I changed the name of my blog a little while ago. I was going to post about it, but then some things happened.
On Sunday, November 24, at 2:25 am, my dad passed away.
It still isn't real. I was there, I watched him take his last breath, and still I haven't grasped it.
Just about 2 years ago, at one of our family gatherings, my dad slipped on some ice and broke his arm. That kind of ruined the day, but what came as a result was kind of a blessing, and kind of ruined everything. Turns out the reason his arm broke was because the bone was full of cancer. And when you have bone cancer, that means that it started somewhere else in your body, and has been there long enough to spread. The blessing was that now we knew about it, and he could start getting treatments.
In June last year, Dad had surgery to remove one of his kidneys, where the cancer originated. After the surgery he had problems with his lungs filling up with fluid. They had to be drained a couple of times, and he was on oxygen for a couple months after. But it looked like his treatments were going good for the next year and a bit, and the cancer wasn't spreading. He had a good year.
In the middle of October he had some scans that showed that there was a metastasis on his remaining kidney. Not good. The scans also showed a build up of fluid in his lungs again. As a result of the fluid buildup, as well as changing his chemo, his appetite went way down, and he was hardly eating anything after this point. At the beginning of November, he was in the hospital over a weekend to have it drained. We thought that would be good for a while.
November 17 was the last Sunday lunch that we had together. He wasn't feeling very well so he only ate a bowl of pudding. He slept most of the day, and was having a lot of pain because his lungs were full of fluid again. The next day, my parents went to the hospital to have his lungs drained again. The doctors didn't do anything that day, so they went home to go back the next day. That was the last time he was home. From Tuesday on he was in the hospital. Finally on Thursday his lung were drained. My brother Mico and I went to see him that afternoon, after the drain was in, and my dad was not in good shape. He could recognize us, but he seemed really out of it. They thought it might be the combination of medications they had given him, and that it would wear off. It was really freaky to see him that way, because my mom and the nurses would ask him questions, and he wouldn't answer them. His eyes were kind of glazed over. But I never thought that the next day I would get a phone call from my mom where she would tell me that the doctor gave my dad 24 hours to live.
As soon as we got the call we headed to the hospital. I was in tears the entire time. The next hours were a blur of crying and waiting and praying. When we got to the hospital he could still respond a very little bit: he didn't talk at all, really, but he looked at us and could make noises in acknowledgment. That was around 6:30 pm on Friday. By noon on Saturday he wasn't responding at all anymore. From then on he was in a drug-induced sleep, because otherwise he was in too much pain. As the day went on, his breathing got worse and worse, and finally in the last few hours it seemed like any breath would be his last.
I can't even begin to describe how terrible it is to watch your father in so much pain, barely able to breathe anymore because one of his lungs has failed, and all of his organs shutting down, except for his stupid big strong heart. You don't want him to go, but you don't want him to stay in that suffering either. We prayed a lot for God to just take him home, to end the suffering.
36 hours after we arrived at the hospital, he breathed his last breath. I stood there and watched his soul leave his body. And in the two weeks since, it has been a series of moments where it hits me again that my dad isn't here anymore. The week it happened was so busy with planning the viewing and the funeral, and family coming around, and people texting and messaging condolences all day long, I didn't have time to really feel it. I thought about it but I didn't have time to feel it. Now the texts have stopped, and everyone else has forgotten, but now is when I can feel the hole. As I was finishing up this post, I was suddenly struck by the worst crying fit I've had since the hospital, just overcome by my grief.
There is some good news in all of this. My dad went to be with Jesus, and I have absolute complete assurance that I will be there with him someday. My dad has been completely healed of all cancer and pain and sadness and fear. We can rejoice because of the salvation we share.
We do not mourn like those who have no hope. We have the most incredible hope there is, and without it I can tell you that I would be the hugest wreck ever. Yes, I am so sad and I grieve, but I can go through my day and I am not overwhelmed.
I can still say that God is good and give him glory.