My parents divorced when I was 2. My dad used to come see me..but then one day, when I was 3, he stopped coming. I didn't know until many years later that my maternal grandfather had taken my father aside and told him that it might be best for everyone if he just didn't come around anymore....so, he didn't.
My father and I were estranged until my paternal grandmother was dying.
I was 26.
My father and I spent time together while my grandmother was in ICU, we talked and talked....about ourselves, about each other, about life, our likes and dislikes.... and about death. It was during these talks that my father expressed his regrets about missing out on 23 years of my life. He told me of the talk my maternal grandfather had with him that day so long ago...the talk I already knew of....and he told me how he regretted being so easily influenced in his youth and taking "the easy way out". He told me of his marriage to his second wife and the two sons that had resulted of that union.
So began the relationship with my father.
We kept in touch over the years....letters, cards, emails and the rare phone call. I got to meet his second wife through these means...she expressed her regrets for her part in keeping my father and I apart.
It was his wife that called a few months ago to give me the news of dad's cancer diagnosis.....lung, liver and spine. The prognosis was poor she said. The doctors did a biopsy of one of the liver lesions and were doing radiation treatments on the tumor in his spine, while they couldn't get their shit together enough to decide which was the primary site of the cancer......where it all began. I could have told them in 2 seconds what it took them 6 weeks or so to agree upon. It started in his lung.
They began chemo....dad couldn't tolerate the treatments...they almost killed him with them. They changed his "chemo cocktail", different drugs, lower dosages....he tolerated this much better. It still wasn't easy, but it was better than the first round of chemo. "Three months of this and then we'll do more scans to see if it is working" they said. We all "hold our breath" and pray. Dad and I kept in touch during this time through infrequent emails..he was in too sick and in too much pain most of the time to sit at the computer; but, he tried to check once a week to see if I, or one of my half brothers, had written. We even spoke on the phone once during this time. It was good to hear his voice again.
Dad called me on Christmas Day. We chatted a bit....and he told me he loved me and that he had just wanted to hear my voice one more time.
It was good to hear his voice again.
It was his wife that called me the other night.
She called to tell me that my father had died.
The chemo hadn't worked.
The PET scan showed the cancer had spread everywhere: pelvis, intestines, lungs, liver, spine......it was throughout his body.
Dad stopped the pointless treatments and they arranged in home hospice.
He lived one more week.
It would be good to hear his voice again.
Rest well dad......rest well.