Something different and personal for you all today, if you don’t want to read it as it’s not book related then that’s cool and likewise, if you choose to unfollow my blog then that’s cool too.
December 2nd, 2009, 9 years ago today. The day my dad succumbed to cancer and passed away.
At times it really doesn’t feel like 9 years have passed since I lost my father. Over trivial matters, time can often seem to go by so slowly but for the important events in your life that leave both memories and scars years go by in the blink of an eye.
9 years is a long time, 2009, a bad year, a year in which I struggled with life, a year which left me with scars, a year in which I got fucked with, a year which broke me and a year which taught me that if you expect nothing from someone then they can’t disappoint you whereas if you expect something often you’ll find yourself hurt and disappointed.
My father wasn’t a good man, he wasn’t a good father either or a husband to my mother. But in hindsight, he wasn’t that bad, sure, he was a selfish bastard who thought of himself before others and hurt those he shouldn’t have (I don’t mean me, I’m not conceited and I’m a big boy, I could deal with my father when he was alive and I can deal with the shit life throws at me and cunts now, I mean my mother, she has put up with more shit than anyone should ever have to deal with). Sometimes death can open your eyes though and while your overall opinion on someone won’t change (a cunt is still a cunt and don’t give me any bullshit about talking ill of the dead, death doesn’t turn people into Saint’s) you can look back and see them in a different life. It’s easier to see both the good times and the bad as often those good times get lost in the maelstrom when there’s bad being heaped after bad after bad but when the person is dead there’s nothing new to be added, their story is done, it’s all just history and you can look at it with open eyes.
I’m under no illusions about my father but I’m glad that I can look back and remember him as my father and not just feel anger, hate and hurt.
Sadly, my father died from cancer, a lifetime of smoking finally caught up with and killed him. You could say that he killed himself as sure as if he committed suicide it just took him a lifetime to do it. Before anyone decides to chimes off about me mentioning suicide, I have scars, I’ve wanted to end it all, read some of the poetry on the blog it’s not just words it’s fucking real so don’t you dare take offence to me including it in this post, I’ve been there, I’m allowed to mention it.
My father was an alcoholic too, drink, drink, drink, he’d even hide whiskey bottles so he had got a drink easy to hand – yeah, how stereotypical, an alcoholic hiding booze!😂 Alcohol and cigarettes two vices and addictions (if you’d seen my father at the end it’d put you off smoking forever).
My father had been to the doctors a few times before he was finally sent for testing, surprisingly! Part of me thinks that he didn’t go to the appointments that he made, he probably went to the pub instead but I don’t know, it’s conjecture on my part as it seems funny that it wasn’t picked up earlier.
I could also imagine The Simpsons episode where Homer has the crayon in his brain and even though he’s had so many brain scans it’s never been seen due to Dr Hibbert’s thumb always being in the way. Only it was test after test then finally ‘sorry, you have cancer‘.
My father after finally being diagnosed was never given a chance, it was too late for anything to be done and his diagnosis was quite simply a death sentence. Which is one of the confusing things over how it was missed as it had gone through various stages and had already spread to other organs before it was actually diagnosed.
We’d been told he’d got lung cancer but not how bad, the poor old guy was kicked out of the hospital on a Saturday afternoon with no pain medication because he’d been diagnosed and they needed the bed! Yep, the NHS at it’s best, oh look, the old guy is old, has cancer because he smokes who gives a shit let’s send him home because some illegal probably needed the bed. You can’t send someone with cancer home without any pain medication, which they did because the hospital pharmacy was closed for the day.
A few days later we went back to the hospital to learn how bad it was. Looking back, I don’t think he even understood (the cancer had spread to his brain) he accepted that he had cancer but I don’t think he was able to comprehend what that meant. He had the worst possible type of lung cancer (t4 stage small cell carcinoma that had spread) t4 meant that it had already spread through t1 – t3 and small cell is the rarer and harder to treat type, it was as advanced as it could get. Chemo wasn’t an option, he could have had it but with how weak he was and how advanced the cancer was there was a chance that the first time he had chemo he’d die (he was that weak) and even if it was successful it would only give him a couple of extra months on top of his 4 month life expectancy as it was.
He’d have needed to give up the cigarettes for chemo and that was something he was unable to do, the addiction was that bad and they were the only thing that gave him any solace near the end. So the choice was made to decline chemo as it wouldn’t have helped.
Things got bad, certain days he’d be OK and other days he didn’t know who he was and it quickly got to the stage where he couldn’t be trusted on his own, he’d think it was years ago, he was lost in memories of a different time and he was a danger to himself (I remember he was outside smoking and the next minute he’d got up to some nonsense and cracked his head open). He went into a nursing home, it was the only feasible option to look after him and keep him ‘safe‘ as even if we could look after him 24/7 he was a liability to himself and others.
He was well cared for in the home and as much as places like that can be it was a nice place and the people who worked there were decent (my old man had the gift of the gab and women loved his patter, even if he couldn’t remember who he was he still charmed them, sadly, I lack the gift of the gab with women and they just run away from me when I even get up the courage to talk to them).
It was peaceful for him in his last days. There are such horror stories about cancer sufferers and their final days but luckily my father was the opposite. At the end all he wanted to do was smoke and sleep, to the end the addiction had control but he’d already signed his own death warrant so why not if it’s the only thing that brought him some release. He didn’t recognise me or my mother by the end, it’s sad for my mum after they had spent so many years together but she did get to spend a final weekend and birthday (it was her birthday 3 days before) with him before he succumbed to cancer which gave her some peace of mind.
Three days after her birthday we got the phone call, or she did, I was at work, it was early in the morning and my father had passed away. I remember it was a weird feeling, I knew that it was going to happen but I didn’t expect it to be so soon and hadn’t planned for it. Planned is the wrong word but it’s the best one I’ve got as you all know I’m not good with words and suck at eloquence. With the time frame given I’d expected him to make it to the start of January before he finally started to deteriorate into death but it was a month sooner and I always look on the dark side (I’m a negative fucker which is one of the reasons I think my blog sucks because I struggle to see the good/positive in anything that I do) too so I had also expected bad things to take place first. You might ask what the dark side is and what could be darker and what bad things could be worse than knowing someone is going to die! Well, with cancer, bedridden on a morphine drip slipping away slowly every day, each day a step closer to leaving this world and each day another day filled with more fucking pain and agony both for the sufferer and their family! That is what I’d expected to happen with my father, I’m not sure why, told you I’m negative but this surprisingly didn’t happen, sure he was on medication, sure he couldn’t remember who he was or who people were but he was just like any of the other old people in the nursing home and if you didn’t know he’d got terminal cancer you’d have just presumed that he was a frail ill old guy, which he was but multiplied. What I mean is, he didn’t end up back in hospital, he wasn’t on a drip or crying out in agony, he was taken out for an early morning cigarette (told you, the addiction was there to the end, he was like who you? Give me cigarette) as he’d woke up and asked for one, the carer brought him back to his room as he was tired and wanted to go back to bed and within a matter of minutes he’d drifted off to death, going peacefully in his sleep on the morning of December 2nd, 2009. I mean, c’mon, that’s a peaceful way to go and most would choose that, fading in your sleep and just not waking against any other sort of death.
I’m not religious but the fact that he died peacefully made me question whether or not he was as bad as I’d thought, sure he was a bastard but if he was that bad wouldn’t God have made him suffer and linger instead of giving him a peaceful departure? Maybe part of him did remember my mother and he knew it would break her to see him back in hospital lingering day after day and in the end he gave her the only thing left that he could. Maybe it was karma, he wasn’t given a chance to fight and survive due to the late diagnosis so that was balanced with a peaceful end. Maybe he’d paid his dues and suffered enough. Or maybe it was just happenstance and luck that let him drift off.
I actually had an OK relationship with my father, we even got on well at times. He was just a different type of person to me and was very selfish. The world revolved around him (or at least his alcohol and smoking) and some of the things that he did couldn’t be forgiven either. I know that while there were issues and I pretty much guarantee that if he was still around today then there would still be issues that even with all the shit that went on there was still some good times mixed in with the bad, he wasn’t as bad as some, he was my father and at times I do miss him.
I actually wrote a poem when he died that was read out (not by me as I lack the skills to orate) at the funeral by the vicar and was included on the back of the order of service. It was called The Departed and is:
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.
Cancer took my grandfather as well, not my father’s father, I never knew him, he’d passed away before I was even a thought. No, my mother’s father died of cancer in 2012. I’m not going to say that we had the best relationship, that would be a lie as we didn’t. We got on well enough and I liked my grandfather especially his no-nonsense and gruff attitude to things but he was a hard person to talk with and to relate to which wasn’t really his fault as he had issues. Many years ago (the late 60’s/early 70’s) he suffered a terrible accident that resulted in brain damage he was in the hospital for months and then had months of rehabilitation too. He had to learn to eat, read, write, walk and speak all over again and come later life some of those things caused issues, not surprising really but it meant his brain didn’t work well, he couldn’t remember anything from before the accident only vague recollections and life was hard for him but he was a decent fella who was dealt a tragic hand with his accident.
Sadly, cancer got him too and he did linger in hospital, cruel really as after learning to live again and getting another 45 years (approximately) out of life if anyone deserved a peaceful end it was him.
I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts that one of the reasons why I started this blog on March 5th, 2016 was to give me both something to do and something to focus on after my dog died. Yep, she had fucking cancer too.
I got Sully (my dog) from a rescue centre not long after my previous Labrador passed away. I knew straight away that I wanted another dog and when I saw Sully (changed her name to that, Monsters Inc character and Godsmack’s lead singers name, it was also close enough to her original name that she easily recognised it) a young Border Collie who had been mistreated (don’t mistreat dogs or pets in general if you do you aren’t even a cunt, no, you are the lowest of the fucking low and absolute vile filth) and when I first met her in the centre she put her paws on my shoulders and we looked at each other and I just knew that she was the dog for me – yeah, it’s years ago and I still remember it and yeah, I know it ruins my bad boy of blogging image and shows me as a soft touch but fuck it, we all bleed the same! 🙂
I guess everyone says that their pet is the best be it a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, bird or snake, it’s the pet owners prerogative. So you’ll excuse me my little indulgence as I say that Sully was the best dog ever.
Pets aren’t just ‘animals‘ they transcend that, they are part of the family, friends and they sure as hell aren’t like humans, they give you their love unconditionally and don’t expect anything in return whereas humans will often take, take and take and never give anything back. Pets don’t, they are always there for you when you need them and they give you so much and in return, you look after and care for them.
Sully never really had any ailments, she was a well dog, apart from her annual visits for her boosters and health check she was never at the vets (probably once or twice for very minor complaints) but she was healthy. Even in her grand old age, she was still a well dog, full of life and vibrancy.
Age gets everyone, such is life and inevitably everything will end and everyone will die. Sully took ill at the beginning of February, one night she was laying down and started having a fit. Called the vet out or as she should have been called the bitch! She checked her over, said it was a fit, probably some arthritis and that ‘she is old‘ but bring her up in the morning and they’ll sort some arthritis medication out. Technically there was nothing wrong with what she said, it was simply her whole demeanour, attitude and rough treatment of my precious dog. It’s still imprinted in my mind near 2 years later (I remember nonsense, can’t remember important stuff but trivial shit, sure my brain remembers it) as I recall the veterinary assistant staring at her in shock and then apologising after the vet had gone back to her car as the vet had commented and said that old dogs die and that was the cost of the call out charge worth it, seriously, who gives a fuck about money, bitch got paid, with her attitude I doubt bitch ever got laid, probably why she is a vet, looked a bit like a heifer and probably used a horse to get her fix!
Suffice to say, I didn’t take my dog to that vets, hell, look at the shit I write on my blog and trust me, I say worse in real-life (I lack a filter, if it amuses me when I say it) and I thought her attitude was atrocious and just downright rude. Changed vets, lovely people, got some arthritis medication to see how Sully went as she was weak on her back, whether or not it was from the fit, old age or it was arthritis the medication would help and she’d have either stayed on it or she’d have had an x-ray to see what was wrong. That appointment was booked for 2 weeks later, we never made it.
Things went well for a week or so, the medication seemed to be working and Sully seemed more like her old self then she deteriorated and had another fit, this one worse than the time before, far worse. Rushed her to the vets she was given oxygen, blood tests, etc and it all came back fine, nothing untoward but she never recovered.
Took her home, put her on the sofa and hoped for the best that it was just another fit and that she’d hopefully improve but lady luck wasn’t smiling on us. She made it through the night then started coughing up black bits (black bits are bad and black bits means disease) and she wouldn’t/couldn’t move, eat or drink. The tests hadn’t shown anything and the vets didn’t understand so, back to the vets we went, another set of blood tests and again they came back fine which only left a scan to show what was wrong (it was obvious there was only one thing that it could be, fucking cancer but we needed to be sure) and it showed tumours, lots of tumours that had spread. My poor dog, that gave me so much, that fucking saved me had fucking cancer just like my father, smoking causes lung cancer, my father gave himself cancer after a lifetime of addiction, my dog didn’t give herself cancer and sure as hell didn’t deserve it. She was the best of us and deserved to die peacefully in her sleep not injected on a cold vets table in the evening of February 19th 2016 as her owner tries his best not to curse out the world he hates using his vast array of colourful and unique swear words as his heart is torn to pieces as he watches the light fade from her eyes.
How long had my dog had cancer? How long had she been suffering without ever showing it? I don’t know, the vets didn’t know either, there was no way of knowing. The type of cancer she had (liver) is insidious and goes undetected as blood tests come back with nothing wrong and there are no symptoms until it’s advanced, one minute the dog is fine and the next cancer has taken over.
Fuck, it’s been well over two and a half years since I lost Sully, sometimes, just like with my father it seems ages ago and at other times it feels like it was only a couple days ago and yes, I still miss that dog, when she died a piece of me did too, she saved me, I couldn’t save her and I will always miss her!
If you got this far then thank you and you might well be asking yourself what the hell was the point of this post?! Well, it’s my blog and just because it’s a ‘book‘ blog it doesn’t mean that everything has to always be book related, the blogging police won’t come after me for writing and posting a post that is unrelated to books on my book blog and if they do then they can fuck right off. I was feeling rather maudlin and miserable and I wanted to write something down about my father as it’s the anniversary of his death only for me to go off rambling on tangents about my grandfather and dog and turn the post into some self-indulgent waffle (if I can’t use my blog as a place to occasionally post my own thoughts then what’s the point of having a blog).
To answer my question, the point of the post is simply this, the world is full of pain, cancer takes away things that we love, cancer is a bastard, fuck cancer!
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