Short a Dad

The timing of everything in my life with Father’s Day is, to say the least, inconvenient. Aside from all sorts of things house/home related, I’m doing things, going places and experiencing moments that I want nothing more than to share with my dad.

My new(ish) staff member is a young man who just moved into his first apartment of his own. His first weekend there, he’d told me of everything he hoped to accomplish before Monday. When Monday came, he shared with me that nothing was completed, he was trying to build a futon. True to the nature of futons, it was giving him trouble. He explained that his dad was going to come over and help him out.

To which I replied, “Dads are great!” There’s nothing wrong with calling in your dad reinforcement, as a 20 (or 30) something.

I’m short a dad. My husband and I depend heavily on my father-in-law when we need help with a “dad” thing. But he’s a little far away. Most of the married couples I know are able to take turns calling in a dad, and sometimes the dads tag-team the problem. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s pretty great.
It makes me a little jealous. My father-in-law is fantastic. But he’s not my dad. I know that I could ask my uncle or my mom’s husband to help out, but it’s different.

My dad solved problems for me, fixed things for me, asked the right questions and gave sound advice.

As we’re going through the process of selling a home that my father never got to see and building a new home that my father will never see, I sometimes think about features that I believe my dad would have liked. When I work on technical projects in the industry that I do, I know that my dad would understand the applications and think they’re cool, without me having to explain why they’re cool. When I travel for work, I find myself in cities he visited for his job and at events like the ones I remember him going to when I was a kid. Even sometimes when I’m sitting with Holmes or Watson on my lap, I think, “Dad would have loved these cats.”

The longer it’s been since we lost my dad, the fewer rough days there are. But some days, like Father’s Day, will always be rough.

Dad Would Have Turned 54

If life had played out a little differently, and cancer hadn’t stolen my father from us when he was 50, today would have turned 54 today.

On “dad days” like today, I try to remember a story about my dad to share. But it’s hard, the sad memories push themselves to the forefront. When I really try to remember things, I think about bow ties and learning to drive stick shift, which aren’t necessarily stories to tell (or ones I haven’t told already). I remember little thinks like the fact that he liked cinnamon Altoids, didn’t drink coffee and wore suspenders. It’s times like these that make me fear losing memories of my dad.

There is a small comfort though in being reminded of him in little things that he likes, like hot apple cider, straw hats, red pick up trucks or the curved arches in my dining room.

For today, that will be enough.

Get Uncomfortable

No one wants to talk about things that are uncomfortable. The longer I’ve lived with diabetes, the less uncomfortable I’ve gotten with needles, blood and super “personal” questions. (Just to be clear, I’m still not comfortable with needles… I doubt I will ever be.) I blog about living with diabetes a lot, but I don’t blog about my colon very much ever. Which is surprising because I’ve been living with the knowledge that I’m at risk for colon cancer longer than I’ve been living with diabetes. To some extent everyone is, but my father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 46.

Dad was considered being an average-risk individual, so his first colonoscopy wasn’t recommended until he turned 50. As you might know, 50 was the last birthday he celebrated with us. A routine health screening at his second job set off a series of events that lead to his diagnosis and ensuring fight with cancer. Stage 4 is advanced and the estimated timeline from the doctors put his cancer as undiagnosed for potentially as long as a decade.

I have an annual physical with my newish doctor scheduled for the same week that I turn 25 (this week, if you’re keeping track) and I already have a list of things to talk with him about, topping the list happens to be the uncomfortable topic of my colon and how my dad’s health affects my timeline for preventative screenings.

March happens to be Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Good timing?

We often put off things that make us uncomfortable. Let’s face it, being uncomfortable adds up to no fun. But I’d rather have the uncomfortable conversations and the uncomfortable tests… I’d rather the people I love do too and than catch a serious problem too late.

The Cleveland Clinic has a page on colon cancer here.

While we’re talking medical stuff, I had a student contact me and ask for me to share her survey regarding diabetes and future pregnancy. So if you’re a lady with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who has never been pregnant, could you take a few minutes and help her out? Here’s a link to her survey.

Old

I remember telling my dad once when I was little, and he wasn’t even 40 yet, that he couldn’t call himself “old” until he was 50.

Because 50 is when you get old.

This picture is from the last birthday we got to celebrate with him. His 50th.

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My dad would be 53 today. He never ended up getting “old.”

You Looked Really Sick

I guess somewhere around the second anniversary is when people start talking about things… A conversation came up this weekend and turned to what was happening in my life two years ago.

I weigh less today than I did the day I graduated from high school, which for reference isn’t much. I gained some weight in college and lost it all, plus some, while in DKA (not how you’re supposed to do it). That came up in the conversation and then my friend said, “It didn’t really hit me how sick you were until I saw you at your dad’s funeral. You looked so small.”

It was tough to pack clothes for calling hours and the funeral, because all of my clothes were too big. Only a few people really noticed that I was 30 pounds lighter than the last time they saw me (2 1/2 months earlier) or that the backs of my hands had a greenish hue from IV bruising. My friend, saw everything that was happening.

Two years ago, I was in a dark time. I’m still pretty angry that so many things happened at once, not allowing me to handle them as they came or celebrate the good things that were also happening because the dark outweighed it. I’m still angry that my diagnosis and my dad’s death were separated by only four days and that diabetes didn’t let me grieve the way I should have been able to and it didn’t let me spend the time with my parents because it had me stuck in a hospital bed.

My second diaversary passed unceremoniously on Sunday, and I’m okay with that. The timing is interesting though because the conversation I mentioned happened on Saturday and in the past couple of weeks Brad and I have found ourselves talking about what happened in August of 2011 more freely. It’s still not a subject we like to talk about, but it’s no longer avoided. I’ve learned things that were said and done during that time that I didn’t know about.

This year, the happy event of one of my best friends getting married is keeping my thoughts busy and hopeful. I find that this August, I regret less and dwell less on everything I lost two years ago.

Having two years between you and several life-changing events somehow makes them a little easier to think about. It’s always easier when you see the progress you’ve made since them as well.