This summer is a blur. I drove so many times back and forth to WV from KY, I can't even give you a number or play by play. I've tried writing many, many versions of a post about it. But I no longer feel the need to write details. That information is a part of me. It all pretty much sucks.
Here is the heart of it, though. My dad had melanoma. By the time they found it toward the end of June, it was in his brain. He received one dose of IV therapy and ten doses of whole brain radiation. The cancer progressed despite these efforts. Over time he got weaker and more short of breath as the cancer took over his brain and his lungs. In August, he left this mortal coil.
My dad was a big, strong guy. We believe it is his strength, after years of working construction and his natural build, that helped him to live as long as he did with the cancer. It helped his body mask the signs and symptoms that we are only now looking back to make note of.
My dad was the guy. He was the ultimate defender of the underdog. Protector of his family. He would do anything for anyone. He was the guy you could call who knew the guy who could do that random thing (you know, if he couldn't do it). He was always game for anything. He'd build you a piece of furniture, help you hang Christmas lights, sell girl scout cookies, or pick you up some maxi pads. Want some homemade spaghetti when you come home? He'll go to Sam Minardi's house to buy some homemade sausage and then this mic from Charleston Ave would make you the best red sauce you'd ever had. Anything mom ever wanted done to the house, he'd find a way to do. He was there. You could count on him. He lived life right. His kindness did result in his getting his ass kicked a few times professionally, but he always recovered and persevered. And in many cases he was forgiving. When mom was going through her dark days, dad filled in all the gaps as best he could. He wasn't perfect, of course, but he was perfect for us.
The most recurring thought that comes to mind is "how can this be?" But it is. We are all dealing with it as best we can. I've never experienced grief like this. It can break you apart, like pieces of a puzzle. And then slowly, piece by piece, you put yourself back together. But there'll always be that piece missing, the one near the heart that you will never stop looking for.