Most of the life stories I've been sharing in this series hopefully made you smile or even inspired. Sometimes, though, life stories are not fun or pleasant but they are part of what shapes us and make us who we are.
One of the defining moments in my life
was the day my daddy was diagnosed with cancer. If you're one of my
regular readers, I guess it is no secret how much I adored my dad. I
couldn't imagine life without him, so when a diagnosis of cancer was
made, I refused to believe it.
I found out that denial is part of the
grieving process, as well as anger, and at first I felt he was
misdiagnosed. See, he was already better, having spent some time in the
hospital! He will be okay.
Dad needed some prescriptions filled.
Since he and mom were so upset and needed to rest, I volunteered to
drive to town and get them filled. When the pharmacist saw the script I
handed to him, he looked up at me and said, "I'm so sorry. I see your
dad is a really really sick man to need these kind of heavy-duty
I didn't know what to say because I still didn't believe he had the C word.
said he was not going to go through chemo. He wouldn't put his family
through it. He'd seen "his people" go through that before and it never
helped them, and just, No. He said he had about three months to live.
(We thought the doctor had told him three months but it was actually his
feels like time should stop when tragedy comes, but unfortunately, life
goes on in the midst of pain. Vacations end, jobs are waiting, bills
need to be paid. And so I hugged my daddy one last time and crying
buckets of tears crawled into our car and headed back to Illinois.
one to talk on the phone, I began calling him every night just to see
how he was. Most of the time he sounded good. And so, I continued to
believe it was all a hoax and he would get over it. It was probably
pleurisy like he'd had before - not lung cancer.
I mean he was only 55! He was just too young to die, so much life was ahead.
went to a healing service and was prayed for to receive healing. Mom
asked him if he felt healed. "Well, I hope so," is all he would say.
knew I needed to go back home and see him, but that would be admitting
that it would be for the last time. Somehow I had the crazy idea if I
didn't go, he'd still live.
My brother called me and told me I needed to come. "Dad looks really bad, Jerr, I don't think he's going to make it."
I remember that day well because that is
the day my dream of Dad not really having cancer died. Tim was one of
the most honest people I knew. If he said death was coming, it was
In the meantime, I'd been in a bad car
wreck. I had a broken arm, stitches in my head, bruises up and down my
left side - and choppy hair. (You can read about it here.) I didn't want to go home like that so I scheduled my visit home for a week away.
You can guess what happened, right? He died the day before my flight home.
the part where the anger came in. I was angry at myself for living in a
dream world and putting off what I knew I needed to do. I was angry at
God because He could have spoken one word of healing and I would still
have my daddy.
someone out there is reading this, and has something they need to do
and keep putting it off, I beg you to do it now. Just because YOU think
there will be time doesn't mean there will be. Your situation might not
involve a terminal illness, but really, none of us know what our last
day might be.
want to tell you this last part: After that terrible phone call
informing me Dad was gone, I went ahead and flew to Florida. We had a
visitation for him there and then brought him home to Illinois to be
buried. That first night, I slept in the bedroom with mom so she
wouldn't be alone. Sometime during the night, I heard Dad's voice in my
mind - "I'm not in pain anymore." He spoke in a breathy voice sort of
like a sigh. Hearing that, my anger dissipated because really, wasn't
that what I prayed for? I had asked for healing and for him to quit
coughing and not be in pain. I had just wanted his healing to be on this
side of the Journey and not the other side.
I shared this life story with you because I don't want you to live
with regrets. I so regret not being there for those final days. Dad knew
I loved him and things were okay with us, so at least I don't have that
sorrow, but just missing those precious final days eats me up
sometimes, even now after 25 years have passed.
there something you have put off? Someone you need to see? Something
that needs to be made right? Or even, is there something you know you
were born to do? Let your life story be one where you did the hard thing
and took that first step. No regrets.
This post is #25 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted
by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go
visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and