Nightmares

This blog is taking a more depressing and ominous tone than I originally intended, but as a writer, it’s my best form of therapy right now. My dad’s condition has worsened and things are looking bleak. Vocalizing all the thoughts that are swirling through my head and leaving me with a constant migraine is impossible to do without breaking down and hyperventilating. I might keep doing this, I might not. But I need to express my thoughts right now and the only way to do so coherently is from behind my keyboard.

All of my nightmares are about to come true — things I’ve entertained as possibilities but never actually thought would become reality.

I always thought that if my dad died before I got married, I’d have my brother walk me down the aisle. It was comforting to know I had that option. But with the realization that it soon may be my only option, the thought is not so comforting anymore. It’s just the opposite.

So much is going to change.

I keep thinking about all the petty problems I will now have to solve on my own, which is immensely selfish, but somehow easier than thinking about the bigger picture of losing my dad. Who is going to make the internet work when it’s being dumb in the house? Who is going to moderate silly fights between my mom and I? Who do I ask about finances and bills and jobs and other things required of a functioning adult? I know I have so many other people supporting me in my life but my dad is the first person I would go to with all of these problems — no matter how petty or significant. He always has answers, and if he doesn’t he helps me find them. I’m scared no one in my life will have answers for me the way he does.

In worrying about these little things, however, I realize what it is I truly fear. I’m scared no one else will be able to make my mom, brother and I laugh every day and fill our hearts with so much happiness. I’m scared no one else will be able to show us so much love.

*note: as I read over this, I notice it sounds as though I’m referring to my dad as if he’s already gone. He’s not. This is just how I’m viewing the situation at present. Not sure if it’s a coping mechanism, pessimism or just realism.

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A very Moffitt Christmas

My dad, who has been battling cancer for the last four years or so, suffered a seizure the other night from which the brain-melting side effects will not let up. Instead of starting a new drug trial yesterday, like he was scheduled to, he was shown to a hospital bed and put through a series of tests and scans. Thus, our family’s Christmas will be spent in a tiny, sterile room at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Aside from these occasional epileptic episodes and a few trips a week to the treatment center, my dad’s illness is not extremely present. It’s easy to forget he’s sick. So, when things like this happen — when my dad space’s out in the middle of the Chinese gift exchange at our family Christmas party and consequentially ends up hospitalized — I tend to freak out.

Not once have I accompanied my dad to Moffitt for treatment. He hasn’t had to spend much time in the hospital, but the one time I visited him, I lost it. Instant anxiety attack. Seeing him in that atmosphere, with a IV and who knows what else hooked up to him, makes it too real for me. When I see him like that, his cancer is present and the reality of one day losing my dad to his illness sinks in.

If tomorrow was any other day, I’d continue avoiding the reality. But tomorrow is Christmas, and since I I’ve never been one for religion, Christmas to me is about celebrating those I love. So tomorrow, I will be there with my dad.

But back to religion, times like these also make me reconsider my choice to not identify. When I find myself crying in the shower, praying for my dad to come home, it feels natural — reflexive almost. But it also feels dirty and hypocritical to ask a “God” that I don’t usually believe in to solve my problems. I can understand why so many people turn to faith in times of need and despair. It makes us feel less helpless in desperate situations. While we may not be able to do anything here on Earth but sit, wait and text mom for updates, the thought of a higher power swooping in to save the day is comforting. I’m not about to kneel down in at chapel pew, but for now, I’m willing to accept that comfort.

If my dad doesn’t get to come home tomorrow, we may be lugging his new sound system through the hospital for him to open. Really, just having the ability to do that, with Moffitt being but a twenty-minute drive from home, is a gift. Well wishes and positive thoughts are appreciated. Thanks to everyone who has already been supporting my family. Merry Christmas.

Gay Couples in Utah, Surprised but Glad, Rush to Marry After Ruling Permits It
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 22, 2013

In its legal filings, Utah said the new same-sex marriages could be “declared invalid” if its legal challenges succeeded. But Jim Dabakis, a gay Democratic state senator who married his longtime partner on Friday, said he planned to call Utah’s health insurance office and enroll his partner, “whether the state likes it or not.”

You go, Jim Dabakis.

Thank goodness for winter break

Every semester, the words “this is the most stressful semester of my life” escape my mouth at one point or another. This semester, however, the frequency of my stress-induced complaints broke records. Between running a student newspaper, moving back in with my parents, beginning an honors thesis, trying to secure an internship after graduation and attempting to maintain some semblance of a social life, the struggle was real.

But now, with a few weeks to escape from looming deadlines and constant fear of failure, I can breath. I put together a beautiful online portfolio (all by myself), bought myself a few summer internship opportunities and even cleaned my room (which may be the biggest accomplishment of all). I also allowed myself time to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy, which was necessary for my sanity.

With almost three weeks left of freedom, who knows what else I’ll be able to accomplish.