Live Like You Were Dying

We found out my dad was dying in April of 2009.  I was four months pregnant at the time.  It totally shook the perfect world I had lived in my whole life.  At the time, my family tried to “hide” the diagnosis from me because they were afraid the stress was going to cause me to miscarry.  The hid it for about an hour and a half and then I knew something was up.  When the doctors told us he was in stage 4 gallbladder cancer, there were no viable treatment options, and at best he had three months to live it felt like I was watching my life happen outside of myself.  I would never wish that diagnosis on my worst enemy.  There were no words; just lots and lots and lots of tears.  Until that moment, I never knew that bad things would happen to good people.  I never had to be an “adult”, my parents never had to lean on me for anything.  I always felt safe and loved and like life was good.

You see, I lived a world where people were happy and healthy and spoiled rotten.  I was thirty three at the time but my parents still treated me like I was a kid and I liked it that way.  I come from an open family where we shared everything…the good, the bad, and the ugly.  My dad called me sometimes upwards of four or five times a day and I loved it.  I never felt like my privacy was invaded or overburdened or like he was trying to control me.  I just felt loved…really, really loved all the time.

So, in April we began a waiting game that no one wants to ever have to play.  We counted each day with my dad like a little blessing.  We loved fully and hoped that God would not abandon us in this hour of need.

Then, a miracle happened.  My dad’s story got out and people started praying.  I mean, people from all over the world were praying.  My dad started getting cards from neighbors, friends, and strangers alike.  It was awesome.  It made me really see the reality of my faith.  Through the most difficult, horrible time in my life, I saw God’s plan clearly.  I prayed for the intercessions of Mother Theresa daily that my dad would live long enough to see Megan be born.  And on September 14, 2009 (5 months after his diagnosis of having 3 months to live) he was there, in the delivery room when we welcomed Megan to our family.  It was a day I will never forget.  If you are not a believer, I challenge you to prove that this was anything but a “God” moment.

We continued our prayers and so did the world.  How elated we were when my dad lived to see Megan be baptized, another Thanksgiving, another Christmas, another Easter, and to see Megan’s first birthday.  I tell you, skeptics and believers alike, God was watching.  Mother Theresa was watching.  The entire 18 months after that wretched diagnosis was a gift.  I learned so much about my dad.  We really had time to sit and really talk.  I knew about his hopes and his dreams, his cherished memories and what he wished our future would look like.   He was loved and he knew it.  We were loved and we knew it.

To be continued (when I have the energy!)

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