October 10 dad and I went for his routine colonoscopy and whilst deep in my heart I thought everything would be OK, I also had a niggling feeling that perhaps some of the answers to recent questions about dads health was due to a deeper underlying issue?
As it turned out he not only had bowel cancer but also the discovery of a primary lung cancer. At 84 he felt a combination of fear and acceptance that this stuff happens at this age. I wont deny however that the pain my heart was deep and quite different to what I felt when he was diagnosed some 18 years earlier.
Coming home and telling mom was not easy. I put on my matter of fact tone in order to hold it together for them. I did not want to raise their fear however I also did not want to hide the truth. Whilst we did not know of the outcome of the initial finding, it did bring a sad reality to the surface.
What seemed the most difficult was their age and knowing that soon one would be leaving the other. To watch their sadness during this first day, their shock and helplessness, their frailty, was painful. My parents were now old. Who would have believed this would happen.
One of my greatest desires in life was to make their life better. Whilst on some level I have done this, simply by being kind and compassionate and patient, on some level I wish I could have achieved more. I wish I could have taken my mother out of her self imposed chains of ‘not allowing’ herself more joy, more fun, more laughter and more expensive clothing.
So at this time as I see them becoming more frail, my peace comes from knowing I did everything I could and I gave as much as I could. Many times I felt it was not received, not for any other reason simply because they did not know how to.
Could I, or would I have done anything differently? No. What I can and will do now however is continue to love and respect them for who they are, nurture them to the best of my ability and love and appreciate all of the things I love about my parents. Ultimately they are in Gods hands, and His alone.
Actually, we all are. This is where I obtain my peace and certainty, knowing that ultimately I am unable to influence anything beyond my control. What I can do is influence myself and the meaning I place on whatever is happening in my life, or the life of those whom I deeply love.
Letting go is, and always has been, the easiest, softest way.