“C” is for Cancer……


…and Cancer is a c**t.   About three weeks ago my younger sister got diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 1.  After her surgery she got upped to stage 3 because they found cancer in her lymph nodes.  My brother-in-law almost passed out in front of his kids and my mother went into the hallway and started to cry and yell, “Why couldn’t it be me(meaning herself)”.  I was on the phone with my father giving him the update and telling him he needed to get on a plane and come see my sister.

My sister was always the good kid-never got into trouble-never talked back was always shy and quiet.  I on the other hand was the black sheep, always getting into trouble.

I have contemplated suicide–I did not understand why she got the cancer, she has three teen age kids.  She has high school graduations and college graduations and weddings to attend to.  I don’t have any of that.  I thought it should be me, because I have less to live for.

My sister has always been the kind of person never to complain about physical pain.  She is much stronger than me in that regard.  So, to see my sister in pain and thinking she is going to die and making me promise to look after her kids was very hard to experience.

Cancer is a funny thing because it does not just change or effect the person with the cancer but others as well.  A dear friend of mine lost the last two years of her mother’s life because they were not speaking.  All of that changed when her mother got diagnosed. 

The past seemed to have gone away.  And I did not really understand that……until the day I picked my father up at the airport.  The past didn’t really matter…what he did or did not do.  What mattered was that he got on a plane and had come out to see my sister.  I picked him up and drove him to my sister’s house.

He started crying and asked my sister for forgiveness.  She started crying and I left the room because that was there moment.

Throughout our childhood my mother and her family always made my dad out to be the bad guy.  It is hard growing up surrounded by people who think badly of your father.

As you all know my father has not been a saint by no means or stretch of the imagination.  However, the stories have always been one-sided.

This time around I got to hear his side of the story.  Of course, I double checked everything he said with my mother who confirmed that he was indeed speaking the truth.  I can not disclose what he said because it is my parents story to tell but needless to say it does change my prior perceptions.

On the drive back my father asked me for forgiveness.  I said to him, “I’ll tell you the same thing I told my mother.  I am not upset about the past or what happened in childhood.  I get upset about the things that happen in present day”.

I had already forgiven him on the day I had picked him up at the airport…..

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