Life presents numerous challenges every day. Some are simple in nature and require little thought or inconvenience to our way of living. Other challenges are daunting, enormous, and life altering; it doesn’t seem possible that we are suddenly thrust upon this path of unknown. It has been almost six years since an example of the latter occurred without warning to my family.
I still relive the moment of the phone call that would change everything. When my cell rang, it was my mother, she was barely audible, “dad is at the hospital and they did blood tests and something is wrong with the cells”. “Will you call the kids, (my younger siblings) and let them know”. “Don’t come to the hospital.” She then hung up. I remember the room becoming fuzzy and muffled. I shushed away the salesman who approached at the very moment she hung up. My intuition told me immediately what her garbled message meant. It was Leukemia. There was a history in dad’s family.
I called my brother and sister and they agreed we needed to immediately go to the hospital. Somehow, we arrived at the same time. We looked at each other, not saying a word. When we walked into dad’s hospital room, he began to weep. Our rock, who could endure all, fix anything, was sobbing. Within moments, the Dr. arrived with the news. Dad’s leukemia was terminal. It did not matter that he was 59 years old and in the condition of a 45 year old; there was no treatment for his sub-type of the disease. It was terminal.
I watched the end he was facing, the destruction the disease caused, the frustration in his eyes knowing the end was near and he could not stop it. In the last weeks of his life, I was given a great gift. I am now able to recognize the adversity that accompanies all good in life. My father taught me about loyalty, love and strength. But most importantly, his loss sparked compassion in me and a sense of responsibility to those I love and the world around me that might have gone...