My father is going to die. Not in the way we think, though-not of old age or in a violent car accident. But slowly. (Ping Pong… Ping Pong). We are all going to suffer in this. But in the end, I truly believe he will see all his brothers and sisters and meet his father for the first time. Hopefully.
One week ago this was ludicrous. My dad was tired and forgetful, not dying of various cancers in the hospital. Everyone thinks it can't happen to them-that these horrible things (ping pong, ping pong, ping pong) only affect "someone else," someone down the street, someone in the next office over… Then it affects you and still you deny the power of it. I'm skipping the shock-the unwitnessed dramatic scene where the loving, doting father learns he is sick-I'm skipping right to the end so that I can beat this mourning thing to the punch. I'm going to start my saying goodbye right now so that when the time comes, I don't need to do it. We don't know if he has two weeks or two years. But there is this still, small voice-struggling to be heard that tells me to do this now. To realize that the living and the dying are the adventures, and like all adventures you must experience them to their fullest-dying just happens to be the last one we know of…
The bed they are sharing now is the first one they've had together in many months. They haven't been this close together since September-eight months-and then their cancer is the strange bedfellow.
It's so odd to think of this thing as a growing-almost animalistic-thing inside them (him). It's weird, this parasite that grow-this symbiotic relationship that kills the host. There is this thing-this alien killing him and they cannot remove it. You can't see anything except his plaid pajamas-no hint that there is some… thing killing him just under the surface. Perhaps a blaze of glory is preferable-the last spotlight moment-blinded by the light that only allows you to see the outlines of their heads. (These stage directions suck.)
I don't want to talk about it-I don't want to feel, or cry, or lean on anyone-it's not that I don't want to feel pain as much as that feeling it alone seems more appropriate.
My dad believes that the world is simply better with him in it-and he can't possibly die yet. I wish it worked that way. We are given a life-what happens after that moment is anyone's guess. I suppose when the time is up, we have no say in it. Truly I believe death to be natural-to simply be the next step and that I know he'll be back. I don't mourn for him but for me-for my feelings of unfinished business. I will not end all this with guilt-I will not feel bad for anything I said or did because you cannot live just wanting to say goodbye.
Emily is a strong woman fighting against her body and soul to earn her wings. She is or has been a nationally ranked blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, a two time inducteee to the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, an animal control officer, a graduate student, and a groovy person.