Cold Rooms and Words
. . . . As I promised
Two young resident doctors stood in the ER room with my father resting in the bed. I was sitting in one of those blue plastic chairs they put in the room for the accompany to the patient. Emergency rooms are incredibly freezing. So are blue plastic chairs. It was now July 29 and 1:30 am. It felt like it does this week outside, but inside that hospital. As did the words so quickly leaving the mouth of this guy . . . *side note: Remember “Kidney Stones?” I had my money on those pesky kidney stones. You know, the ones they saw on that kidney ultrasound some months back. . . Tumor. Large abdominal mass. You have a very, sizeable tumor growing from your kidney. “Sir, we don’t even think this is operable…” “It’s likely cancer but we don’t know for sure” We are sending this to the Renal Cancer and Surgical team right away. Someone should call you tomorrow. Then they left.
Silence. Then some staring. A puzzled look. My chin quivered and the tears flowed. Dad was withdrawn. He looked at me and said “I guess this is it”.
This was not on either of our minds. It honestly, did not ever cross my mind prior to this firm announcement.
& I can’t recall or say why “tumor” or “cancer” didn’t cross my mind prior. I may have been living in the clouds. Naïve. Maybe I didn’t really think our days could possibly be numbered? You know, it seems as if…. We all know someone who was just diagnosed, is being treated for or is losing their cancer battle. It just didn’t add up to me - what little I knew - that his horrific pain, tiredness, and shortness of breath symptoms were cancer related or – tumor related for that matter….
This was the beginning of our numbered days. The beginning of what the future, or lack of, would feel like. Dad went down the hole right away. He said “Yep, we are calling the auctioneer this week and the farm is going up for sale. I just can’t do it and it’s not fair to leave you girls with it.” We had been talking about selling the farm off and on for two years. Although “The Farm” was just a little over 10 acres and we didn’t actually farm it, it was Dad’s promised land. A hobby farm, where he tinkered and enjoyed himself. He had owned it for 6 years and it brought him healing from many of his life’s traumas. He fixed the barn and built himself a shop. Scott and I got married there, which made it a special place for me, too. Luna caught groundhogs and was always swimming in her creek. We dreamed of it becoming a wedding venue and it never took off. I can say now, that it was The Lords will.
As we sit there and wait to be discharged, we talk about the seriousness of this situation we were thrust into. His POA, an updated Will and you know, legal stuff. “My Will is old and its about time I update it! You girls are grown up now and can handle any and all of my affairs.” He was insistent that he get his ‘things’ in line. I was on board with whatever he wanted. This was not and has never been about me.
We sat their saddened. Crushed. He continues, talking about the many things on his heart. Things he wishes he would’ve done differently. Places he would like to travel to. Wanting to be a pop-pop forever. “I love Luna, and she saved me from destruction”. It felt really premature to be so besides himself. Maybe he just knew. We sat for 2 hours before a nurse came to discharge us. Both of us beyond exhausted, he started cracking what he thought were jokes. He looks at me… “yeah I am really tired but I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” OK can you say mortified??? Hellloooo can we not right now??? He laughed. . . and on he went. Dad: “I’m hungry!” Rachel: “okay, we can get whatever you want.” Dad: “Okay sounds good, we will call it the last supper!” - and did he ever chuckle!!
You should’ve seen the look on my face. I could’ve passed out! I was just not about it. I cannot even imagine if someone was listeing I said “Okay you are done!!” He said he needed to laugh. I can smile about it now, but I’m not laughing yet. Out the door we went to begin this scary, unknown, walking by faith season of our life.
July 29 was the start of our 443 day journey. To be continued . . .
"The Farm" probably 2014 before the barn was redone