We go through the motions with little more than habit. I know to stop at a red light. I stop. But I’m not very connected to where I am or how I got here. I don’t feel anything. I want to; how badly I want to feel something – anything that I might feel human and fulfill an odd desire to show grief over my dad’s verdict out of respect toward him. It doesn’t even make sense, I don’t need to prove my grief…..then again, I’m far away as I write this and have stalled out in limbo. This is shock. I’m numb. Very little makes sense and my mind is a mass of disconnected and misfiring synapses. That is how I feel.
It’s sarcoma and the doctor says it will not go away since it essentially “lives” in the blood and can attach itself to any part of the body. My father would be subjected to exhausting and painful rounds of radiation, chemo, and/or surgery to eradicate the tumors but more could develop afterwards. This would almost become a wild goose chase with treatments for the duration of his life. My dad cares more about quality of life than quantity and why shouldn’t he? It is not all of life to live they say. Perhaps they are right.
The fate of dad occupies the silence in the room but my family finds no happiness in giving it weight by speaking it. Such a desperate attempt to shield ourselves from the inevitable that looms on the six months or less life expectancy is in vain. Collapse seems like the easiest option. I see fire and smell smoke. The world is burning. My world is burning and the flames lick and scorch it’s apexes, many of which climb so high due to my father’s influence in my life.
He fades in and out, losing touch with reality more than I wish to see. His bloodshot eyes roll, his lids droop and I know he hates it. I stand with him, coaching him to breathe with me; he is so high on oxycontin that each minute he breathes in with a hard jerk — his body’s way of reminding him that he still requires oxygen regardless of how far his mind wanders. “Breathe in.” Six seconds pass. “Breathe in.” Six seconds pass. “You’re doing well, pop.” Repeat as necessary. It’s necessary.
We are waiting for the CAT scan results. He may have numerous tumors up and down his legs and in his groin. This is a beast with a scorched earth policy that knows nothing other than death because that’s all that it brings. My prayers for recovery are now prayers for a release from this suffering, prayers that the soul of my father can outrun and outmaneuver the ugly masses in his body. I feel pangs of guilt over it, worried that he will not get to see his granddaughter when she is born in June but not wanting him to suffer until then.