This little gem came from Bruce Springstein when he was speaking at a rally for Obama last week.
The future is rarely a tide rushing in….it’s a slow march, day after day
It has stuck with me since then, it’s really a good reflection of how life feels at the moment.
My Dad is dying from cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct cancer. He was diagnosed over five years ago, has been terminally ill since July 2010 and his health has been seriously declining in recent months. He has recently had a two week stay in the local hospice and he came home last week. This week he has really nose-dived.
I’ve been staying with my parents since the weekend and because I’m still working during the day Mum is on call in daylight hours and then at night I take the monitor. Dad has a chesty cough which means he is coughing himself awake at night, he also drops into a deep sleep and ends up making strange noises that are magnified by the monitor. Right now I am craving nothing more than a complete night’s sleep, but there wont be one tonight.
Tonight Dad is quite calm but also fed up. We’ve had a load of discussions, at all hours of night and day in the past week, and he is quite clear that this stage is tedious. He knows he’s dying, he’s grateful he isn’t in pain but he has talked about how much easier it would be to take a pill. This feels like a verrrrry long week, very drawn out and almost like we’re on a slow march to the inevitable. My sister was down for a funeral this week so Dad has seen her again and said goodbye to her and his beautiful granddaughters, he has seen my brother lots in recent weeks and to be honest I suspect he’s almost sick to the back teeth of the sight of me and mum 😉
All of that said he still has his sense of humour. We’ve discussed funerals, memory boxes, wishes, hopes and dreams, what has been and will never be. Dad also keeps giving me advice of how to support my Mum, that is the bit that is most heart breaking for me, he is so concerned about Mum and soooo wants my Mum to move on with her life, and have a life, after he has died. He’s quite funny, he said he didn’t want any funny business, want’s a respectable mourning period, but then she must get on and enjoy her retirement.
In a way I feel that its a little unfair that my down to earth, hard working, solid and respectable parents who have spent their entire lives working hard to support our family, dont get to enjoy their retirement together. I think Dad’s biggest regret is that he didn’t get to be the Grandad he wanted to be – and a great Grandad he would have been too. The simple fact is that cancer isn’t fair, serious illness never is. Life isn’t fair, but as Dad told me last night he is happy, he’s lived a good life and he is glad to be living a good death at home.
That said, I hope this slow march comes to a halt sometime soon.