Monday, May 29, 2006


How much of our lives is spent waiting? There's the minor kind of waiting: in line at the grocery store; on hold on the phone; for that web page to load. But what about the bigger waiting: waiting until you get married; waiting until you graduate; waiting for births--and deaths.

Until my father was diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago, I never realized how much waiting is involved in illness. Wait to find out if that suspicious mass is cancerous, wait to discover if it has spread throughout the body, wait to see how the chemo works, wait to see if radiation is called for, wait, wait, wait. I thought the days-long waits between doctor visits difficult; the week-long waits between full-body scans and the results were agonizing.

But nothing has been worse than the wait for Daddy to die. He lost his ability to speak above a whisper in the middle of April--the cancer has killed one of his vocal cords. The tumor in his spine causes extreme pain. Taking his medicines every four hours is an agonizing process because of his throat issues. He doesn't rest well, nor is he really very awake most of the time.

My parents called all the children down to Vegas just under two weeks ago--Daddy felt that everyone needed to come as soon as possible, to say good-bye. And that was a wonderful, heart-rending, terrible, beautiful experience. We were all able to talk to him, together and individually, all his brothers and sisters were in town to say good-bye, he was released from his stake calling in a special priesthood meeting.

And yet he still waits. With my angel mother and selfless sister at his side, he waits for death. And all of us--scattered back to our various homes--wait for the phone to ring, to tell us to come home for the funeral.

I hate waiting. Part of me wants this to happen quickly--selfishly, so I can get back to my life, not have to condition everything with "Well, I'd be happy to do that if I'm not in Vegas on Saturday". Wincing and hoping everytime the phone rings. I'm waiting to stop feeling guilty--it really will be a release, both for him and my mother, but something in me can't wish for the death of my father. My daddy. I'm waiting to stop feeling wretched. And I'm waiting for the time when I can see him again, happy and full of life.

I hate waiting.


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  • I'm sorry to hear about your father. My wife and her family went through a similar thing a couple of years ago. A difficult time.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 5/29/2006 12:07 PM  

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