Saturday, July 30, 2011

Isolated in the Crowd

My dad really had a rough time last night.  He was in acute pain, the pain pills didn't seem to be helping and he was refusing to go to the hospital.  I had been in Bowling Green since Monday night and although I hated leaving, I came home Thursday evening to spend a couple of days at home.  I know I can't be there with him 24/7 and I certainly have things to take care in my own household, but I struggled yesterday with not being there.  I was weepy most of the day and when I got home from work, had a serious and long case of the sobs.  About the time I spent most of the emotion, Jan called to ask me to call and talk to my dad because he wouldn't listen to her about going to the hospital, or even trying some medication to make him more comfortable.  I got on the phone with him and it was obvious that he was in distress, but wasn't going to let anyone try and help him.  It was extremely upsetting and the feeling of helplessness that I already feel in this situation was smothering.  I told him I would call back in an hour and if he wasn't feeling better, I was going back to BG and would manhandle him into an ambulance myself if that is what had to be done.  When I called back, he was sleeping and Jan did not want us to come back since I am already planning to go back tomorrow and stay for several days.  This morning he does seem to be a bit better, praise God.

I know many friends who have lost their parents, spouses and children to cancer.  I lost a dear friend to breast cancer a few years ago.  My aunt died of lung cancer in 1999 and my cousin of brain cancer many years before that.  Most everyone has experienced a loved one or someone they know dying of cancer. My sister died in a car accident when she was 13 and my mom died in 1999 quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  Although my dear aunt died of lung cancer (acutally the same day my mom died, but that is another story), I lived in a different city and did not experience the day to day diminishing of her life from her disease.  This experience with my father is my first stint on the front lines of caring for someone who is dying of cancer.  Several of my dearest, most beloved friends have lost parents and spouses to cancer and have stood where I am now.  They are holding me up daily with advice, prayer and the sharing of their experiences.  I'm surrounded by people who love me, who are there for me, who are reaching out daily just to make sure I am okay, who are willing to cry with me, give me a hug or just sit silently with me.  My husband is my rock and is walking this path by my side.  I have all this support from wonderful people and I have honestly never felt so isolated in my entire life.  It is hard to explain it, but I know that those of you who have been in my shoes will know what I mean.  I even feel hollow in my soul, like if i banged on my chest with my fist, I would hear an echo like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.  My life feels surreal right now and I feel like a spectator to it a lot of the time.  I don't know what I would do without the loved ones who are keeping me grounded right now and making this isolation in the crowd bearable. 

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