My mother opened the door walked to the car. We listened to the engine start, and watched as she pulled out of the driveway. She had just received a message, requesting her presence at the emergency room as soon as possible, on account of my father. He had left that morning to go to the hospital; due to the unbearable pain he had been experiencing shooting through his stomach over the past few days.
My brother, sister, and I sat on the living room couch. The haze of the warm early July day hung heavily in the air. I flipped through the channels on the television, mindlessly looking at the pictures, never realizing that everything looked the same in the blur of endless pictures that my eyes could not register. I didn't know what it could be. I kept asking myself what was wrong with my father, what was going on, why didn't I go with my mother.
I interlocked my fingers and began to pray, to make deals with God that everything is going to be okay, and that this was nothing serious, that the message was wrong, my dad had just forgotten his coat and needed my mother to bring it to him.
The clock continued to tick, and hours began to pass. The pit in my stomach had now found its way up to my throat, and the thoughts of the worst began to form tears in my eyes. "It's taking to long"ÃÂ, I thought, "This is way to long for him to only want his coat."ÃÂ The reality started to settle in. The fact that this, whatever it is, is not something simple at all. I heard the car rumble across the gravel in the driveway and turn off. The door slammed, and my mother opened the door. An air of devastation followed her downcast face into the house. I asked her what was wrong. Her simple response of "It's worse than we thought,"ÃÂ was enough to set a tear running down my cheek.
"How bad is it?"ÃÂ I croaked out, through the lump blocking my words.
"He has cancer."ÃÂ My heart dropped to my feet, and she looked away from me, in a vain effort not to let me see her tears welling up in her eyes. All I could think was that this couldn't be happening. The words of comfort that I would have offered up to someone else if they had just told me news like this could not form in my mind. Anything that I could have said would have sounded trivial, and diminutive. Things like this don't happen to my family. They only happen on T.V., or to someone that is a friend of a friend but they don't happen to my family. And especially not to my father. This is my daddy, the same man that used to pretend to eat worms to get a laugh out of my, the same man that comes and covers me up in the middle of a cold night so that I don't get sick, and the man that I want to make proud every day of my life. Life as I had known it would never be the same again, and this recognition tore a piece of my heart away.
I didn't know what to say to him when he came home. I didn't want to break him, or to make him sicker. At this point, we had no idea what exactly was wrong with him. Over the next few weeks, it was determined that this disease that had its claws on my father was prostate cancer, and that over the course of the next year or so, this sickness would be taking my father from me once and for all.
Even know, when I see him walking through our house, I can't imagine him never being there. I can't picture him not being there to see me walk down to isle of my wedding, or to hold his grandchildren in his arms, and look at them with eyes full of love. I am so thankful that I am getting a chance to appreciate him while he is here, and that we are getting a chance to hopefully redeem the years that we have lost, when I was to busy to take notice of him, or that being with my dad just wasn't the "cool"ÃÂ thing to do. I realize that I need him in my life, and that, even after he is gone, that he is always going to be with me, in some way shape or form. He is never going to leave my side, and I just want him to know that while he is hear, with me that I realize how precious life is, and that he has taught me that, and so much more.