I always become reflective on days when I must visit my doctor. It’s hard not to be. Being a cancer survivor, one comes to expect this as normal. Cancer forever alters a person. Little things take on more meaning, happy times are held onto more tightly. It’s hard not to look back over the shoulder to see if cancer is bearing down upon you; and when the oncologist signals the thumbs up, the stomach finally unclenches. You are good to go for another six months. After twenty-eight years, the six months pile up into a life, and you wonder whether or not you have spent it well, if you have earned what you have been given – and you wonder how many more six months are left.
I was driving home today after getting the “all clear” once again. My body responded with its usual rush of adrenaline, and I had to remind myself of the speed limit more than once. I thought about how thankful I was – how appropriate with Thanksgiving less than two weeks away. And then it dawned on me: this Thanksgiving marks ten years since my last Thanksgiving with my father.
They say that “time heals all wounds,” but that isn’t true, nor do I want it to be. Time allows us to go on. It doesn’t cloud our memory or make us forget loved ones. Who would ever want to do that? Not me! I want to feel as much love for my father ten years after I said goodbye as I did on that day.
Not a day goes by when I don’t think of him. I sometimes see him sitting in the chair he always sat in, watching a baseball game with me and complaining about today’s players. I think about him when I order haddock at a restaurant, something which I love almost as much as he did. And I think about him every time I mow the lawn and screw up by not getting the rows completely straight.
He never leaves me and that’s the way I like it. I have no bad feelings about loving him this much or missing him this much. I was blessed to have this man in my life for 51 years. My only regret is that he did not stick around longer to see how I have distanced myself from that disease and have led a happy life, especially when it comes to watching my daughter blossom into an amazing person right before my eyes. He would have been so happy and so proud of her, just like I am. I only hope that he somehow can still see what I see every single day.
When I cross off another year on my life’s calendar, I only feel blessed. I look at the people around me and ask myself, “What did I do to deserve such wealth?” I hope I get to stick around for a while. Life can be amazing.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.