I just hung up the phone with my dad. I hung up having just said to him, “Now, go out and Live Life. Go out and look at the world with new eyes and Live.” He probably thought I was being overly mushy. A little over the top. I wasn’t trying to be either of those things. I was speaking from my fast beating heart.
You see, for the past two weeks we’ve all been waiting and waiting for his biopsy, and the results of the biopsy that would tell him if he had cancer. I have trouble even writing the word. It’s a word I hear far too often recently, and have always prayed would not inflict my family. It’s a word that many of you know I fear daily will inflict me.
I found out two weeks ago from my mom that this was all happening. I would have assumed that I would crumble with the thought of the worst case scenario. But instead, I felt my body kick into “Be Strong” gear. I realized I needed to be there to lend strength to my mom. Push positive vibes to my dad. For once, my mind didn’t go to worst case scenario (I knew HIS mind was doing that on its own… yes, I inherited the hypochondriac/I must be dying gene from my dad), instead it went to taking baby steps. Taking one day at a time. Dealing with the present.
My biggest problem is that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. If something is bothering me, anyone who knows me, senses it immediately. I’m quiet. Removed. Maybe, um, bitchy. But I didn’t want anyone outside my family to know any of what was going on, so I had to force a smile onto my face and swat my worries to the back of my mind. I had to continue life as normal with my kids. I had to continue showing joy and playfulness. I couldn’t let my tension be obvious to them.
To the world, I was strong. Optimistic. Hopeful. I actually prayed, something I am not known to do as I am not quite sure who I’m praying to. I wished upon stars. Promised to live life differently if only things would turn out ok. Inside, I was in knots. I woke up each morning imagining how my dad must feel. Anxious. Scared. Alone. I wanted to have words to tell him not to worry but there were no words. And as hard as it is to console your children when they are nervous or sad, I found it that much harder when it was my dad. Your children trust you. Know no other way. Your parents have too much reality in their history to be able to trust with their hearts.
Two weeks of uneasiness. Two weeks of hiding my emotions. Two weeks of staying optimistic and hopeful. And then the phone call came through. I saw my dad’s cell phone number on my caller id and I took a deep breath as I said Hello. He told me the doctor had called.
“And?” I said quietly.
“He said everything is totally fine. I’m totally fine.”
“Oh dad.” I gasped feeling every bit of me melting with relief. “You must feel unbelievable right now.”
“It’s surreal.” he told me, not even sounding excited just worn, and tired.
And that’s when I told him that now he needs to Live. Because that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to Think so much. I’m going to enjoy the days. Because really, you just don’t know how many of them are in front of you. And if you think too much about what you SHOULD do instead of what you CAN do, they will just pass you by.
I am so relieved. For him. For my mom. For me.
And the best part? I leave for vacation tomorrow when my parents will be watching my kids for 2 of the nights, and I told my dad, “Now I don’t want to hear any complaining about the kids. Because even if they keep you up ALL night and drive you completely nuts… being tired is much better than what you thought you’d hear from the doctor.”
And he agreed. And a vacation without the kids AND without guilt is the BEST kind of vacation.
See you in a week!