at least half a dozen times before it really sinks in. This has been the focus of my life for so long now, I know I'll feel some confusion in the weeks ahead. It will take some time to get into a new routine, but I have lots to keep me busy and so much to look forward to.

I have nothing but good memories though. My Dad was a super cool guy and no one would protest that. It's been really nice to get messages from school day friends remembering how cool he always was to them. I've always been thankful to my parents for helping to mold me into the person I am. They set a perfect example for me to learn the important things like a strong work ethic, how to be a good person, how to cook and how to love. Most importantly they let me figure out who I was going to be, and then let me be that person.

The services are Thursday and Friday at a beautiful memorial park near my house. Dad said he wanted it to be a party, so I hope we can make it one. I'm wearing a yellow dress, figured that was a good place to start.

I honestly would have fallen apart through all of this without the amazing support from all of you. You saved me, and I think about that every day.

I'll be back in action full steam ahead once the dust settles. Soon though. I'm ready.

xox ~ nicole

My Dad and I, 1980

71 comments:

Karen said...

It's been 12 years for me since I lost my mom, and I still find myself thinking, "Oh, I need to tell her that!"

And the I go ahead and do.

They aren't really ever gone, and it sounds like you have a lifetime of memories to keep him close. Best wishes and love to your family.

eNVe said...

You are so strong yet graceful and your dad was equally lucky to have his amazing daughter by his side. :)

Terri said...

Nicole - I'm so sorry to hear this. I know life has been tough for awhile now. I can't imagine the grief you've been going through. I love that your dad wants his memorial service to be a party... it says a lot about the kind of person he was.

Pen and Paperie said...

My heart is with you. I lost a dear, dear friend to pancreatic cancer eight months ago. I have vivid memories of the time I spent with her, and even the frightening and sad memories, I cherish.
She also wanted her memorial to be a celebration. I wore a white dress with purple flowers on it, that she'd bought for me, to her funeral.

Brenda said...

My heart is breaking for you, Nicole, but I'm also so relieved that your wonderful dad is no longer in pain. And I'm also so glad that you were with him as he slipped to the next world, which I think is so so important (after working for years in an oncology unit).

That said, I hope you can feel the many gentle, virtual arms that are embracing you during this time. We all love you and want to be there for you, however we can.

My love to you and your family, Brenda

Genevieve Gail said...

Just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you...Hugs from Georgia ♥

Cristy (Garden 22) said...

It is obvious that your parents did well in raising you. Sending you love.

Catherine Ivins said...

Thinking of you Nicole and sending love and warm thoughts your way - your dad was an amazing dad and you are an amazing daughter - my dad died the day after I turned 18 and I still think about him everyday - we really do live on through the people who love us ...


xo

Rachel Lucie Johns said...

such sad news, such a final relief for you all, and such a tragedy to live with. Your Dad sounds amazing, cherish that (I know you will). You and your family are in my thoughts xxxxxx

Madae said...

My heart aches for you Nicole! I lost my dad to cancer almost 6 years ago. May God comfort you and may all the good memories of your dad help you through this difficult time.

Clementine said...

Nicole, you have been so honest and true and open here during your dad's illness, I just know that you were exactly what he needed in his final months and days and hours. The stillness, it is a blessing and shock. You and your family are constantly in my thoughts. Sending much, much love to you.
xo Cassie

Mieko said...

I am so sorry... I don't know what to say. I just wanted to let you know I am sending hugs your way.

Ann + Chloe said...

Peace be with you and your Mom Nicole. If there is anything you need, you only need to let me know.
I will be thinking of you tomorrow.... <>

Christina said...

Hugs! I am so sorry for your and your family's loss. I am glad to hear that his suffering is over but it still must be incredibly hard. :( God bless!

Jennie {Clover and Violet} said...

Nicole, I'm so sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You are an amazing person and I imagine that your family is equally as wonderful and blessed to have you with them as you all go through these continued difficult times.

Shonda herblueyestudio said...

Nicole...squeezing you tight...the battle is over he has won and is now pain free. I'll be thinking of you and your family as you rejoice and celebrate the wonderful man that your father was and I know he will be dancing in heaven! xoxo Shonda

UnaOdd -Lynn said...

Nicole,

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Father. The photo you posted is just so special. So poignant and beautiful.

I will keep you in my thoughts.

Theresa said...

I have no words, I am so, so sorry.
Love and sympathy,
Theresa

Candied Fabrics said...

Nicole, My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. I know (from your tweets) that this time has been incredibly hard on you, but how awesome to have been able to do your all, be there in every way imaginable. You'll never look back and say "if only I had..." or "i wish I had..." you did all that you could and more. I weep with you, and send you caring, healing thoughts.

Candy

Lee Ann said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I have lost some close family to cancer and it is a hard fight. Prayer is all I have to offer but it is the best I have also. God bless.

Lisa Hopkins said...

I'm so sorry, Nicole, and I'm thinking of you and your family. That's a beautiful picture of you and your dad. Hugs to you!

Roseanna said...

I love that picture...saying goodbye feels like sending part of you away, but the memories and stories told will keep him in your midst. My deepest sympathies at this difficult time for you and your family.

Craftstress Kira said...

My deepest sympathies for your loss.

Cindy said...

Nicole,
My heart goes out to you and your family for your loss. Although it's been almost two years since my mom's death and 12 years since my fathers death, not a day goes by that I don't think about them and remember all the wonderful times we shared. Time will help heal your pain and he will forever live within you. If you ever need to talk, I'm only an email away.

merium said...

Sending much sympathy and wishing you peace in your heart..

Jess said...

That is the most gorgeous photo, ever. Thinking of you and your family. Glad his pain is over, and hugs to all of you. xx

Erin Jane - Erin Jane Designs said...

My heart is with you, Nicole. I've been reading your story over the last several months and everything you have said has been so touching, open and honest. You are an amazing daughter. Hugs to you and your family.

Spirited Earth said...

i'm so sorry to learn the news about your Dad.My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family..it's a blessing you could be with your dad through all he had to deal with..i'm sure it was a great comfort to him.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I adore the picture of you and your Dad in 1980. How precious to have not just that but your wonderful memories. My 3 girls (18-24) have been fatherless for 3 yr. He was a wonderful father and they miss him terribly. But they knew/know they were loved and cherished. My prayers are with you.

Hello, I'm Emily Clare. said...

huge hugs. i can't imagine what you've been through but appreciate that you chose to share your journey with us. your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
**hugs**

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. Thank you for letting us in and sharing that story, it was a beautiful gift to be able to read that. My dad has cancer too and it will not go away, it is chronic. He's seems healthy now but I wait for the other shoe to drop. I never admit that so thanks for letting me do that today.
I will think of you and your family a lot as you adjust to this loss.

Monica said...

Nicole, I am so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you were able to be right there by his side and I'm glad he is no longer in pain.

Love and prayers to you and your family.

That photo is so precious and you can see the deep undying love between you two.

Emerald Window said...

I send lots of love and strength to get through the coming days. You are a very wise daughter to realize that he is pain-free at last.
I know he will always be looking over your shoulder, smiling.
Your photo is PRECIOUS. What a wonderful memory caught on film.
Cenya

jhitomi said...

so sorry for your loss. What a sweet photo of you and your dad. Thank you for sharing what must have been a hard thing to even write about.

Sandrine said...

I feel touched by your post. The picture is just beautiful!
Take your time to heal from your lost...

genie marie said...

I'm so so sorry. My thoughts are with you. xo

Prairie Emporium said...

I am so sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Love the picture.

Genea said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry for you and your family :( I can't imagine the sadness that is in your heart. I will be praying for you all.

Much love,

Genea

hello gorgeous said...

hey gorgeous, I am sad for your loss but like you say when it gets to this stage you just want the pain to be taken away. I LOVE the picture of you and your dad, it has a 70's vibe to it...so full of love :o)

I am going through the same with my dad only we have just had the diagnosis last week...it looks like he only has weeks left so every emotion is being condensed in a short space of time.....it's like an uncontrollable rollercoaster :o(

We also have the unbearable news my mum has also got cancer..she is booked in for an op to remove a lump in her neck on Friday....life can truly suck sometimes.

hugs to you and your family

hello gorgeous xxx

*Evelyn* said...

How sad to hear this news
Nicole I am close to you and wish you all the best for you and your family.....
Years ago I lost my boyfriend and some friends in car accidents, and now I have a shell around the heart...
if you think your father has gone to a place more beautiful,
you manage to overcome this sad moment

I'm with you
Evelyn

Lisa said...

Peace and Blessings to you Nicole!

Lynn said...

So sorry to hear the news, Nicole...sending lots of love and warm thoughts to you and your family.

alexkeller said...

just lots of love, dear one
xoxo

LegoLauren said...

Nicole, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you had some time to adjust to this reality, but I'm not sure if it makes this part better. But eventually, I hope you're able to feel that happiness about your extra time with him.

As I watched you talk on twitter yesterday, I was saddened and relieved for you. I kept you in my thoughts all day.

KristaR said...

So sorry for this tremendous loss Nicole. Thinking of you and wishing you peace in the days ahead.

Susan aka Suzula said...

Know you're loved and in my thoughts... Suz

Sherry said...

I'm so, so sorry Nicole. Your comments are beautiful and I know you will cherish them.

It's the little things that always remind me of my mom, I think you'll find that's true for your dad as well.

Thinking about you,
xoSherry

Nicole said...

My heart goes out to you! It is very hard to be on such a 'journey' with a loved one, but remember that there is no more pain and your father is in a better place. I will be praying for you and your entire family!

Heather A said...

My heart is with you. I miss my Dad, too. Always. Similar circumstances. I hope the embrace of family and friends and blog followers provides some comfort and strength.

Orion Designs said...

Nicole -- I'm so sorry for your loss. As you said, the pain is now finally gone. I still think of my mother every single day, even after 21 years.

The best we can hope for, is to learn to live with the loss.

All the best to you and your family,
Vicki

Jessica said...

Nicole, may your sweet memories bring you comfort in the days ahead. My thoughts are with you.

Jen said...

So sorry to hear about your news. Stay strong and cherish the memories you have!

vadjutka said...

Oh, I am so very sorry for you!
Sending you a BIG hug!!

Judit

Charmaine said...

Sending you warm thoughts and big hugs. So awesome that you will be wearing a yellow dress...I'm sure your dad would love that. Have the best party you can have...tell stories of your dad. I will be thinking about you.

Charmaine

ehaire said...

You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort and peace together during this difficult time.

Erika

Karen Koch said...

Hi Nicole,

My heart goes out to you and your family. Your dad sounds like a wonderful guy. That photo of the two of you is priceless.

Hope the party is a blast. We had one after my Mom passed, and I know she had a hand in some of the ...quirks... that happened during it. Just her style.

Caroline said...

Nicole-I am so sorry. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

ArtMind said...

My heart and thoughts are with you, Nicole! It's been a tough battle that didn't have a good ending unfortunately. Your dad has been lucky having you & so many people who care beside him. It must have been very comforting knowing that he was not alone.
Dealing with this loss is something that will need time but know that you are loved too and that many of us are here for you! Thanks for sharing his story on so many occasions. Take care, sweet! Thinking of you and sending you strong vibes!

Som's Studio said...

Nicole, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my dad 11 years earlier, to a heart attack. He was just 52. I never really got over his death. I hope that it gets better with time for you. Sending prayers and warm thoughts your way.

Dennice {Fringe} said...

sending you my love, dear one. i think about you all the time.

remember, i'm just a phone call away if you need me.

xoxo

ana carina said...

I don't really know what to say.. but I wanted to give you a virtual hug.

*hugs*

Stacy said...

I can't even imagine losing one of my parents, but I know it will happen one day. When it does, I hope I can face it with the same grace and courage that you have displayed, Nicole. God Bless you and your family that you may find the strength to carry on through what will undoubtedly be some very difficult days ahead.

Lynsey Phelps - VerreEncore said...

Nicole, I'm thinking of you during this difficult time. Keep hold of those cherished memories.
xx

wzgirl said...

Hugs, you. Sending loving hugs...xo, WendyZ

Richard said...

Nicole I just have to say hang in there. That is what your father would want. You will always have the good memories like in that picture. I am a little younger than your father and my daughter was taken from me when she was only 6 years old. I know what you are going through.

Pretty Things said...

I'm truly thinking of you now. I have a friend going through this right now. If I could send a hug and help through the internet, I would.

LoriH said...

I think of you often. He must of known how lucky he was to have such a wonderful daughter. Hugs and love,

Lor

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

oh i'm so sorry for your loss. sending you a virtual hug.

Chicalessia said...

Im very sorry for your lost. Hope the good memories from the past with your dad help you through this difficult time.

April in CT said...

Nicole, I'm so incredibly sorry for this loss for you and your family. It's crystal clear your father had a special spirit that was passed on to you. I can't offer any words that will help ease your pain, but please know I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

LazyTcrochet said...

I am so sorry, Nicole. I posted an upbeat comment on your cross-stitch post and then read back further to this. Peace, hugs, and best wishes to you.