So it’s been a while. I’ve wanted to write but every time I’ve come across a blank page, my mind just seems to clear and all the mess tangled in becomes hard to comprehend. I want to say I’ve been busy. In an essence I have been. Not with work or study but with life and the troubles it launches straight to your heart. The past couple of days have narrowed down those feelings and played them like a slideshow in my mind. All the fears I’ve suppressed have been realised and now, things are going to change.
In the past I’ve written about my Father being diagnosed with IPF. A fibrosis that forms in the lungs creating scar tissue, slowly suffocating the beholder. No cure. Barely a treatment. Cause unknown. Prognosis is death, but on what time frame no one has an idea. Earlier this year he contracted influenza and whilst we were hoping the past two months would just be recovery, it appears it is more the case of the disease having progressed quite severely. He’s now immobile and only able to stand for short periods of time, can barely eat and has lost a tremendous amount of weight and catching his breath is something that is non existent. He’s in some pain but we’re hoping new medications provided by his Hospice team will make things more comfortable.
The outlook at present is bleak and it’s becoming rapidly clear that my Father is looking to become one of the three year statistics. If you were to google IPF or Idipathic Pulmonay Fibrosis, one of the main headlines thrown at you is that fifty percent of those diagnosed will die within three years of diagnosis. Whilst we don’t know if it will be weeks or months, it is unlikely that he at least won’t make it until the end of the year. As you can imagine he’s suffering, in pain and most of all fed up. To hear him speak the words that he’s had enough and just wants to let go is painful, but he’s been brave enough. Now it’s time for my courage to take place and to give him everything possible in the little time he has left.
For the past year or so I’ve mostly been acting as my Father’s carer and within the past few months my role has increased threefold. I have limited time to concentrate on my studies and on odd days when my Mother is around can I go do shifts in a local cafe to earn a bit of money and to have my own sense of relief. However, it has become clear with a heavy heart that I’m juggling too many balls, spinning too many plates and right now something has got to give. My Father of course takes precedence, even more so now and my job, well I need it for various reasons and money being the most obvious. Therefore I’ve approached my University in hope of some form of study/compassionate leave in hope to complete in future.
That in itself brings a huge weight of guilt as my main research piece was actually interviewing people with the same illness as my Father in hope to bring support to a wider community. But in recent weeks it has become too difficult speaking to people who have the illness but in comparison to my Father are somewhat fit, healthy and hold quite a bit of independence. It’s a bitter pill to chew to remain professional and I can only imagine it getting worse in the weeks and months to come. I hope, that someday I will finish this work. But for now I’m just not strong enough, and what little strength I have has to be focused on my Father.
I won’t exactly be going MIA. I’m going to spend the time with my Father. Reading, doing puzzles, playing games, watching films, taking him a ride out in the car and all sorts. It’s not as if I plan to be mourning by a bed. He is still very much here right now and there are things both he and the family wish to do. I am blessed and honored that I get to be so close to him and whilst it’s difficult and heart wrenching, there are memories created that will hopefully get me through the inexplicable grief I will feel when he does pass on.
In essence it’s a hard truth to learn. We live. We die. Many of us have the good fortune of going through life mostly unscathed and spending time with our loved ones well into our elderly life. But unfortunately some of us are dealt the hand early, and we lose our precious ones far too soon and have to find a way in which to live on in their memory and manage without their physical presence available. I’m not exclusive. There are many who go down this same torturous path. And right now there are many wonderful people who are providing support to me and my family.
Remember to smile, remember to cry. Remember to love and remember to live. The future is now, don’t make regrets and don’t assume that you’ll have years in which to find happiness. Time passes by quicker than we could ever imagine and from someone who is learning that the hard way, I beg of you, don’t waste the precious time you have gifted to you right now.
With love and light.