I just never knew that those lessons my Father had been teaching me would end abruptly before my 20th birthday. This is when my world, my only world, was ripped from under me. I was in University for all of 3 weeks, my parents had just been posted back to Ottawa after 3 years of Caracas, Venezuela. My Father was diagnosed with throat cancer. His phone call to me that night, was my dramatic turn downwards. It was the last time I would hear his voice, ever. Shortly after that phone call, he began the horrid cancer treatments. When I came home at Thanksgiving, I knew in my heart, he would not make it through this, and frankly, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through either. I tried to keep it together, I went back to school, but I was a shell of a person, if I made it to class, I would sit and doodle. My insomnia became so bad, I spent night after night wishing for sleep, and nothing, I would lie awake, my mind spiralling out of control.
When the end of the year came, I traveled back home, and became my Father’s nurse. While everyone else was getting jobs, working and having fun. I spent my days, giving my Father morphine through a feeding tube, feeding him through a feeding tube, helping him out of bed when he needed to use the washroom. Every morning, I woke up more gutted than the last.
The hospital bed moved into the living room, my Father could no longer get out of bed without one of us helping him. He had a feeding tube, which we hooked up to a machine. I carefully gave him morphine every 4 hours through that feeding tube. One eye had been sewn shut, and tumors had begun oozing and growing on one side of his neck. My lovely father, who I never thought looked scary, began to look like Frankenstein to the outside world. It was a whirlwind. When he was sick, I felt like I had purpose, I had no time to feel depressed or feel sorry for myself. I just wanted to spend any amount of time with my Father.
The moment he took his last breath, I realized, my past and my present were completely different. I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted in life. My dreams of working for the UN were long gone. I simply just wanted to get through a day without feeling like my heart wouldn’t hurt anymore.
I went back to school, and promptly failed out. I was a complete mess.
Losing a parent at an early age is absolutely earth shattering. The years of anger and resentment built up into an implosion, a self implosion.