This weekend, I found out that my father has stage 4 colon cancer. At 48 years old, he has a cancer that they don’t even start looking for until you’re in your 50’s and beyond. And not only does he have a cancer, he has an end stage cancer that has spread to his liver. He has said he will do surgery, but he will not do chemotherapy or radiation. Why? I’m not sure. I have enough patients come through our office that have had chemotherapy literally kill them. I’m not sure that I entirely blame him for his choice.
How am I feeling? I don’t know, really. This man hauled ass from the hospital the second I was born. He signed his rights away to my step-dad when I was five. Despite the fact that his mother lives with me, and has for years and years, I have only seen him a handful of times in my life. Never more than a few hours at a time. He’s a nice man. He’s a good-looking man. I’m sure it’s weird of him to think that he is 48 with an almost 31 year old daughter. Biologically speaking anyway. I have a half-sister that is in her mid twenties. He is a lot more involved in her life. She and I have seen each other a few times, and we keep in touch via Facebook. Nothing more or less, and I’m okay with that.
Tonight my grandmother was sitting in the sunroom with me, talking about my dad’s cancer. She said that she was going to have a serious talk with him about who his beneficiary is, because she doesn’t want everything going to my half-sister.She said it isn’t right. I told her I didn’t care. I reminded her that by law, he isn’t even my father. He isn’t on my birth certificate anymore. I don’t care about his life insurance, or his house, or his things. I care about him. And I have sent him a text message to tell him that if he needs anything at all, that I am here.
But I don’t know how I am supposed to feel about a father that I have never really known. I’m empathetic to him, and I can’t imagine what it must be like to lie there and know that you have this cancer invading your body, unwelcome as it is. I feel like I should feel some sort of devastation. I have always wished that he would want me. I have always wanted a relationship with him. It just wasn’t in the cards, and it may never be for us.
I love him despite his abandonment. I am part of him. I will be sad when he dies. I will grieve the relationship we will never have. But maybe when he does eventually die (he may beat this, you never know) … I can always imagine the relationship we could have had, had he not have died.