Thursday, January 19, 2012

32 Years Ago Today


Thirty two years ago today, the world lost a man that I never knew. From what I’ve been told, he was smart, funny, ambitious, and very loveable. He was also my father. 

My Dad and I on my Christening Day (one of the very few pictures we have of us together)

He and my mother met when they were in college. He was the man of her dreams and they married in 1977 shortly after graduating. In 1978, they welcomed my brother in to the family. They bought a house and I was born in November 1979. Just two short months later in 1980, he passed away.  He was taken by Melanoma Skin Cancer. He was a young, vibrant man who had a brand new family and his whole life in front of him and it was all taken away. They found out he was sick while my mother was pregnant with me. She had told me that it was a good thing that I was conceived when I was because if they had waited just a couple of months they would have known he was sick and never had me (thank God for timing). During the year that he was diagnosed he underwent surgery and chemotherapy. When I was born my father couldn’t be there because he was in a different hospital trying to fight for his own life. That day, he asked my Uncle to save an “It’s A Girl” cigar and smoke it the day that I married since he knew he would never be there to see it. 

My brother, me, and my Mom on my wedding day ("It's a Girl" cigar in hand)





Honestly, I find it hard to see a silver lining in this story. My mother ended up raising my brother and I as a single mom even while her own health began to decline for unrelated reasons. Before I reached the age of 30, I had lost both of my parents. Although it may not be a silver lining, the lesson I takeaway is to do everything in my power to prevent this from happening to my family and my children. My father was living in a time when the dangers of the sun were not well known. That is not the case now. I see the dermatologist every six months, I regularly check my body for any changes, and I tell anyone who will listen that they should do the same. I harass my brother to make sure he sees the doctor. I offer up my opinion about family member’s moles that are revealed by tank tops at summer barbeques.  I know, I’m a lot of fun! People joke all the time about how they are just going to “fry” at the beach or how they don’t care if they get cancer because they love the sun. Well you know what, it’s not really a joke. People get skin cancer. People die. So my public service announcement today, in honor of my father is to ask everyone to think about their body, their skin, wear sunscreen, and see a doctor if you’re not sure about anything. It could make all the difference in the world.

15 comments:

  1. I lost my father young as well, though I did know him. It's hard for a girl to not have her father there on her wedding day. Good for you for making sure it doesn't happen to others...not only is it wise, but it must also provide a sense of empowerment.

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  2. Wow. You are a miracle baby. I am with you all the eat on this one. I've had my share of moles removed and I always lather up. So very important.

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  3. Wow. You are a miracle baby. I am with you all the eat on this one. I've had my share of moles removed and I always lather up. So very important.

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  4. This is a horrible story, but with an EXTREMELY important message. Melanoma is the cancer with the fastest growing incidence today and tends to affect much younger people than other cancers!! The days of sun worshiping need to end. Thanks for posting this!

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  5. I hope the next time you come to visit Bob and Bethany we can meet.

    My husband's father died when Tony was 9 of Melanoma, then his mother died last year. I am so sorry you never knew your dad, or your father-in-law.

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  6. I'm with you on this one. You need to see the doctor when something looks funny. You're story brought tears to my eyes and I feel for you. I'm very sorry that you lost both of your parents. Thank you for the message as it reminds even some of the ones that worry that we should take better care of ourselves and not wait until it's too late.

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  7. What a touching story. I'm sure your father was a great man. I'm glad that you have found the lessons hidden and pass them on. Just stopping by and following you from the Finding New Friends Hop. Would love a visit and follow back: http://blog.writerslairbooks.com. :)

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  8. Thank you for sharing this and reminding everyone of the importance of sun protection and visiting your dermatologist!

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  9. Hi Diane- remember me? Reena? I just got to know that you have a blog and am reading them at 10pm after the kids are in bed and I just cannot stop reading! You write soooo well! I wish I had know this when I knew you in person (you know what I mean-like when saw each other occasionally at Mom's club outings). You are a very gifted writer. Think of compiling this into a book maybe. I have tears in my eyes after reading this particular one! NEVER EVER stop writing Diane!
    Best wishes,
    Reena

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    1. Hi Reana! Thanks so much for your kind words. I just started writing in November and have been having a blast with it. I'm so glad you are enjoying it. Take care!

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  10. You were definitely meant to be! It is always so sad when someone passes away young... luckily he was able to leave behind some great people to remember him.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your father's story. My father passed away 11 years ago, also from melanoma, so I, unfortunately, share your sadness and your concern for sun protection. You are good to encourage your family and friends to get checked regularly by a dermatologist -- being proactive can make all the difference.

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  13. I am the same way! My stepfather is currently battling Stage IV melanoma, and I am so vigilant with my family and others. I too encourage everyone to get a yearly check. It is impossible to see every inch of your skin! I'm so sorry you lost your father to this horrible disease. :-(

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