Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Life Effect

When I was very small, my dad would play me lullabies on his guitar every night as I fell asleep.  Even my most vivid fears of the monsters under my bed would be tamed by his voice and the words to my favorite songs.

When I was a little bit older, our roosters would chase me around our yard, intent on attacking my short-legged and thus, not very fast self.  Screaming bloody murder, I would head for the nearest tree, flinging myself over the lowest branch and scrambling my way up to safety.  The rooster would circle the tree, and I would settle in until my dad would come home from wherever he was and I could yell for him to come over and walk me back to the house, keeping me safe from the dejected rooster.

When I was older still, my dad would calmly say things like, "Okay, let's try to let the clutch out a little bit more gently this time," as I would yet again kill the engine trying to get out of the driveway when I was first learning to drive. 

Utterly unflappable, with the patience of a saint, my father is the kindest, best man I have ever known.  No one can match him, and I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't think he was invincible. 

My dad has cancer.

I have sat, staring at this computer screen, for the better part of a week trying to write those words.  Sitting here, at home on my childhood bed, knowing I have to leave for Boston soon in order to be at work tomorrow, I wonder (as everyone does in these situations) how the world can possibly be going on as if everything is normal when clearly, everything is falling apart.

In the darkness of the early morning, when the only sound you can hear is the blood rushing in your ears and your heart pounding in your chest, you grip your pillow, clench your jaw, squeeze your eyes shut to keep back the tears and none of it helps, all you can feel is the fear.

One day at a time, people say.  Think positive, people say.  It's too late.  The world has cracked, the chasm has opened.  Fear has rushed in and it's here to stay.


The Nanny said...

One thing I noticed when I met your dad is that he calls you "my girl." I remember he called Ethan "my boy" when he talked with him on the phone. And I notice you do that with Tucker — call him "my boy" sometimes. You got that from your dad. I love that. It's such a sweet, simple, incredibly meaningful expression of love. You are his girl.

I don't understand why the universe keeps throwing shit your way. I don't understand why this happened to your dad. I don't understand why life has to be so, so unbearable at times. But what I do know is that your ability to be loving, supportive, and so eloquent in your words is something amazing. I know, I know, that you mean everything in the world to your parents, and then some. I know that you give them unimaginable peace. And yes, you're all so scared right now — but you, in your sweet, loving way, are giving your dad a reason to hang on and fight. You are.

Drive safely today, sweet girl. Come home and hug your cats. Lucy lost a baby tooth last night on your bed, and Tucker has been extra sweet and snuggly. We're all here waiting to hug you home.

Anonymous said...

I'm so so sorry to hear about your father. I'll keep him (and you) in thought - hoping that everything turns out okay.

Anonymous said...

My dad has cancer too, pancreatic cancer. It throws your world into something that no one can understand unless they've been through it. He's my dad, I'm his little girl (though I'm married with a family now)...

My only advice for you as you go through this battle with him is to keep making memories, share old ones and make new ones. Be there as much as possible and if you can't be there in person, call often and always, always, let him know how much you love him.

I hate cancer, I mean, I F-ing hate what it's done to my dad and I'm so sorry that yet another daughter is watching her dad fight it.

Allison the Meep said...

I'm so sorry, Cait. That is such devastating news that knocks the air right out of a person. I'm thinking of you and your family, and sending good thoughts your way. When you aren't able to think the good thoughts, there are people who can help to think them for you.

Anonymous said...

was so sorry to read about your dad. you and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers.

stay strong.


Anonymous said...


Your dad sounds like a wonderful man. I cannot relate, and cannot imagine what you are going through.

I can only hope and pray for your family--I truly hope things get better.


Alia said...

I'm so sorry. I really don't know what to say. I just keep thinking about what I would do in this situation and I think I would fall apart. I do know that I believe in you and hope and that all my prayers are going to your dad and you and your family.

Love, Alia