Straying from the usual…
I felt the need to write this morning, with an explanation of why I havent run this week. Not that probably anyone on here has even noticed, but it bothers me that I havent been able to get out there. First of all, I am definitely a fair weather runner, lol. I dont mind running in a few sprinkles or a light rain. But this week we have had downpours and thunderstorms, and you will not find me out in that!
The other reason is that my elderly father has a terminal illness and moved into a hospice care center yesterday. I have been an absolute mess, trying to deal with what is coming. I have known about the cancer since last fall, but wasn’t planning on his treatments not working. Even though he is 92, I thought we would still have some time left yet with him. As it turns out, the radiation and chemo did not do it’s job and the tumor in his neck has grown immensely.
I lost my mom to congestive heart failure in 2007. Since that day, I have been there for my father when he needed anything at all. Since his illness, I’ve been making the 1 1/2 hour drive to my hometown to spend the weekends with him. Recently it became apparent that this tumor is going to block his esophagus very soon, and he will lose the ability to eat. That was when we made the decision for Hospice.
My father is a WWII veteran and a very proud one of that. He is very active in the American Legion, town affairs, and our hometown Catholic church. He has been one of those men that never stops going, just like the Energizer bunny. Going and going and going…. He was never sick a day in his life until this illness. It was such a shock to all of us. It also was the first time in his life that he had to slow down on his activities, something he hadn’t done prior to this.
My mind has been all over the place this week. I can’t seem to find my focus at all. I am basically useless at work right now, but luckily I think my co-workers understand. Right now my running is my escape. I think it always has been the way I clear my mind, but more recently I have needed those runs more than ever. I am so tired of crying and crying about this illness and the fact that I will be “parent-less”. As a kid I remember praying to God that he never take away my parents. I know that sounds silly, but my parents were 40 when I was born, and I grew up realizing that they were special and they re-arranged their lives for me when I was born. My mom left us in 2007 and I did ok, I stayed strong for my dad’s sake. I was able to help him through a lot of affairs that needed to be taken care of at that time. This time around though, I am facing the fact that there will be nothing to go home to in my hometown anymore. Our family home is empty and up for sale. My father’s apartment is now sitting there with no one in it, as of yesterday morning. I will be going there to settle the estate affairs after he passes. After that though, I probably wont go up there anymore.
Last night I drove the 1 1/2 hours to the Hospice center to see for myself that my father will be ok there. I was pleasantly surprised to see how at peace he was. We had a good talk about things that I will need to take care of when he passes. We talked about mom, my kids and the fun we had at the house.
While I was there, a ladies chorus came in to sing to the residents of the Hospice. I encouraged dad to go out into the hallway to listen to them sing. My father was the only one that ventured out into the hallway to have a peek and hear what was going on. The nurses were attentive and were sitting in the living room listening too. Dad and I had a seat in the hallway by his door. They sang a couple of different pieces, then ended with the Star Spangled Banner. My father got to his feet, and place his hand over his heart and sang along. I had all I could do to not break down and cry in front of him. Here he is, living out his last days and he still puts his respect for his country first. The ladies in the chorus got very teary eyed when they saw him too, so I was not alone.
This is a picture of my father that my sister took after he settled into his room at the Hospice.
This is this past monday. He has not missed a Memorial Day Parade in my hometown in 42 years. He still wears his WWII uniform proudly and it still fits after all those years.
While I was home last weekend, my husband and son came up to see him for a few minutes to visit. I managed to snap a few pictures then also.
Thank you friends for letting me stray from the usual theme of running a bit. This has been weighing heavily on my heart and I needed to share it. Tonight after work, as long as there aren’t any storms, Ill be out running. 🙂
This article was originally posted by Louise Cunningham on Runnersramblings.com.