Monday, April 20, 2015

From the Beginning: Breaking the news of my dad's cancer.

My dad, Jack, passed away from lung cancer, on December 2, 2014.  During his battle, I wrote several posts called "Lessons I've learned along the way" on Facebook.  Since his passing I have written one post.  It was emotionally overwhelming and left me fearful of writing more, in spite of knowing that there was still more to be said...

My husband, Fred and I decided that a few days away to process, mourn and hopefully write would be a good step on the road to healing.  And so, I am staying in NYC with dear friends (who work long hours which gives me some much needed privacy during this time) to do just that.  Weather permitting, I hope to do some "street photography therapy" to give myself a reprieve from the emotions, as well.

Before I begin new "Lessons I've learned along the way" posts, I am organizing my previous  Facebook statuses here, on the blog.  This will give those who are new an understanding of what has transpired, and will also give those who are on a similar path the ability to find the posts more easily than on Facebook.

No one has ever asked, that I can recall, but I thought I would share why I write these things publicly.

First, because as a wise women said to me at the start of this- "It's when we are hurting the most that we can hear the voice of God the clearest."  How true that turned out to be.  Over and over, I felt God teaching me things.  Sometimes they were deep things, sometimes they were just practical.  Either way, what a waste it would be for me to keep those lessons to myself.  They are bigger than me.  They shouldn't stay with just me.

I write also because it is a form of therapy for me.  Not only do I get to express myself, but in sharing, I open the door for others to also share.  Our similar experiences form a community of support that has meant a great deal to me and others who have joined the conversation.  (Thank you.)

And finally, I write because by the grace of God my dad's life had a great impact on many people.  His death should also have a great impact on people.  The grave cannot stifle his influence and inspiration.  God will continue to use his story to make an impact.  Of this I am certain.

I will also add that while I am probably the most outspoken of my family members (online, anyway) I am certainly not the only one who has experienced the pain of losing Jack.  My mom, my siblings, his relatives and friends are also grieving over his passing.  Please remember all of them in prayer, and continue to send them messages of encouragement, as well.  Months may have passed, but the pain is still palpable, and  I am only one amongst many who miss him.


So to recap...

While the journey had begun months before, I could not find the words to make the news of my dad's cancer public.  Here is what I finally wrote:

Written on Facebook, September 25, 2014

"For months, I have been typing imaginary status updates in my head, trying to figure out how to publicly say "My dad {Jack} has lung cancer." But nothing that I wrote sounded adequate.
To briefly summarize the journey thus far-
He began his battle with cancer, along with double pneumonia & sepsis, in May. He recovered from the pneumonia & sepsis, and had surgery to remove the lower left lobe of his lung... which left him with two broken ribs. This was followed up with 5 weeks of chemo and radiation, which were completed on Monday. On Tuesday, he went to see his pulmonary doctor due to labored breathing, and was immediately put into the hospital for double pneumonia again. 
He is currently in the intensive care unit. 
His spirits are good. But it goes without saying that he is in great need of prayer. 
Thank you to those of you who have been a support to our family thus far, and to the new prayer senders. You are much appreciated."
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