I Took It For Granted…

This last year and a half has been somewhat of a rude awakening. I think I have been a little bit in a dream land. What I mean is I didn’t really realize I may have a limited time left with my parents. I was taking for granted the fact that they have been here and relatively healthy, not really believing or wanting to believe someday they might not be in good health or worse not even be here.

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Dad & Mom’s Wedding Day, March 30, 1968

What brought me into reality? It was like a slap into reality really! The news that no child, brother, sister, parent, aunt, uncle, friend…pretty much no one wants to get. Cancer…my Dad has cancer. He actually had cancer years ago, prostate cancer and they took care of it with a prostatectomy. I have to say I kind of expected one day that my dad would be diagnosed with cancer. You see my Dad has a lot of cancer in his family. His father and three sisters all had cancer, three of those four died of it. So when my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I thought “okay, this is going to be Dad’s cancer”. He had the surgery and went back for all his subsequent tests and it was gone. We were elated to say the least. The worst was done. He hasn’t had any problems with the prostate cancer since that time and still doesn’t.

Unfortunately the prostate cancer was not “Dad’s cancer”. He has a new and entirely different cancer, its far worse… stage 4 lung cancer. Just writing that makes me want to cry. Stage 4, no cure, just containment… I know there are a lot of you out there that can relate to this.

Dad & Mom
Dad & Mom

The space of time since my Dad was diagnosed in August of 2013 has been painful to say the least. My Dad has always been the strong one. I know most children feel their father is tough. But I am telling you this man was tough. He has been like a tree rooted deep in the ground when the storm is raging trying to tip him over. He has been the one keeping his own siblings together when they went through the loss of parents and siblings. He is a strong advocate of family. No matter what the issue, you work through it and keep the family close. That’s one of the many things I love about him. But watching this strong man deteriorate physically and see his own emotional struggle with the future has been heart wrenching. My Dad has been the voice of reason, the parent I came to when I needed some strength. I only found this side of my Dad later in my own adult life, although it’s been there all along, I just never realized it. I have always been close to my Mom and have pretty much gone to my Mother for everything so it has been a bonus to finally have that close relationship with my Father too. Fathers can be the voice of reason when your emotions are trying to rule your actions. I do believe men have this quality, my own husband is much like my Father in that way.

This new chapter in our life has been the rude awakening I talked about. It’s made me more aware of how time is precious and I need to take every opportunity to spend as much time as possible with my family, especially with my Dad and Mom. My parents live in Oregon, so I have to plan my trips in advance. I can’t just up and drive to see them like I used to when I lived in Oregon, only 2 hours away from them. I really enjoy my visits home. We spend quality time together, sometimes just sitting in the same room reading etc… It’s nice. It’s an added bonus that I am able to see my younger sister, her family & my younger brother on these trips home.

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Our Family

I encourage all of you to not take for granted the time left with your loved ones. Take the time now to spend with them. I am thankful my Dad is still here and no matter how much time is left with my parents, I will try very hard to not waste one precious moment of it.

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Our Family

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.

-Richard Bach

18 thoughts on “I Took It For Granted…

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Raina, I can also relate to this, I lost my dad back in “1999” at the age of “51”! Yes very young and I have always felt cheated when
    he passed! We were also close and I miss him dearly 😦 You are so right about not taking precious time for granted as our parents age. My mom is now 69 and her health is declining and she is the full time care giver to my oldest sister Edie, who is mentally disabled and has downs syndrome. As her health is starting to take a toll, me and my hubby and kids are there to help her and I also assist with my sister.

    If something happens to my mom, we have agreed to take Edie and care for her.
    I would never put her in a home or facility!! I recently moved my mom and sister
    closer to us. This gives us all a peace of mind knowing that if a true emergency
    arises then I am only a 10 minute drive away. It broke my heart when I lost my
    dad, and I went thru a deep depression and at that time, I was in my first
    year of regular pioneering!

    It was tough!!!! Not a day goes by that I wish I could have spent more time with
    him and he was still here with us 🙂 You all have a beautiful family! Our prayers
    are with you always~ Agape Love Sis, Sonja 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. You are right, many of us have gone through this and it is sobering and painful. This May will mark the 5th anniversary of my Mom’s passing. It was unexpected and shattering. I am so glad to see you cherishing the time you have and moving ahead with emotional awareness and family support. The future will be, you cannot change it. You can, and are, making sure the time you have is not wasted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cancer is horrible. My Dad had it when I was young, too young to understand, but I was old enough when both of his parents died from cancer. Though it was far worse for them, it was painful for me to watch each of my grandparents fight and fade away in a loss to this disease. A few years ago I received a phone call from my Mom that her Dad was having part of his colon removed due to having colon cancer at the same moment she was calling me (she just found out, my Grandpa didn’t want anyone to know.) He’s doing okay now, but after watching two of my other grandparents go through it, I couldn’t handle the thought of my Mom’s father going through this. Great blog post. As you can tell, I can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

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