Friday, June 17, 2011

This Thing I Must Do

For a few months now, I've been dreading today.

Last year there was a lot of excitement and anticipation leading to the Relay for Life.  There was diligent planning and recruitment and fundraising. 

Last year, even though Dad had just received news that the cancer had spread to his liver the week before the Relay, there was still hope.

There was still a chance. 

By then, a minute one.  But it was still there.

Back then, we could hope that he was the less than 5% that would make it out five years.  We could hope that they were wrong.  We could hope that he'd one day be the guy who fought it into remission. 

Though it was small and dwindling with every scan, we still had a little hope.

I was never delusional.  I knew what was wrong with him before the final diagnosis came down.  Once you've been through cancer before, you know what it means when doctors start acting quickly and calling on weekends.  I knew what his chances were.  I knew how long he'd probably have.  I knew that any treatments he went through weren't going to save him.  I didn't hang on to that tiny piece of hope and live in denial.

I lived in the moment.

I had to. 

I did the Relay last year for him.  I did it for symbolic reasons.  I knew that any money we raised was never going to help him, but I knew also that the entirety of it would lift his spirits.  And that was more than enough reason to do it.

Still, it was hard last year.

That first lap for my husband, the survivor, seemed triumphant. 

The lap at sunset, with the names of those sick and gone filling the air, candles lighting up the sky, seemed far less a victory.

I knew that the battle Dad was fighting was one that he would lose. 

And he did. 

But not without putting up one hell of a fight.

Today is still for him, but it's different now.  I'm different now. 

Tonight is a bridge I have to cross, and I know that it's going to hurt like hell. 

This thing I must do.

If you're local, please come on out and join us.  Most of the ceremonies are from 6-9pm tonight at Roosevelt Park.   If you're not, do me a favor at sunset tonight and say a prayer for my Daddy.

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