I must warn you right now: this might get sappy. I haven't posted in so long. Partly because life got busy (we had a baby in April) and partly because I couldn't really put words to my string of conscious (and unconscious) thinking. Life has thrown a few curve balls at us recently and we are just now feeling like our head is above water.
Don's dad was re-diagnosed with cancer in July 2010. He went through 2 more rounds of Chemo (read: HELL) and decided he wanted to enjoy the time he had left without such a poor quality. By March of this year, he began Hospice services. We have had a few scares, thinking these could be our last days. But more recently, we have had more joyful days. He has been doing spectacular (considering) and my girls have really been able to spend some quality time with him. We all have! I guess you can say he found a new reason to live. Not to toot my family horn, but truthfully, I think it's my kids. The more time they spend with him, the brighter he appears.
Today was Heather's last day of school! After picking her up at noon, we picked up some lunch and headed to Round Rock to see my in laws. Don is in Dallas and will be driving in to meet us. While in Round Rock, I took my kids and father in law on a trip to the local fro yo shop. My (bonus) daughter Heather had a bit of an emotional day, so I believed a treat was in order! While sitting across from Don's Dad, I watched as he admired my kids, each diving into their treat like it was water in a desert. I could see his wheels spinning. How unfortunate, I thought, that he has so little time left. But how fortunate are we that we get to spend it with him. Some times my conversations with him have left me so emotional, simply thinking, I might not hear his wisdom again. But today was different.
Today I started thinking about the things that are sometimes left unsaid. You see, as he has gotten more ill, he has spent time telling each one of us how much he is going to miss us. He has shared the highlights of his life, all including a child or grandchild. As the ones left behind, we cry, hug him and tell him how much we will miss him as well. We all try to be strong in front of him, not letting him see how it is tearing us up inside to watch him suffer. I started thinking about how those who are ill sometimes leave letters for those left behind. They share those intimate feelings and leave the family feeling so grateful, yet unconsolable. We are lucky that we can get these letters and have these conversations. But for the ill, when they pass, it's not as if we can have a letter waiting for them on the other side. How cool would that be if we could write a letter, send it to heaven with their name on it, and have it waiting at the pearly gates when they arrive. But we can't.
Instead, our job is this. Simply put: Do not leave things unsaid between you and those you love. If you love someone, tell them. If they don't know before they go, they never will. There is no such thing as that letter waiting for them on the other side. Therefore, we have tell them how we feel at the time we feel it. If we do this, how wonderful would it be to feel complete when they go and how fortunate for them to know before we they go.
None of this is novel information. None of this should be something new to anyone. This is just something that I am currently experiencing that I thought I needed to get out. In all fairness, I warned you that this was sappy. I love my inlaws dearly. In the time before Don and I got married, while we were still dating, his Dad lived with Don over the winters and I spent a lot of time with him. I enjoyed the conversations we shared. Many of which I will never forget, as they were words of wisdom regarding my future life as a step mother.
That's it for now. I hate that my first post is so emotional. My next will be more entertaining. Life with my three girls is nothing less than entertaining! There is so much to share, as these girls have been keeping me busy.