Last week my family and I were able to take a short trip to Kansas to visit my dad. It was exactly what I needed. I needed to hear his voice, hold his hand, and feel his hugs.
As I spent time with my dad and went with him and my stepmom to his first radiation appointment, I saw where he and I are very alike. Despite all the pain he is in, he doesn't give up hope. In his mind he is imagining the pain gone and replaces it with strong images of himself out mowing not only his own lawn, but also his neighbor's lawn as he wants to help him out. He visualizes himself doing some woodworking projects and other activities around the house. He doesn't pity himself for being sick or thin. He continues to be himself as much as possible. He continues to make his family smile and he continues to think of other's before himself as he has always done. He doesn't give pain the power to take over his very existence.
While he visualizes himself in a better place, he also isn't delusional about what is happening to him. We went through the funeral arrangements and it was good for me to hear him and my stepmom talk about them. (By the way, my stepmom is amazing. She too has strength that I admire beyond belief and has been a huge support system for my siblings and myself.) He has put a lot of thought into the funeral arrangements and is accepting of what will eventually come. That gives me comfort. But for now, I too feel a renewed hope that his days will be more pleasant and less painful as he continues his radiation treatments.
Thanks to everyone who has sent prayers and wonderful thoughts for both my dad and myself. They are truly appreciated and still needed.