Saturday, January 29, 2011

My dad

I want to ask you all for prayers this week.  My dad was dx with Bladder cancer back in July. He went into the Hospital with a bowel obstruction and left 15 days later after 2 major surgeries, the discovery of a hole in his heart, a dx of bladder cancer and having had a stroke after surgery.  This doesn’t define him, the same as Diabetes doesn’t define our kids but it is his new normal.  He battled cancer all fall with rounds of chemo and when the last round was finished they did a scan and saw that the mass was gone but that it had invaded the wall of the bladder which requires him to have full bladder removal.  This is happening on Monday.  Tomorrow he checks into the hospital with my mom beside him.  You see when he checks in so does she. She won’t leave him, the only time she will spend away from him is when he is in surgery and the night he has to be in ICU.  This is what happened in July as well.  They dont do well apart from each other. 

I had an amazing idea for a post in my head about what my dad means to me, how I credit my strength to my mom and him, how he is not a perfect man, but has fought demons inside him to become the man he is today.  How the stroke scared him worse than the cancer because he might not be able to care for my mom. How he is the only child of a first generation immigrant from Ireland, who lost his dad at 16. How he has had a tough life. How when you meet him, he appears gruff, hard, and harsh. But to know him is to know that when a man gives his word it means something, that you don’t let family down, that your siblings are the only people who know exactly what life growing up was like. That hard work is how you get where you want to go in life, and that your job is not your life, your family is your life.  You see I was going to tell you all of this and more, but as I began to write this post my mom emailed my siblings and I this amazing note. Im not sure her intention was to ever share it publicly but she gave me permission to share it with you:

Who is my hubby?

He's my best friend, the reason I fight through my COPD to be with him. He's the father of our 4 wonderful children, grandfather to 5 terrific grandsons who still have so much to learn from him. He's father-in-law to 2 of the nicest son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws you would ever want to meet, who can take some lessons from a man who has been married to the same women for 41 1/2 years. He's a diligent member of the Nansemond Indian tribe, a group of people who are very near and dear to his heart. He's a veteran who served in the navy during Viet Nam. He's a retired Virginia Beach Police Officer who served his city and helped to train other officers to do their job with honor, to make split life and death decisions with courage and compassion. He's a surrogate father to many other kids that came into our lives and were touched by his love and concern for them, the friends of our kids, the kids of our friends. He is the love of my life, not perfect but then none of us are. He has stood by me for 45 years, since the day we met and began to learn and care about someone who means more to each other than words can even begin to explain. He is the puzzle piece that completes me. He is a softy when it comes to me. He would give you the shirt off his back, his time, his money anything he could do for you. Our family knows he can growl and snarl but when the going gets tough he'll defend you and back you to anyone. He's a Dad that didn't miss a single wrestling match, chorus performance or play that his children were in, if he could help it, and couldn't understand why not every kid didn't have their parents there to cheer them on. He was home every night when he wasn't working, called when he was going to be late and brought me fresh flowers every week until he retired and I asked him to stop to save some money. He has always made a family dinner something you didn't miss, where every night we sat and talked about our day, voted on family decisions, and sometimes even had food fights, usually started with him. He has always made sure that whoever cooked didn't have to clean up, that housework and laundry were shared because we all make the mess and all need to clean it up. He is a terrific friend, lover, husband, father, grandfather, father in law, employee, tribe member. He is my man, and I love him with all my heart and all my soul. I pray that God lets us have more time together. I pray that God holds him in the palm of his hand and lets me keep him with me for at least a little longer.

So my friends I beg you to please pray this week for my family.  My dad's surgery is scheduled to be on Monday am est. time and may take as long as 14 hours they have said.  He will have 7-10 days in the hospital and then 4-6 weeks of recovery. Then a lifetime of adjusting to his new normal. 
These are the things I beg of you to pray for. 

Please pray for my family: that mom and dad have the strength to fight what is coming, dad to be cancer free when this is all over, for them both to lean on their family to care for them, for my family to be healthy in my absence, that my dad is able to recover quickly from this life changing procedure, for the doctors to be steady, alert, and swift during what could be a 14 hour procedure on Monday.  For the nurses who will have to take care of my (I’m sure grumpy) daddy for a week while in the hospital.  I pray they remember he is someone’s dad, when he is barking about something at 3 am.  For my siblings who can’t be here locally that they find peace in the information we are able to pass to them, for my brother locally, that his family is strong without him this week as well, and that he and I will know what to do to help our parents. 


  1. What a beautiful letter your Mom has written, I love reading about love stories like theirs.

    Praying for your Dad and entire family. HUGS!

  2. I am praying Shannon, keep us posted! ((hugs))

  3. Shannon I will be praying. I loved reading this post about your father. I hope that his recovery is smooth. I hope your mom makes it through ok. The love that she feels for him is evident and clear and this is going to be tough for the both of them.


  4. Oh, Shannon....
    My prayers will be with you, your dad, your mom and the rest of your family tomorrow and in the next months to follow during this recovery.

    Your moms letter touched my heart. Love stories like theirs are rare, and truly special. I will send an extra prayer for your mom in the coming weeks that she is able to pull through with the strength and love that only a woman can know and understand.

  5. what a beautiful letter....your dad sounds like a great man. I will be thinking of him and your family over the next few weeks. ((hugs))

  6. Now that I've wiped my tears, I can finally post! What a beautiful letter from your Mom. You all have crossed my mind several times today and as I sat in church, I prayed for your family. If you need anything, please give me a call! Keep us updated!! (((HUGS))) Luv ya, my friend!

  7. I love you so much. I am so sorry that your family is dealing with this. I know we are both blessed to come from two loving parents that care so much for each other. It is hard to think how I would be feeling in your shoes. I love you so much honey. You are so strong and wonderful, and I am here to help you. We will make it through it.

  8. I'm so sorry that your family is going through this, my heart aches for you. Please know that I will be keeping you, your dad, and your family close in my thoughts and prayers.