My Dad sent this to me. This is his last year since my diagnosis!
It has now been a year since John found about the cancer. As John’s dad, I’ve wanted to tell my story and now is that time. This is my journey of the past year and what I learned.
The first thing that hits me is disbelief and shock. It was the worst day of my life. We immediately drive to London, as if in a trance, not saying much, trying to maintain some kind of concentration so I can drive. As I drive I ask God to trade the cancer from John to me. If only it was that simple. When me meet in London, of course it is very emotional. Everything is a blur; we don’t know what to say how to act. Tears run freely. There is still the “can’t believe its happening to us”. We spend a couple hours passing time with the kids, talking pretending we are all ok, and tomorrow we will wake up and this will all be a dream.
Bryan and Brenda show up and the tears flow once again. They have treated John like a son and I think about what they must be going through. I constantly think about Jen too. What will she do, how will she cope, what will happen. The girls, Marissa and Mikayla, they play and continue to be kids; seemingly oblivious to the seriousness of the moment. (But I wonder if they know something is wrong) How will they grow up without a daddy? They are so small. Will they remember John?
One fearful thought after another runs through my head.
We have dinner and after, we go to Mark and Jen’s. Mark is not home but John relays his diagnosis to Jen, who stares in disbelief and shock. When Mark comes home he is told and the same disbelief and shock registers with him. We stay for a while and as we are ready to leave, Mark breaks down and cries inconsolably. My sorrow is overwhelming. I know how close these brothers are and the fear that he must be going through too. I realize as a father how helpless I am to protect my children from this insidious disease.
We return to John’s and spend the night. I awaken the next day, and hope that I just had a bad dream, but reality begins to sink in and I feel the same fear and hopelessness from the day before.
The days begin to pass, and news of John’s diagnosis trickles out to the world. Support comes in to him from all over. His friends at work, in his community, my relatives, Jen’s relatives, our friends begin to pray and offer assistance. There is a genuine concern for John, his family and us. If any of you have read John’s blogs you know how much it meant to him and Jen. It meant just as much to Linda and I.
As time passes we become educated on his cancer, and start to realize that there is hope and this is not necessarily a death sentence. John reaches out to the cancer community. He gets help from cancer patients with the same diagnosis as him. He joins cancer groups and goes to meetings and therapy. John asks Linda to go with him to his chemotherapy treatment. She goes and I go to the next one, Jolaine his sister and Mark his brother all have turns. It is an education and a privilege to be with him when he receives the treatments. It is a time spent in support of him and what he is going through.
Slowly, and assuredly I see a change of energy in all of us but most of all in John.
Out of this black moment in our history there is a gift. A gift about life, pride, and gratitude. I see a baby we brought home from the hospital many years ago. I see a boy growing up and going through the fun of boyhood, the continued growth into the teenage years and trials and tribulations of being a young man. Getting married and starting a family of his own. The circle of life. I never dreamt he would have to endure what he has gone through. As a father you always want the best for your kids, but I believe the tests, the lessons and what we are made of are learned through trial and hardship. As parents we have to have the courage to let them make their own mistakes, to let them fall down and hopefully we have influenced them enough so they will get back up and continue their journey.
When I see how John conducted himself through this, my heart swells with pride, that I may have played some small part in the man he is today. How bravely he has faced his fears. But most of all, it is not what I taught him, it is what he taught me.
I would like to thank everyone who supported John on his road to recovery. A special thanks to Bryan and Brenda (John’s inlaws) for all their support. The doctors and nurses at the cancer clinic. Current and former cancer patients.Thanks to our friends and families; John’s brothers and sister and their spouses, my brothers, my cousins, especially Chico and Colleen. The friends John works with, chipped in and bought him a big screen TV to watch while he was recuperating from his chemotherapy. Jen’s family and friends, who were offering support to babysit, send over meals or just sit and listen. If I forgot anyone I apologize. There are so many to thank.
I am writing this for my own healing and what I have endured. It is about how precious my family and friends are to me.
A greatful, loving and caring dad.