27 February 2014

Blogpost from the Edge

As I write this, I don't know if I will publish it. As I write this, my father lies on an operating table with a surgeon attempting to remove a malignant tumor from his lung.

My father has beaten three types of cancer already. Because of previous chemotherapy and radiation, those treatments are not ideal for this fourth round of cancer. The best way to treat this is to simply find it and cut it out.

The real problem here is not so much his age or history of cancer per se, but that his lung capacity is very low. They are operating at 31%. And though that complicates anesthesia, it also is an issue for recovery, as the lungs are needed to help clear the resultant fluid accretion in the lungs after surgery. He is at high risk of pneumonia. He has emphysema and COPD. He is 76, and until his first round of lung cancer was a lifelong heavy smoker.

He's been through a lot. I can see on his eyes and hear in his voice that he really, really doesn't want to go through another round of protracted treatment.

I can't speak for him-- he's a guy who keeps his feelings close to the vest-- but for a guy who wears them on his sleeve, I think I see, at last, fear of his own death.

This isn't a blog post (even should it be a post at all) about the perils of smoking. You can read that elsewhere. It isn't intended to be a Facebook revelation-- though any revelation of a private family matter online is ultimately just that, and is the only reason I might not publish it.

Maybe it's the examination of conscience and confession of a mediocre son.

I love my father, most people do. When I was younger, I didn't appreciate his good qualities like I do now. Again, typical.

I've read stories about how such a person's father was his hero, or that another's was a total failure and ruined his life. Neither holds here. My Dad was a normal Dad, with all that that entails. He provided for us, stayed married to my Mom for 53 years (and counting), loved us, worried about us, endured us, bore with all of our problems. He had faults, flaws and sins. He had lots of great traits.

Is such a person a hero? No. I pray he will be a saint. Which of us really deserves to become that, relying only on our own actions? We are totally dependent on Christ.

Have I loved my father as I ought? Have I forgiven him when he needed it? Have I thanked him? Have I remembered him?

The report card is decidedly mixed, uneven, mediocre.

So when I saw my own mortality reflected in his eyes as he was being taken to the operating room, knowing he loves me and I love him, and knowing that he knows that I know that we are both sorry, and glad, and grateful, I pray for him and me and all those we love, lift up, and sometimes let down:

God have mercy. Lord help us. Mary, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

They just called us, surgery is ending, and I can see him soon.


Lynne said...

Prayers going up! God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Anonymous said...

Praying, timman... I think I'll give my dad a call.


Long-Skirts said...

A beautiful piece, Timman, many prayers for both you and your dear Father

HSMom said...

Timman,,, If this were an FB post, I would "like" it.

Prayers for your Dad, you and yours through this present, most difficult trial.

Barto of the Oratory said...

P: Introibo ad altare Dei.
S: Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

Scott Woltze said...

We're all better for having read your thoughts. Lord have mercy and strengthen us all.

Pete said...

St Peregrine pray for Father of Timman. Patron of Fathers, St. Joseph, pray for him as well. St Luke pray for his doctors.

May the Holy Spirit comfort you all as well, Timman.

Anonymous said...

Prayers being said for your father, yourself, and your family. Many can relate to your reflections at this time. Thank you for sharing.

Christophe said...

Timman - our family's prayers for your father.

By the way, you are a terrific writer. That was a great piece.


Anonymous said...

A terrific writer and a good son to your father. Our prayers are with you, your family and your dad Timman.


Patrick Archbold said...


Elizabeth said...

God bless you as you go through this time of trial, and bring you all closer to Him through it.

Clothilde said...

Beautiful post. I will pray for you and your father.

Karen said...

Praying very earnestly for you, you father and your entire family.

Your words make me re-examine my own relationship with my father which has been rocky at best.

God bless all of you and give you strength.

Delena said...

Loved this.