cancer · dad · death · depression · hope · purpose

A little background

I would like to share some information about myself as to why my depression has spiraled out of control.  Two years ago I lost my best friend in the entire world to pancreatic cancer.  That person was my dad.

When I was a little girl, I always had this fear that dwelled quietly within my soul; it was a sneaking suspicion that something bad was going to happen to my dad.  I suppose it would make sense to blame my anxiety for this fear, but it was a nightmare that ended up becoming my reality.

Cancer is a strange creature.  The diagnosis hits you like a punch to the abdomen.  You lose your breath and can’t catch it again the entire time your loved one is trying to win the fight and stay alive.  For my dad, however, beating cancer wasn’t ever an option.  He was only stealing extra time with the chemotherapy, which, of course, also robbed him of his strength and dignity.  Treatment is a double-edged sword, a sort of catch-22.  Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

The moment I found out his diagnosis, I made him my number one priority and did everything in my power to make his life as rich and normal as possible.  I am still in awe of the inner strength and faith my dad had during his struggles, and his faith only grew stronger as the cancer grew.  I was generally pretty good at holding back my tears in front of my dad because I never wanted him to know how terrified I was that I was going to lose him and how lost I would be.  However, in his last days, I broke down and told him that I loved him, and with tears in his eyes, he said to me, “We don’t understand why, but God has a reason for everything.”  I both struggle with and find comfort in those words.  Why does God let good people suffer?  Someday maybe I will understand.

The day he died, a piece of me died with him.  I no longer felt complete.  We had spent two years together getting to really know each other.  When someone is that ill, you are able to see a whole new version of the person you used to know.  My dad was always so strong (physically and emotionally), but then I had to be the strong person.  I had to ensure he didn’t fall over or try to make jokes in the saddest times just to make him smile or laugh, even when I was crying on the inside.  The things you do for the people you love is a miracle.  You truly don’t know your own strength until you have no choice but to be strong.

I would give anything in the whole world to have my dad back with me, to feel a hug, or to hear his voice.  Now he is my guardian angel, and I think he is leading me (or at least his memory is) to be a kind, honest, loyal, hardworking person.  I must give credit where it’s due: when I’m at my best, I am my father’s daughter.

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