*Edited to add - I got the pic to load! I took this on a business trip to Las Vegas where I made my Dad go with me- we drove to the Grand Canyon while there. This was literally a week before the cancer crap started up again.
I still cannot believe I haven't talked to my favorite person in the whole world in so long. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like that long ago, but today at 10:45 a.m. marks the day and time my Dad died from 'non life threatening' skin cancer 15 years ago. Not melanoma, no he won the odds lottery by dying from squamous cell carcinoma. You know, the one that's not deadly. Those little white scaly bumps everyone typically just get cut off their noses, tips of their ears, sometimes from getting a little too much sun when they were kids when no one used sunscreen. He died at home, we all were around him and with him when he died. There were no moments of saying goodbye while he was still conscious - my Dad was a proud and stoic man. Either he didn't want to talk about it directly or we didn't really want to accept all of it was really happening. He died the way I know he wanted to - at home, with all of us there with him. I am so very thankful of that.
He wasn't a typical man who wouldn't go to the doctor. He put up with a lot of bullshit, treatments, IVs, surgeries, radiation, you name it, he did it without complaint even though he was a tough and strong man's man at 6"4". He didn't want to leave us and did anything that was asked of him no matter how embarrassing, emasculating, or painful. My Dad was only 55 when he died and he put up with a lot in his last 3 years. I was 28 when he died. My youngest sister was only 17. I feel so bad for her for that and guilty that I got to have him in my life longer than her. He missed giving her away at her wedding. He missed all but one grandchild (my older sister's) - there are now 8 in total. My kids can't ever understand how cool he was, what great stories he told, how kind he was, how hard he worked to support us, how funny he was, and what stupid songs he always made up and sang around the house that made us all laugh at his absurdity and humor.
Thank God my mom is a strong woman. She met someone else, they are married and she is happy. He's a nice enough guy, good enough. That made my life and grief so much better to know I didn't have to carry the burden and guilt of my mom's sadness too. She's handled it well for the most part. Better than I could have. My Mom and Dad were married for 32 years and my Mom's a pistol so that's no small feat! Haha!
What a great Dad I had/still have. And I sure do miss him. Today, I'm sad and a bit pissed about it. I cover up my grief by reminding myself I'm living my life to honor him. And I am. But sometimes this really sucks. Sometimes I think that in order to get so lucky to have such an amazing Dad I had to pay such a high price in grief. You know, with great highs come great lows. Newton's 3rd Law of motion: with every action there is an equal opposite reaction. Whatever, he was worth it.