this time last year it was snowing. i looked out the third floor window at HUGE flakes falling from the sky. it was beautiful. i’d never seen snow flakes so big. the nurse walked in with the news there would be no chemo that day. it was the first time the doc had requested he skip it… and we knew what that meant. i put my head on his shoulder. he told the nurse he wanted to talk to the doctor. he wanted to know. the nurse seemed confused and when we walked out to the desk they looked at me and said “what did you need to talk to the doctor about?”. i choked out “he wants to know how long he’s got to live. he wants the truth.” i remember the looks on their faces. all the nurses at the station froze. you could have heard a pin drop.
in the doctors conference room the tension was thick. “four months” she said. my fathers reply: “so i’m not going to make it to fathers day”. i held his hand and we cried.
she wanted him to have a liver biopsy to see if the cancer had spread from his pancreas. they wanted to set it up for the next day but i told them no. he wasn’t in good shape and i knew the procedure would take a lot out of him. he had just had a CT scan the day before. we scheduled for the day after.
i had to leave him at my brothers house to go pick my kids up from school. i covered him with his snuggie, gave him the TV remote, placed a glass of water at his side, and tearfully kissed him goodbye.
my kids built a snowman in our front yard and i sent the photos to him via email. i went to see him the next day. he hadn’t left the bed. he slept most of the day.
the following day… the day of the biopsy he was not doing well at all. the worst i’d seen him yet. he was thirsty so we got him a cup of water. he could barely hold on to it… the small styrofoam cup tumbled to the floor.
just before they wheeled him in, the doctor who was going to perform the procedure introduced himself. my father shook his hand and said “you know what they told me? they told me i only had four days”. my brother and i quickly exclaimed “NO DAD! NO! that’s not what she said!”.
he never woke up. four days later he passed away in hospice care with my brother at his side.
he never saw the photos of the kids in the snow.