Friday, March 18, 2011

One month without Dad

Thirty two days actually, but close enough. My last report was at nine days, and as I'm sure all of you can either guess or can relate, it hasn't really gotten easier yet, and I'm not to the point of expecting it to. The surreality of it is still as strong. The vision of seeing his lips fade from pink to white, and the realization that came with that sight, still haunts me. I still cry every day and dream of my father every night. I have no doubt I will get past all of that, though. I am able, everyday, to smile and press onward telling myself that my Dad would want me to be happy and live life to the fullest, and that is what I am bound and determined to do.

Today I decided to share an email I received. It is from a nurse who cared for my Dad while he was in the ICU getting IL-2 treatments. He spent two weeks there.

I am truly sorry for the loss of your father. In the few days I was given the opportunity to get to know him I feel truly fortunate. Your father demonstrated an incredible spirit despite the odds. In fact, I mention your father to every IL-2 patient I have now. He will always be known as the Super-Leukin Man and the first to receive most all of the doses.

Unfortunately, I experience death much more than average and though I may only have a few days or several hours to get to know the patient and family, I try my best to never forget. Steve will never be forgotten. He inspired me with his unbeatable and positive fervor throughout the most difficult challenge to face, to stay alive physically and emotionally.

Your father is a shining star.
"And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should"- Desiderata, Max Erhman

I decided to share this today because it makes my heart burn with happiness every time I read it. The inspiration he shared is really what it's all about. I said something very similar about that topic at my Dad's funeral, it was the one thing I really wanted people to remember, and to hear it from someone else was such a great gift.

Some of you know and some of you don't, that my husband was away with the Army for most of the tough times with my Dad. This made things unmeasurably harder, but that is life and we all did what we could. While he spent weeks in the field, laying on frozen ground with no food and no sleep, hiking through frozen streams in the dead of night, he would say to himself and the other guys, "At least cancer isn't breaking my bones."

So I guess my point is this… there are lots of things that make a bad day. Lots of things we can get angry about, get frustrated about, feel sorry for ourselves about. But if you're not dying, stop and ask yourself, is it really that bad? Is it really worth all the grief I'm causing myself and everyone around me?

Cheer the hell up, it could be worse. And that's not just a cliché.

Several months back I began pondering a new tattoo design and decided on a large, antique rose in the middle on my back. I've since been thinking on the perfect wording to accompany it and finally decided a few days ago…

"Being alive is the meaning."

I dare you to find me better words to live by.


Valorie said...

Thank you for this. The things I've been through in the last year have really taken a toll on my optimism. We all need inspiration to help us see beyond what is directly in front of us that may seem hopeless and like a dead end. I wish I'd gotten to meet your dad when I was out there last March. He seems to have touched many, and I'm sure you're making him proud through what you have shared of him with the world.

Miss you and Tyler. Hope we can get together soon. Maybe I can come out during my break in classes.

f2images said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, Nicole. How touching the letter of the nurse who cared for your dad. It's cool to think, that is just one of I'm sure many lives that your father touched.


Ashley said...

It's not just a cliche, right? "It could be worse" and "you have all you NEED" are things I try to remind myself often.

I didn't realize that your husband is in the Army, I suppose that's what the moving is about?

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, Nicole.

Linda B said...

That's a lovely post and it's great that the nurse shared with you. Memories live on within us ... my parents died within 1 year of each other and it's been over 20 years, and I still miss them.

You'll get through this one day at a time.


Peach Rainbow said...

Thanks for this lovely post. may God bless you with more strength and patience.

Asil Designs said... that I can see the keyboard from the tears in my eyes...I just want you to know that I've thought of you everyday since your dad passed...and the heartache you must be faced with right now and my heart breaks! This message you are sending to everyone is absolutely beautiful and the words for your tat are amazing and something everyone should live by!!! Stay strong xo

Brie said...


Shonda said...

My dear Nicole...I love you to pieces. My heart aches for your pain. Your father has inspired many including me and I have never met you or him! Think of all that you have both done. <3 I think of you often. Sending warm hugs. xo

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

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this.
You and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers and I am humbled by your words today.

wzgirl said...

Being Alive is the Meaning. That's just right. Do it.

hello gorgeous said...

hey gorgeous, I now join you on this journey of lost his fight last saturday after only four weeks of fighting....the surrealism is all consuming, I can't quite connect the two "dad + death"...even when I picture him all calm and serene and pain-free, it's not dad I am seeing. I too witnessed his last breathe but for me it was a sense of know he was no longer in pain and that he wasn't alone at that hand was on his heart...but with the relief heartbreak followed...we say our final goodbye on Thursday 24th

Mum has had her results now...she has Hodgkin Lymphoma, she will need chemotherapy every two weeks, for at least six months....out of one battle and into the next!

With thes battles and personal health issues I have definitely come to realise life is WAY TO SHORT to waste on trivial upsets...people need to take stock and see what's MOST important to them and live their lives.... unfortunately I think this only happens when a tragedy shows itself

My heart is with you on your journey of missing...keep hold of the good times and live life to the full sweetie ;o)


hello gorgeous xxx

Kateri said...

What a beautiful letter and a thoughtful post. Thank you for your open heart, Nicole. With affection.

BenaBasil said...

Thanks for sharing your journey! Here's wishing you warm hugs!

Stacy said...

Note to self: "Do Not read Lillyella Blog While at Work" Seriously, I am sitting here bawling my eyes out, again, as I do every time I read about your dad. But thank you, for being so frank and honest. This post says it all. There is so much negativity around me, especially when I am at work. I am going to print this out and carry it with me as a reminder to myself and others. Bless you!

Maureen O'G said...

Dear Nicole,
I am so very sorry to hear about your dear Dad. Thank you for sharing his nurse's beautiful letter. I would like to share my friend Cindi's beautiful words to me on the loss of my Dad. I hope they will bring you the comfort they brought me.

"I am so very very very sorry for your terrible loss. I know nothing can help right now, but the depth of your sorrow is an indication of how much you were blessed to be his daughter, and all that you have to be thankful for in the magical time you had together. "For that which you love most in your friend is clearer in his absence, as the mountain, to the climber, is clearer from the plain." And, of course, he is with you now even more, there being now no physical separation."