Throughout his illness, my family new that there was a chance circumstances would lead to life-or-death decisions. Cancer strikes that fear in your heart. My dad knew it too. He was a man of few words, but his family and friends knew you had better listen up if he’s speaking; his actions spoke volumes. The summer before he died, he still receiving chemotherapy but disregarded his doctors’ advice to avoid waterskiing because of infection risk from the lake water. “At least I can say I water skied when I was 59 years old!”
My family is small, my brother, my mom, my dad, his two sisters and my grandmother, and we all get along. We are practical and thoughtful. My dad’s doctors told us that surgery was the only option for prolonging his in the weeks after he was admitted to the hospital. We had a response for them.
That was 10 years ago, and I have never wondered if the correct decision was made. The peace that came with that decision was an amazing relief. Looking back I remember my dad seemed to have that same peace prior to his hospitalization, the fear and strain was gone from his expression. Our conversation was a little last minute, but it was clear what my dad wanted, specific to his situation, and in line with the values he lived his life by.