I wrote this post on Fathers’ day, June 16. It is in that narrative that it is referenced. In addition to that, July 22nd would be my father’s 81st birthday. This is the first year he isn’t here to call on his birthday.
Today was the very first Fathers’ Day I have lived through without my father being here to call or spend the day with to show love and appreciation for being my dad.
As a matter of fact, the last time I spoke to my father was June 17, 2018, which was Fathers’ day last year. I have many mixed feelings as a sit here and write this. While the last few years of his life was spent estranged from his family, I knew my dad loved me very much. He never had an issue telling or showing me that he loved me. He was very generous to me financially and even though he would sometimes have a mental meltdown, I can’t remember a time where when I had a financial crisis he didn’t help.
However, there was a completely other side to my dad with his behavior towards my sisters, brother and mother. My dad also changed a lot toward me after I had cancer. He was different with me than he was most others, but that didn’t stop me from seeing the inconsistencies about his behavior. But enough about my dad.
Cancer treatment took the ability to have children away from me at age 17. Radiation permanently destroyed certain things that I hoped they wouldn’t. Being 17, I did not have a choice in whether or not I wanted radiation. I was very hesitant and didn’t want to go through it. The potential for long term side effects were always much more obvious to me from radiation than chemotherapy.
Despite my objections, my doctors were 100 percent certain unless I stayed on the protocol they designed to eliminate Rhabdomyosarcoma from my body AND prevent it from returning, I had to complete every scheduled radiation treatment.
When I got married, my then wife wanted kids. Even though before and during treatment I held onto the hope that I could have children, my attitude always was if God wanted us to have kids, it would naturally happen.
The final result wound up devastating my ex-wife and is something that I handled very poorly. As my life went on, I didn’t want to be a dad because of the amount of health issues I dealt with on a daily basis. I was very selfish and deceitful in so many areas and that is a hard thing to live with some days.
Despite never asking for the permanent issues I suffered from, its important that you clearly communicate your thoughts. Don’t allow any possibility for misunderstandings. Even though my attitude toward parenthood changed the more I experienced the side effects of Crohn’s disease and Lymphedema, I only thought of myself.
In many ways I am oversimplifying a very complex issue, but the details are way too involved.. The bottom line is I allowed my side effects to avoid important issues that needed to be addressed. Its not easy to live with regrets, so I offer my experience to others as an example. Don’t allow your pain to affect someone else’s dream. You can’t give someone back years of their life.
For the others that are married and one of you can’t have kids, that is a hard thing to deal with. While the one who doesn’t have the problems might understand, they are still allowed to experience pain and mourning.
While its not easy for me to live with the damage I see and deal with everyday, others should not have to suffer just because I did. However, that does not make you any less of a person. It does not diminish your worth. For many years I thought it did and that is how I handled things. When you do that you disrespect yourself, your partner and the God that made you.
if you hurt someone very bad because you only saw your own pain and didn’t realize the value you still had, ask for forgiveness and move on. We all have to live with the consequences of our actions however and although that price often comes with guilt and shame, God still loves us. When we repent, we are given full forgiveness of our sins because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Just because I know this, does not mean I practice it. Many days I still suffer from intense feelings of guilt and shame.
My heart goes out to all the fathers that cancer took away or never were because of this disease. On a personal note, I miss my dad very much. He was not perfect, but I am thankful God gave me a father who I know loved me.
NEXT BLOG POST - July 25, 2019