My Musings

Cancer ramblings about my Father

(What follows has nothing to do with books, though it does have a poem I wrote and yes, I know it’s a book review blog but it’s also for my random sarcastic musings and while this isn’t sarcastic, I wanted to write it).

When my Dad passed away from cancer in December 2009, it was hard to deal with, we had a strained relationship at times but I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone, it was lung cancer, he smoked so it was his own fault but still, it’s a horrible disease, because he smoked and was old the doctor’s weren’t bothered about him. When finally diagnosed he had T4 stage small cell carcinoma that had started to spread to other organs, T4 small cell is near enough a death sentence when it’s diagnosed, he was given 6 months maximum, that would have been with chemotherapy. He was old and had gotten frail, he wouldn’t quit smoking, we all knew that, after being diagnosed, he was sent home at the weekend without any medication, we went to the clinic in the week, as he wouldn’t stop smoking, chemo wasn’t going to work and with him being so frail it would kill him straight out, he wasn’t strong enough, the best we could do was have him at home. That didn’t work out well as two weeks later he started losing his mind, he’d get up in the middle of the night and would think he was back at work in the 1980’s, care decided it was best and he was a liability to himself and a danger to others to put him in a nursing home.

An old guy I know, used to see him walking his dog lost his wife to cancer, hearing him talk about it was heartbreaking, she had to be on morphine constantly and was kept to bed, fading so slowly over many weeks and even though it had been a few years before it still tore him up, when talking about it he’d tear up and get so emotional, thinking back I’d say that when his wife died a little piece of him did to.

My Mum had a strained relationship with my Dad to, they were together but alot of hassle had gone on in the family, the best way I can describe them is, they needed each other even if at times they didn’t like one another, to quote lyrics from the classic U2 song ‘I can’t live, with or without you’ and that sums up my parents feeling for each other. But I digress, I can deal with my pain and demons but what I didn’t want was for my Mum to go through what the old guy did, it would have broken her and near the end my Dad didn’t even know who she or I were, we were just ‘people’. I’m not a firm believer in God, along with being sarcastic I can also curse and be blasphemous with the best of them! But I thought if anyone was going to suffer that it would be my father as to put it bluntly alot of the time he was a selfish bastard, yes, he suffered with the cancer, it’s a horrible way to go, but I saw it dragging on and felt that I’d have to watch him fade away and my mother fall apart, however that wasn’t really to happen. Two days after Mum’s birthday, Dad died on the 2nd of December, the carers got him up at the home, he had a last cigarette, went back to bed and then passed peacefully to sleep. After the horror that is cancer, it was such a peaceful end, it surprised us all, but it was a nice way to go, just drifting off to a peaceful sleep, it also stopped us all having to suffer through the pain of watching him fade and hurt and stopped my Mum falling apart.

I had a strained relationship with him, as I wrote earlier, but no matter what I felt for him, all the words and anger I never got to express, at the end I found it didn’t matter and that I could just let go off it, a part of me thought if God has allowed him to pass away peacefully and that he’d suffered enough then maybe he wasn’t as bad as I had thought and that I should remember him just for being my father, a flawed man but my father all the same and hey, most of us are flawed in some way!

For his funeral, I wrote a poem, it was posted on the back of the funeral program and read by the vicar, no, I didn’t read it myself I’m shy and don’t like public speaking, so I wouldn’t have been able to do it justice but I did purge myself with the written word. What follows is that poem:

The Departed:

On a window sill,

a candle once burned,

now the light has faded and your flames gone out,

father time has closed your eyes,

as these words form the final page,

the love we hold for you,

is never passing,

the memories we have of you,


both the good and the bad,

in the black hole of our minds,

where sacred thoughts are kept,

and as the wind echoes,

and the sun will set,

we will cry for you,

remembering words left unsaid,

and as the rain falls,

the sky will weep,

we know your gone,

but we won’t forget,

wrapped in the barbed arms of sorrow,

to the dearly departed,

a piece of you will remain,

forever in our hearts.

10 thoughts on “Cancer ramblings about my Father

  1. I’m surprised you shared so much about your parents, but I’m glad you did. Now I see why you told me to read this because I understand so much more about what you were trying to say in your e-mail. My cousin had a very strained relationship with my uncle that made it hard for him to deal. My uncle found out a year before he died that he had stage four esophageal cancer, but he was so set in his ways he refused to do the things the doctors wanted him to do, and because of it, his last year was miserable. He died right before Christmas last year. I dread the holidays each year because in our family it’s the death reminder of not just my uncle but also my grandfather. Both of my parents were smokers until they were diagnosed with heart disease. They finally stopped after all my years of yelling, but sometimes it’s just too late. This poem is really great, Drew. I’m glad you shared this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really moving post and the poem is, like all your poems, really heartfelt. I’m really sorry for your loss losing a parent is awful and I wouldn’t wish that pain on anybody.

    Liked by 1 person

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