Letters To My Dad: C is for Chemotherapy #AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

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On January 22, 2022, my Dad died. My theme, “Letters to my Dad” is based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.

Hey Dad,

Thank you for trying the chemotherapy option.

Though you didn’t see its utility, you suffered through it because you knew we wanted to have as much extra time with you as possible.

Man, you were such a trooper when you kept going even when your CEA levels kept creeping higher and the doctors were not so kindly encouraging you to stop (excuse my language but I still say fuck ’em for the lack of bedside manner).

And when you finally decided to go the palliative route, we completely understood.

Thank you for blessing us with that extra time that we will forever cherish.

You know that if I could have taken the chemo for you, I would have done it in a heartbeat and without a moment’s hesitation.

I know that you felt guilty about me going to every chemo treatment, PET scan, X-ray, blood test and so many other appointments. But like I told you a million times, there was no way in hell I would have been anywhere else but with you through it all.

And you know that I am not one to lie.

Remember how we watched so many other cancer patients in the oncology waiting room all alone and clearly ruminating in their own thoughts while we chatted away, that is, when you hadn’t dozed off from those early morning treatment appointments? No spouse or adult children to accompany them and having to call a taxi to get themselves home post-chemo. We both wondered if they had anyone to help them at home.

But looking back now…

I truly don’t know how you endured the treatments as you did – the high fevers coupled with feeling chilled to the bone, the uncontrollable shakes that made you want to crawl out of your skin, the pained look on your face that took all my effort to not cry about in front of you.

You were brave about the trips to the emergency room for super high fevers, the hip arthroplasty, lumbar injections for pain, radiation therapy, a PICC line, the feeding tube, PET scans, and claustrophobic MRIs where you tried not to cry.

Not to mention the visits to physiotherapy and accupuncture in the last months to see if some of your pain could be relieved.

Dad, you were a true trooper.

I also don’t know how you put up with us (though you did tell us off a bunch of times in your way) when we insisted that you eat though you had no interest in food. We couldn’t even tempt you with homecooked West Indian/Caribbean and Guyanese food that others made for you because let’s face it, no one can cook any of those dishes like you.

You were and will always be the foodie of the family.

I miss you asking us what we wanted to eat for the next day’s dinner when we hadn’t even started eating the dinner in front of us. 🙂

I think that I’m a pretty intelligent person but somehow it never dawned on me that there would come a time when all the treatments would come to a stop. That the cancer would ramp up and eventually take control over your body.

“Marq, you do realize that eventually the chemo treatment will stop working, right? And then it will just be a matter of “when” and “how”. Pancreatic cancer spares no one” It wasn’t until pragmatic and rational littlest bro pulled me aside and said those words that it hit me. And even then, it took days for that truth to absorb into my being.

Dad, I don’t know what the future holds for me but I don’t think that I would be able to have the strength and courage that you had and that you showed to us.

Loving you always,

M

Letters To My Dad: B is for Body #AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

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On January 22, 2022, my Dad died. My theme, “Letters to my Dad” is based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.

Hey Dad,

The sound of the zipper of the body bag they placed you in…

I don’t remember the sound of it being zipped up but the grandkids do.

I heard them talking about it again not too long ago – how they still can’t stand the sound of any zipper, the fact that the sound triggers their pain, how it still resonates in their head.

Some of them wanted to be present when you passed but we only let them come right afterwards.

We knew that you wouldn’t want the image of you taking your last breaths to be etched in their memories.

We knew that you would have preferred for them to see you as if you were simply peacefully sleeping.

You must have been soooo proud at how all the kids insisted on following behind the van that took your body away. They trailed behind you and that van all the way to the funeral home just so they could remain connected to you for a little while longer. Even little three month old T, the newest member of the team, your first and only great-grandchild joined in for the ride-along.

Was it a convoy of 7 or 8 cars? I don’t remember.

What I do remember is feeling the warmth in my heart for what they did and the loving respect they showed you. They loved you to bits.

Until those men arrived to take you away, I sat by your side, kissed your face and kept whispering my thoughts into your ear. All those who were in that livingroom probably thought that after so many months of taking care of you, I had finally lost my marbles. And the fact that I wasn’t hysterically crying likely threw them for a loop too.

I guess I surprised them and myself too.

When it was finally time for them to take your body away, I followed you out to the street with no winter coat on and supervised as they gently placed you in the back of their van and closed the doors.

When the kids asked if I wanted to ride along for their procession, I said no.

They didn’t know what you and I know.

You and I both know that though your body might have been taken away, the colorful essence of your true spirit was still present and strong in that livingroom, in that house and with me – where your presence was, has always been and where it will always remain.

Dad, I miss you fiercely but I always feel better knowing that your spirit is ever-present.

Loving you always,

M

Letters To My Dad: A is for Age #AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

On January 22, 2022, my Dad died. My theme, “Letters to my Dad” is based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.

Hey Dad,

Thank you for spending 51 of your 87 years with me.

I am so grateful that I had you in my life for that long. Some children aren’t that lucky.

But who am I kidding?

I was truly expecting to have you around until you were 99 like your own father.

I know that Aaliyah said, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” (you wouldn’t know the singer I’m referring to) but it pisses me off to no end how people think that it was somehow okay for you to die just because you were 87.

Am I not supposed to feel upset and sad because you were of a certain age?

Is there a scale of mourning based on age that no one told me about?

“Oh, your father was 87? At least he had 86 good years and all of his faculties.”

“Wow, 87? When I lost my daughter, she hadn’t even begun to live her life yet! At least your father lived his life.

“Oh well, we all have to go one day, right?”

Sorry but age IS just a number.

Dad, I understand that people say these things to make others feel better but if that’s the case, I wish they would shut the hell up and say nothing at all.

None of those statements make me feel better. They just make me angry because their tone implies that I should be less affected and less sad.

When people say those things, all it does is make me NOT want bite my tongue to stop myself from saying something mean.

Those types of statements give me the urge to SLAP someone silly and that type of behaviour is not even part of my personality.

And when those statements are accompanied by a “vibe” that tells me the person doesn’t have an authentically sympathetic or empathic bone in their body, I find myself fantasizing about the day I can be petty and use their own words right back on them.

And Dad, you of all people know how petty I can be when I choose to be…

For a hot minute, I thought that I was overreacting but no, I’m not alone in my thinking.

Remember that woman who works at the post office? I was mailing out copies of your order of service to friends and family who couldn’t attend the funeral (yup, Covid restrictions) and I told her about you. We got to talking, she shared some of things people told her that pissed her off when she lost her husband and father two years ago.

Besides her, I’ve spoken to many others who have lost older loved ones and they all agree with me too.

I know exactly what you would say to me – “Girl, don’t fret yourself about it. Just ignore it.”

Dad, you’ll be glad to know that I’m trying my best to do just that – not fret.

But I can’t promise you that I won’t be petty if the opportunity presents itself... sorry.

Loving you always,

M

The A to Z Challenge Starts Tomorrow… #AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

On January 22, 2022, my Dad died.

The night before he was cremated, I wrote him a letter.

A very long letter full of love, truths and gratitude that I had already said to him during his illness.

I wrote, wrote and wrote until the early morning hours until my hand was sore. I wanted to place that letter in his hands when I saw him for the very last time.

I needed for my words to forever become one with him and the other favorite items we planned on placing in his cremation container.

I was surprised at how the act of handwriting that letter to my Dad soothed my soul a little bit.

Since that day, I have been writing little handwritten notes to my Dad, here and there, whenever the mood strikes.

Sometimes I smile as I write to him with his smiling face is on my screensaver but most times, I just simply cry.

Like I said for the A to Z Challenge Reveal a few weeks back, I’m stepping out of my hiatus to participate in this year’s A to Z Challenge.

My theme, “Letters to my Dad” will be based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.

But be forewarned…

I am not pre-writing posts.

I doubt that I will have the wherewithall to visit many other blogs so you will need to forgive me in advance.

And don’t be too surprised if I don’t make it through to the letter Z…but then again, who knows?

All I know is that my plan is to pick a word the night before the alphabet letter is due and post whatever flows out of my head.

To all those participating in the A to Z Challenge, happy writing and have fun making new blogging friends.

Bisous,

M xoxo

What Was I Thinking? #A to Z Challenge

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Crazy.

I must have been crazy to think that I could tackle writing 26 posts for the April A to Z Challenge when I can’t even string together a few coherent sentences out of my mouth?

For weeks I have been waking up every day to a fresh list of things to do that require phone calls, being on hold for stupid amounts of time (only for the line to disconnect), appointments that require me to leave the house looking half-decent and taking notes on how to proceed with shutting down a loved one’s life.

*Sigh*

I have to explain the same thing over and over again so much that by now, the words should easily just roll off my tongue.

But they don’t.

It feels like I am starting the same day over and over again.

Then again, I didn’t expect this to be easy.

Anyways…all that to say is that I’ll give the challenge my best try but I will end up taking it at my own pace.

If you don’t know what I am refering to, you can take a look here.

Take care,

M

A to Z Theme Reveal

On January 22, 2022, my Dad died.

The night before he was cremated, I wrote him a letter.

A very long letter full of love, truths and gratitude that I had already said to him during his illness.

I wrote, wrote and wrote until the early morning hours until my hand was sore. I wanted to place that letter in his hands when I saw him for the very last time.

I needed for my words to forever become one with him and the other favorite items we planned on placing in his cremation container.

I was surprised at how the act of handwriting that letter to my Dad soothed my soul a little bit.

Since that day, I have been writing little handwritten notes to my Dad, here and there, whenever the mood strikes.

Sometimes I smile as I write to him with his smiling face is on my screensaver but most times, I just simply cry.

I’m stepping out of my hiatus to participate in this year’s A to Z Challenge.

My theme, “Letters to my Dad” will be based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.

The “old” me would stress myself out pre-writing and scheduling posts this month so that I could kick back and read other participant posts during April.

But that is not going to happen this year.

I have no drive or energy for that kind of mental gymnastics. My plan is to simply pick a word on the fly and see where it goes.

Before I sign off, let me give credit to my blogger-friend Felicia Denise who provided inspiration on my theme. In Felicia’s 2021 A to Z Challenge on her blog Feliciadenise.com , she spoke about her own grieving and her posts struck a loud enough chord with me to remember.

I can’t promise you that I will make it all the way through to the end of April but I will surely try.

See you in April.

M xoxo

Kindness

These are some of my favorite photos that I have ever taken of my Dad.

My Dad and I loved hanging out on our balcony watching the sunset over the ocean every evening whenever we were in Puerto Rico.

We both loved the beach and early morning walks when the world was oh-so-quiet. When I eventually return, it is going to feel really weird without him.

I’m truly hoping that he is enjoying an even prettier view on the better side of paradise with family and old friends that were waiting to greet him.

Before he passed a few weeks ago, I made my Dad promise to always be my guardian angel and to save me a seat right next to him on the other side when he arrived there.

Of course, he was quick to agree.

In turn, my Dad made me promise to not join him too soon and he was also very clever in making me promise to do a number of things I will not share here.

Well, I plan on keeping the promises I made to him.

And in order to keep those promises, I don’t want any distractions that will take me off my path so I will be logging out of most of my social media apps and this WordPress account by the end of this week.

My plan is to only check my direct messages on Twitter and Instagram since that is where I mostly communicate.

But before I log out, I just wanted to say THANK YOU.

Thank you for your sincere condolences.

Thank you for being concerned about my well-being and checking in via DM to find out how I’m coping (or more like not coping).

It touches my heart to know that those who I have become friends with on WordPress would be so kind and thoughtful.

Thank you and when I return, I’ll tell you all about what I have done during my time offline.

With love and lots of it,

M