Dad has been gone sixteen days. His memorial was exactly a week ago. Next Saturday it will be two weeks, then three. Then we’ll start counting it in months, then years. One day, we’ll look at each other and say, “Can you believe it’s been ten years since Dad passed away?”
Some people might say that we should’ve expected this. After all, he was in his 70’s. But Dad liked to joke that 70 was the new 50, and I believed him. He was so vital and alive that it seemed likely to me that he would attend my 70th birthday party one day.
But that was before The Big C hit. He laughed out loud when I told him that I was going to buy him a “FUCK CANCER” hat and agreed that it was the appropriate sentiment. He fought it as hard as he could, with everything he could find to do. He stayed active months longer than anyone expected, continuing to golf long after other men would’ve given up walking altogether. He stayed upbeat after the doctors said there was no hope, gleefully trouncing my sister in their last Thursday-night cribbage game the week before he passed.
Until today, my main consolation has been that he died as a result of a fall and brain injury just as his strength was failing – avoiding the long, drawn-out ordeal that he so dreaded.
Now I’ve decided that I don’t want consolation. I want to fight back. I want to reverse this. I want my Daddy and I’m pissed off at the disease that robbed me of him.
Today at the farmers market we saw the most beautiful golfer’s cribbage board, with a tee and a fairway and a flag on the green. It was very expensive, and I said to The Best Man, “If I buy this for $700, do you think they’ll give me Dad back?”
I like to fix things. It feels like I should be able to make some kind of a deal with the universe and change all of this. Isn’t there some sacrifice or offering that I could make that would restore the world to the way it should be? Where’s our mulligan?
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
But there is something positive that I can do. I am convinced that the huge increase in cancer rates is due to the outrageously unnatural things that are being done to our food and our environment. You hear that there is no link to cancer and this chemical or that chemical, but no one’s testing the combination of the tens of thousands of chemicals used to grow our food, raise our livestock, clean our houses, and keep weeds off our golf courses. Green living was already an interest of mine, but now I’m going to take it a step further and do everything that I can to help ordinary folks learn how to find safe food and environmentally-friendly products and to let them know that this isn’t just for the sake of the planet, it’s for their own sake and the sake of their kids and grandkids and great-grandkids.
And one day I hope to see Dad again and tell him that it’s different now, the world is cleaner and healthier and cancer is almost unheard of. And that before I went, I taught my great-grandchild how to play cribbage at my daughter’s 70th birthday party.
P.S. Wrote this just over two weeks ago – just now decided to post it.