I have always been a daddy's girl. Even as a little girl my dad was my very first love affair. He was the most handsome man I knew. I proclaimed confidently that I was going to marry him when I grew up. My mom could stay on as a housekeeper, and she would have to sit in the backseat of the car. As I became a teenager, that crush faded of course. But he still remained my closest confidant. I told him about the first time I got drunk. I told him about my first kiss.
And when I became a young woman I relied on his guidance in the most important decisions in my life. Even now as a mother and wife, my dad still has a very special place in my heart and in my life. He has taken me to fabulous places like Rome, Venice, Barcelona and London. He is the one that loves to shop and brings me along for those great shopping sprees. He gives me advice and encourages me to reach my goals. He is more than just DAD, he is my FRIEND.
13 years ago my mom died of cancer. It was heartbreaking for me and my dad. How was life going to go on without her? But it did. Time heals most wounds and we found a way to move on. If anything it brought us even closer together. Then two years ago we got the terrible news that my father had prostate cancer. A year of intense treatments, fear, hope, pain and buckets of tears followed. What a joy when we received the message that he was cancer free!
And so time went on.
This summer the news of his relapse hit me like a ton of bricks. How could it be? The doctors told us that the prognosis for prostate cancer is good as long as it hasn't spread to the bones. But for a year my dad had had terrible pain in his legs and lower back. The fear totally overwhelmed him. Me too, but I tried so hard not to let it show. I kept on encouraging him, telling him that he would be fine. At night I would sniffle into my pillow and pray.
Last week he took the much dreaded test: a bone scan. It would reveal if the pain he was suffering meant that the cancer had spread. It would mean the difference between life and death.
And so we waited...
How can I describe this week? I don't think I can. Balancing on the edge of a cliff just waiting for the news that would push me over. At work and at home I tried to put up a brave face. When no one was looking I would hide in the bathroom and just cry! If I was alone at my desk I would put my face down in between my arms and sob. Then drying off the tears and running down to my teenage students for another lesson. It was a week that lasted a month. My dad was without any hope and he was terrified. So was I.
Yesterday we got the results. The cancer had not spread. The doctor told him that he will be able to live with this for many years. Good years!
So the gift I was given was TIME. Time with my dad. And for that I'm eternally grateful.