I went to visit Papa tonight. As I drove, I had the deep sense this could very well be the last visit with Papa. What a strange feeling. I’ve only ever seen Papa in this home.. and yet the last weeks as he is quickly declining, the situation is so surreal. As if I’m watching it play out, without wanting to admit that this is Papa. And this might be the last visit.
We celebrated Papa’s 78th birthday with him last weekend. The house was full of family, friends, and people he has impacted by his life. There were conversations, tears, and uncomfortable glances as we all try to navigate this (in our own ways). More than anything I felt uncomfortable for Papa. He is one of the strongest men I will ever know I’m sure.. and yet he laid in his recliner with pillows and oxygen and watched as people came and went: talking, crying, and uncomfortable. Cancer is ugly. I look at Papa.. and I think cancer is ugly. I don’t want to remember him like this. Because here he is weak.
I will remember him as strong. I’ll tell Jameson, Lucia, and Colette about the way he worked. I always knew there was a bit of Papa in me.. because I don’t like to sit still. Papa has always been up to something with a cup of coffee in hand. When we remodeled our first house, he was quick to come over with tools to see “things got done right”. He is dedicated to family. I’ve always known this.. but the last weeks have really been a beautiful picture of seeing how much he has invested in his family. He is deeply loved. There are pictures everywhere of moments shared with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Because he was there. A month or two ago while our family visited, Papa was down on the floor setting up train tracks for Jameson.
Jameson begged to go with me tonight and I said Papa wouldn’t be able to help with the train tracks. When I came home, I cuddled with Jameson (as I do every night) and we talked about Papa and how sick he is.. to which Jameson responded:
“mom- if papa dies its okay, because God could take much better care of him”.
I love the sweet reminders from my five-year-old. The letting go is hard when I think about me.. because I don’t want to let go.