What would Dad say?

What would Dad say to me about this cancer, if he were still alive?  I wonder how he would have reacted to the news about my health?  He would have been worried – this I know for sure.  In his earlier years, before Mom passed away, he would not have had much to say – but he would have chatted with Mom after I left the room and expressed himself to her.  Then, she would worry more.  Their private conversations always remained a mystery to me – neither would reveal the secrets of the other.

Dad would have gasped a bit at first and raised his eyebrows.  That’s what he did when he was surprised or concerned.  Sitting in his pink chair, he would have carefully considered his thoughts before speaking.  I’m not sure if he did this because he wasn’t able to get the words out as well as the Parkinson’s progressed, or if he just became much more careful in terms of what he wanted to say.  “That’s serious, Stacey.” he would have said.  “Is there anything I can do?”

Dad also wanted to always help.  He knew he couldn’t, but he also knew those words would mean a lot to me.  Those words would show me that he loved me.  As Dad aged, he became much better at telling me that he, “loved me too.”.  I can still hear the intonation in his voice – they were words that will stick with me forever.  They were the last words I would hear before closing the door of apartment 1001 behind me as I left our visit for my own home.

He would ask me, “are you feeling okay today?” if Dad were here.  I would tell him I felt great.  “Are you in any pain?” he would continue.

“The pain is clearing, Dad.” I would explain.  “I am in good hands.” I would reassure him.

“Do you want a glass of wine, Stacey?” Dad would ask.

And the unthinkable would happen.  I would have to say, “Yes, but I can’t, Dad.  I want to be squeaky clean – no wine, no sugar, no white flour.  I don’t know if it will help, but I want to do everything I can to help my body get healthy.  I need to help my good cells regain ground.”

“Oh, then you better not.   It’s a good thing your Mom is not around, you know.  She would be so worried about you.” I could imagine Dad explaining.

“Yes.  She was always worried about me, Dad.  She always worried I worked too hard and that I did too much.  Maybe she was right.  But, what could I have done any differently?  We choose to fill our lives with family and work and find very little time to just “be”.  You were the same way, Dad, when you were young.”

“Your mother and I always tried to find a healthy balance.  We worked hard, but we also played hard.  We made time to enjoy what we had built.  Living in God’s country – on the farm – also helped.” I could hear Dad explain.

I wish that I could have kept the property and raised our children there.  It was so beautiful – and so back-to-basics.

“Good ol’ Stace.” I can imagine Dad adding.  “You are in a real pickle.  What will you do about work?”  he would inquire.

“My job is good, Dad.  I will be well taken care of.  And I can go back when I’m better.”

“Oh?  When will that be?”

“I don’t know yet, Dad.  We will have to wait and see.” I would reply.

And at that point, Dad may pick up his book and start to read.  His head would be tilted slightly up so that he could see the words in his book through the bottom bifocal portion of his glasses.  He would pause, put his book down, and add, “Your family needs you Stacey.  You be sure to not do too much, okay?”

“Okay, Dad.  I won’t” I would reply.

And that would be that – at least for that moment.  Dad was a man of few words but when he spoke, I listened.   I often get the feeling both he and mom are somewhere off in the distance – not too far away – watching.  They are my guardian angels, helping my family and I to keep level heads.  They are helping us to be brave.  They would be so very proud of Ben, Katya, and David – the way my children have risen to the challenges presented to them recently.  I know mom’s arms are outstretched in anticipation of a hug and a squeeze.  “Oh, dear.” Mom would exhale to my Dad with angst. “Why does this have to happen to her?” I know that’s what Mom would say.

But, Dad, would look at her, pause, then…. what would Dad say?

About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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21 Responses to What would Dad say?

  1. Gwen says:

    I think your Dad’s thoughts are echoed by many.

  2. A lovely, moving post. Bless you.

  3. kiwiskan says:

    and your lovely Dad is probably saying, ‘You can beat this love’…

  4. Gallivanta says:

    From what you write it seems that your lovely father listened to you, too. He heard what you were saying and what you weren’t saying. And he would say all that needed to be said. Enough and no more. Hugs.

    • inmycorner says:

      His definition of wisdom: Knowing what to say – and not saying it. He spoke a lot more once my mom passed away – he learned to express his emotions much better – but still, it was never about him as much about others.

      • Gallivanta says:

        That’s how it seems to me. His heart might be breaking for you and for him, but he would be wise and say “What can I do for you?”

      • inmycorner says:

        Yes – and he would have mobilized his nannies to help. Do you still have your parents, Gallivanta?

      • Gallivanta says:

        Yes, fortunately I do, but they are frail. My mum is 92 and my father is 94. But they have always been there for me with practical advice and support.

      • inmycorner says:

        Oh, how wonderful. No wonder your writing is so “stable”. I really believe parents can play such a role – until “our own” older age – in giving us security of person. Where are they on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? About to attempt a hyperlink and your challenge… it’s quiet here – only 5 am – been awake since 3 am and decided okay – time to get up! Thanks for being here!

      • Gallivanta says:

        That’s a very good point; where are they on that hierarchy? Will be time for your walk soon. 🙂 My parents walked every day until a couple of years ago. I am sure that’s what kept them going. I am a slacker in the walking department.

      • inmycorner says:

        Oh, good grief – you are good! Half-way around the world and you are reminding me that it is time to walk. Wonderful. Just had to finish an inspired post… Now, I”m ready to go – talk to you later.

      • Gallivanta says:

        And it was an inspired post. 🙂

  5. Your dad would say exactly what you needed to hear him say. What would that be???????

  6. Funny. I can hear Mom saying things to me sometimes, too. I think you captured the elegance that was your parents very well – and it’s an elegance you wear well, even if you don’t realize it. 🙂

  7. Janine Baines says:

    I missed this post. I can see your dad as I read this post just thinking and waiting to say what he has to say in that pink chair in the apartment.

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