This is a short story that will last a lifetime. The fact that it is short is actually part of the story itself, as it is the story of a cancer journey that lasted a mere forty three days.
In July 2009 the author’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The story is told through the daily entries in her diary written as if she were talking directly to her dad.
The story deals with the raw emotions of the cancer diagnosis and beyond. In the daily entries the author deals with dysfunctional families, divorce and re-marriage, distance, grievance and re-connecting with loved ones as well as her own pain and grief. You will discover how she copes with the normal and abnormal things that are happening in her life on a daily basis, and how she learns a level of forgiveness and gratitude that most people around her cannot understand.
There is anger, there is grief and hurt, there is forgiveness and tenderness, there is humour and above all there is an unending love between a daughter and her father than all grown up children will understand.
A book that will make you cry, that you can sit and read in a couple of hours and that you will be able to connect with even if you have been fortunate enough to have avoided contact with cancer so far.
Above all this book is a promise. A promise from a daughter to her beloved dad to do something good out of something bad, a book that will raise money for Cancer Research.
For all of us.
19th August 14.34
I have just spoken with Audrey; you have had your biopsy and are comfortable in hospital.
Apparently a cancer care nurse turned up to see you out of the blue yesterday and offered support to Audrey as well as care for you. I encouraged Audrey to take all of the support she can get, emotional or physical.
The nurse told Audrey more than anyone has so far in terms of what will happen.
The consultants from Wigan and Christies will meet with the palliative care team to discuss how to best support you. There may be an opportunity to have chemo; however it will only be to stop the spread of cancer into other organs as there is no cure for what you have.
Audrey has said that she wants to keep you at home until you are really bad and then move you to a hospice.
Not once have I been asked what my opinion is, decisions have just been made.
I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face, a knot in my stomach like I have never known and an ache in my heart so strong that you can almost hear it.
I know that Audrey is your next of kin and needs to be in control; however it is so hard for those who love you just as much but are merely part of the communication chain.
For all sons and daughters out there who have had to go through this or will go through this sometime in your life – I know your pain.
It is a pain so intense and raw.
You sit with memories from when you were small children to being adults of these leaders in your life.
They shape you, teach you, love you even when you are bad then let you go into the world to live your own life and make your own mistakes.
They pick you up when you fall, make it better when it hurts and always have a hug when you need them.
They smile when others frown; brag about you to the people they meet and exaggerate your achievements.
Then they get ill and it is so hard for you to do the same for them. I know some children have the opportunity to do that and it must be hard. But, believe me it is just as hard being four hours away and imagining what is happening every day.
Not really being part of it just waiting for phone calls.
Visiting every two weeks and hoping you last in between. Praying that when the end comes you can hold on until I get there.
Snatching moments and treasuring them, locking them away in memory forever.
My lovely dad. I am going to miss you so much.
I am sobbing now; I can’t phone Ange and give her an update because I don’t want her to feel like this.
I need to be her rock at the minute.
I will be ok in five.
So, when you feel like crap, God sends kids to slide down the stairs on the dog blanket!!
That brought me to my senses – thank goodness for Becca and Dan.
‘You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.’ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762
‘When the pain of losing a loved one hurts, let it remind you to love the living even more intensely.’ Mandy King
I just had a thought. If you and mum were still together, then maybe this would all be easier, it would not feel so distant or remote. It is divorce and re-marriage that puts the wedge in place.
Vying for affections, needing to be in control, resentment yadda, yadda.
How can someone who has been married to you for thirteen years and has no children of their own ever understand my pain? My mum understands my pain, but she has her own husband and her own life.
I understand Audrey’s pain because I have a husband I love, but she can never truly understand mine because she does not have that parent child bond which gives you so much more understanding in life.
Then maybe I need to be more understanding of her inability and be the better person.
I will for you dad.
A. J. King like many others in the UK had spent her life working hard, progressing through the ranks to a senior management level. But 2009 had different plans for her that would explode over a six month period changing life as she knew it.
At 44 years old, with two young children, a happy marriage and a great job, things seemed to be bordering on perfect, then one Sunday morning in March a freak event caused a serious car crash on her way to work resulting in a month off. Having reflection time she made a big decision to leave her career behind and do something new.
Being a ‘glass half full’ type of person she booked herself on some courses and set about planning her own business with enthusiasm. She called a friend and took a part time job to keep the wolves from the door.
In June she collapsed at work and was rushed to hospital for the second time, another month off work followed and so did major surgery. During this period she completed two diplomas and signed up for a degree. And just as she was getting ready to return to work she made a phone call that would start a whirlwind of change and emotion.
Her dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she knew instantly that if she did not do something positive with this experience then it may all be just too much, so the night of the call was the night she started a diary that would teach her more about life and love than you could learn in a lifetime.