Wishing I could have a few bite-sized Snicker Bars
Living with kanswer is hard. Not many people around me know just how hard.
Everyone who knows me and knows I am dealing with this has been fantastic.
Visits. Cards. Meals. Books. Videos. Photographs. Emails. Stories. Distractions.
Amazing. Mind-boggling. Giggle-producing. Heart-softening.
But still... sometimes, I want someone who knows me well enough to know that I don't always need cards and stories, ease and comfort. Someone who won't flinch when I weep, who won't try to stop me from feeling what I'm feeling. Someone who is wise and strong, quiet and present. Someone who loves me unconditionally, who smiles at me through his own sorrow, who listens to me, who feels nothing but tenderness towards me. Someone who will pray just the right thing, quote just the right verse, and never have it sound trite, over-simplified, rehearsed, or condemning.
Sometimes I miss my father. He passed away in March of 2001 after a brave battle with lung kanswer.
Today, I texted that to my daughter while she was on her way to school.
This is what she wrote back:
I am sure he looks at you with a heart full of love.
He knows what it is like to live with cancer (her spelling not mine)
and I am sure he is sending down love notes in lots of different ways
every single day.
Needless to say, I burst into tears when I read her text. She's so right.
He does love me still. Perhaps now more than ever.
I sure miss him now more than ever.
I cannot even imagine how broken-hearted he would have been to hear that I have kanswer, to watch me go through healing therapy, and to know about all that is yet to come. One thing I know for sure is that he would visit or call me every day. Daddy would insist on being with me at every healing therapy session. He would drive me everywhere I needed to go. He would walk with me, talk to me, sit silently with me, and bring me bags of mini Snicker bars, even though I would tell him over and over that I need to stay away from sugar because sugar feeds kanswer. He would say, "One of these little bars won't hurt you." Then he would brighten my room with his mischievous smile, so we would each eat one - with me shaking my head and him laughing at my excessive caution.
After throwing the wrappers away, he would wipe his forehead with an ever-present handkerchief, look deep into my eyes, and say, "Gail, do you remember what God said to Joshua? (And then he would pull out his Bible so he could show me on the page.) In Joshua 1:9, God said, 'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.' That's true for you too, Gail. God is with you everywhere all the time, even now. So be strong, girl. Don't be afraid. Don't let kanswer get you discouraged. God is with you. God loves you and I love you too." Then he would wrap those thin but strong arms around me and give me a long hug. And I would start to cry, just like I am crying now as I think about him.
I love you too, Daddy. And I miss you. More than ever.