Monday, October 8, 2012

"Give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light."

I imagined this differently.  I had all of the facts.  I talked to the doctor privately to find out what was really going on all along.  I knew the prognosis, and I had done my research.  I started mourning the loss of my Papa the moment I heard the words "stage 4 lung cancer."  I knew that cancer never leaves a person or family unscathed because we went down this road with my Grandma almost exactly nine years ago.  But, here I am, a complete mess.

The loss of a parent is a completely different kind of ache.  I hurt for my loss, but I hurt so much more for my children, my Mom, my niece, and nephew.  For my children's part, they will only have faint memories of the man who loved them so much and wanted desperately to watch them grow up.  I also hurt for the loss of their innocence in a way.  They're so young to lose someone so important to them.  My nephew Khoner, actually watched Papa die.  He is only ten, and Papa served such a huge purpose in his life.  He was more like a second father than a grandfather, and that memory will probably replay in Khoner's mind for the rest of his life. What a frightening thing to endure for such a young boy.

I believe that Papa is in a better place.  He's with the twins that we lost, which makes me a little bit jealous.  He's also celebrating with my Grandma.  They loved each other so dearly, and it is a comfort to know that they are together again. 

Every day, I watched his misery.  I was helpless against the constant pain and agony he felt.  We all were.  I truly wanted what was best for him, and I told him from the beginning that I didn't want him to feel any obligation to me when it came to fighting.  I told him that when he couldn't fight any longer, I would understand.  So, I know that he's in a better place, and that is a comfort in times like this.  The problem is, he took a part of my heart with him that I know I can never replace.  I am so happy for him.  I am so unbelievably sad for me.

"Time heals all wounds."  I don't buy it.  Time might make them more bearable, but I will always miss my Papa just like I miss my Grandma.  I know that I'll get to a point where I'm not a sobbing mess, but he will always be on my heart and mind.  With my Grandma, it's an ache that catches me off guard on a daily basis.  Just a passing moment when I remember something silly or feel her loss acutely.  I know that it will be different with Papa.

Right now, I'm going through the motions, but I feel like a zombie.  It's like sleep-walking through life.  I smile when I'm supposed to, and I try to be the mother that my kids need, but it's hard.  The grief hits when I least expect it and takes my breath away.   The elephant settles down on top of my chest for what feels like an eternity.  My children don't understand what happened, so it's something that we relive multiple times a day.  I have reminded them every day since Papa died that he was a special person.  I don't ever want them to forget how extraordinary he was.  I will never forget.

I didn't write this to make people worry about me.  I wanted desperately to be honest about what all of this felt like.  I have hope.  I know that day by day, I will learn to cope a little better with the loss of my Papa.  I have an amazing husband who has been so incredibly supportive.  He has held my hand and wiped away so many tears in the last seven months.  He's taken care of the kids on the days when it was rough to get out of bed (I know those days aren't over yet).  I am so grateful to be near my Mom and extended family.  We will all make it through this, but we know the road will be long.

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