Even as a child I knew how lucky I was to have my Dad. He made it obvious everyday just how important we were. He was the coach of my ball team, took me to bowling and watched every Saturday. He was just there always and made it very visible to all that his family was the most important thing in the world.
When we found out in 2003 that he was sick it was a terrible shock. He had just turned 50 and my parents had the whole world ahead of them. Both their kids were out on their own and it was time now for my Dad to minimize his work load and travel. So you can imagine a lung cancer diagnosis was very unexpected (I guess it would always be no matter the circumstances).
My Dad had smoked almost his entire life, started when he was 14, but he did quit a couple years before finding out he was sick. His sister had passed away from lung cancer and he then decided it was time for him to quit as well.
I tried to stay positive the entire time he was ill, not sure if I was just trying to kid myself that all would be ok, I mean the man was only 50 this didn't make sense. When my oldest was born Rory and I were so happy for him that he would have all 4 grandparents because neither Rory or I did. I did imagine that Rorys Dad wouldn't be with us long just because of his age, he was 75 when Trevor was born but my Dad was 47 when Trev was born, I could actually picture my parents at Trevors wedding. I was also trying to stay positive for my Mom, you can imagine she was a mess, I mean her and Dad had been together since she was 13, he was her life without doubt.
But through all the illness and all the pain he still managed to show us just how important we were to him. He kept up with all the family traditions, tried his very best to do all he could, and instead of getting depressed (not that he didn't a bit, he was very scared) he still was an active member of the family. I know he did this mostly for Trevor, he was so proud to be a grandparent, and a BOY, oh my, he loved his girls no doubt, but someone that would play hockey, shoot pool, and all those boy things his girls didn't do, he was in heaven with the thought of the future.
In late 2004 we found out I was pregnant with our second son, Dad was getting pretty sick at this point, and I guarantee that one of the only things that kept him going was to meet his newest grandson. In May my Dad became so ill that after being admitted to the hospital we were advised to get the priest and say our goodbyes, Dad was a little mad that we didn't have more faith in him, lol, he pulled through that and was able to make it to the hospital 6 weeks later to meet his grandson. I was so proud of my Dad, Brendan was very small when he was born so he was admitted to NICU, instead of waiting for us to bring him home, my Dad packed up the wheelchair and oxygen tanks and was there the day he was born.
My Dad did not want to die in a hospital. We had a hospital bed moved into my parents room and the home care nurse would come by and administer his morphine.
November 14th, my sister, Mom, Aunt ,Uncle, Rory, and the boys were all sitting down to dinner. My Dad had gone into a coma the day before. My Mom didn't want him left alone so Tracy (sister) and I took shifts being with my Dad, it was a great time because I could say a lot of the things I had wanted to say but just couldn't before. On the night of the 14th we had convinced my Mom to sit down with us all and have dinner, I think she was on the verge of a breakdown. She listened (that doesn't happen often, lol) and we were all enjoying dinner, then Trev decided he wanted nothing to do with dinner, could he watch a movie. My sister got up to put a movie on for him when my Mom asked her to check in on my Dad......well I am so thankful that my sister got up at that time because he was leaving us and we would have missed it,missed saying goodbye. He never did open his eyes again but he was trying to say something, unfortunately it wasn't understandable. In just a few minutes he was gone. At 53 he was gone.
Three years ago today my Dad passed away. I can tell you I have learned a lot through this, but without a doubt the most important lesson is to value everyday and make the most out of your life now because none of us knows whats around the corner!
Tonight my Mom and I are off to celebrate my Dad, not sure what the plan is but I am sure it will include a toast to his wonderful life and what he brought to ours.
Love you Dad!