If you’ll recall (I feel like I repeat some things ALL OF THE TIME on this here blog so I tend to rely on “if you’ll recall” to let you guys know that I know even though that’s probably not necessary) February is the start of the grieving season for me. And this year marks 10 years since I lost Dad so I feel like it’s all hitting me harder than usual.
Why February? Because February 10th is the day that marks the beginning of the end in my book. I was boarding a plane to Chicago when I got a call from my Dad’s doctor saying they got some of his bloodwork back and he needed to be in the hospital IMMEDIATELY but no one in the office could get a hold of him and I was his emergency contact. I ended up calling my Mom – who hadn’t been married to him in over 25 years – and she went to his house where she found him asleep and very difficult to wake. Turns out his kidneys were failing and once he was hospitalized we learned he had advanced stage Multiple Myeloma and his skeleton was riddled with fractures and he would need dialysis forever. 2-3 weeks later he decided the treatment wasn’t worth it and he’d rather just go into hospice and he finally passed (after many frustrated demands, “Can we speed this up a bit?”) March 31st.
So I have a 2 month grieving season. It’s not like I’m sad for the whole 2 months, but my Dad and his last two months of life tend to pop into my head every time I glance at a calendar and my memories take me back to THIS TIME IN 2009. Today? In 2009? I was still blissfully unaware of my Dad’s cancer. However, I had been very worried about him. When he visited at Christmas he had not seemed great and was wincing a lot in pain and struggling to get up and down more than usual. I called to chat with him some time during the first week of February and he sounded TERRIBLE. And he said he felt terrible which was very unlike him. He said he had made an appointment with the doctor because he wasn’t sure if it was an unshakable flu or something worse. I very distinctly remember him saying, “I’m worried it’s something worse because I feel so bad.”
I guess it was that visit to the doctor that prompted the bloodwork and the ensuing cancer diagnosis.
I sometimes go back and read my blog posts from these few weeks before my world fell apart. Like, Oh look! Kim was so excited about her new office and her trip to Chicago! Little did she know how that trip to Chicago would end. With her being a terrible buzzkill at the event she was flown in for and flying home early so she could get to Knoxville to see her Dad. Also?She would end up getting laid off from that job, partly due to all of the work she missed during the months her Dad was dying and afterwards while dealing with his estate.
So we’re at the beginning of that season again. I don’t know if this will ever stop being a time filled with sad memories. There are so many things going on that I wish I could talk to him about. That’s the thing…we talked about everything and even in 10 years that part of me that wants to call him about things has still not been muted. This week I would have talked about how I am 100% hands off on my kid’s science fair and how hard that is for me, I would have told him about Wes cutting 15 seconds off of his butterfly time. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have had to tell him because he probably would have come into town for the swim meet. I would tell him about finishing the book his oldest grandchild wrote and Dad would have reminded me about the time that child – at age 11 – spent a road trip pouring over an instruction manual about the publishing industry. I would have told him about the stress Donnie is under at work.
That would have just been this week’s phone call. There have been at least 250 other phone calls I would have made in the last 10 years. We spoke at least once a week, but sometimes more if there was more going on. So many things my brain catalogs to tell him and yet there’s no one to answer the dial.