The Big C.

Cancer. In case that wasn’t immediately obvious.

My Dad. It has spread. From his kidney to his lungs, and now his bones. This evil, insidious, sneaking little disease has got a hold on his body that he’s not going to be able to shake off.

There are drugs they can give him that will extend his life some. How long, the doctors don’t know, because they are best at treating tumours in the soft tissues – great, should hit the lungs pretty hard – but in all the information I can find on them, they don’t talk about any effects on the growths in his bones.

So he’s going to die, most likely in less than 3 years.

He’s 62.

People keep asking me how I am. I have no idea. How do you even begin to process losing someone who has been a constant your whole life? The person who is half of me. Who created me (with some help).

He’s not perfect, not by a long shot. More recently I’ve been pretty disappointed in some of his world views (not being that fussed about the refugees, for example. Clearly my empathetic side does NOT come from him..!). But he’s my Dad, and I love him, and I can’t imagine a world without him in it.

When I try to, I panic. My chest tightens, I can’t breathe, I can’t move. “not my daddy, not my daddy, not my daddy” cycles around in my head.

The grief that will hit me when he does go is within touching distance. There’s a huge well of it, I can sense it, and the moments of panic let me dip my toes in and see the bottomless depths. It’s terrifying. And I’ve been so unwell the last couple of years. Part of me is afraid that when I lose him – already it’s become a certainty – I might not survive.

He, in himself, is weirdly upbeat about it. “what happens, happens”. And I’m angry at him for this. I want him to fight. I want him to want to stay here. I want him to want to walk me down the aisle when I get married, I want him to want to hold his grandchildren, help them walk, slip them sweeties when I’m not looking.

But I can’t be angry with him. He’s dying, I’m going to lose him, how can I be angry when he won’t be here for very much longer..?!

I guess he might be protecting me from his own emotions. Or just pretending that they don’t even exist. Stuffing them down into the basement of his brain and labelling them “too scary – put in corner behind old piano music”.

He is responsible for my obsessiveness over grammar, my love of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, my ability to read music and (sometimes) play it. He was gruff and abrupt when I was growing up. These days he’s gentle and kind, and generous to a fault. When I lived in New Zealand we barely spoke for months – then he sent me ridiculously extravagant presents like a Japanese cookery course, and a helicopter ride over Lake Taupo.

I love him.

My daddy, my daddy, my daddy. Don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me. I can’t do this without you.


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