Friday, January 18, 2013

Until Death Do Us Part

Tomorrow marks the 33rd anniversary of my father’s passing. It’s always easy for me to remember how many years it has been since it’s always how old I am at the time. He passed away just two months after I was born.

I always felt a little sorry for myself – growing up without a dad. Nowadays, a lot of children don’t have fathers in their lives but way back then most people had a mom and a dad. I felt like I was missing out on “dad” stuff. I imagined how awesome my dad was and how we would be living the most cool life ever if only he was alive. As a parent now, I realize it wasn’t me that anyone (including myself) should have ever felt bad for – it was my dad and mom.

I can’t imagine having a pregnant wife and learning that I had Melanoma Skin Cancer. I can’t imagine battling through chemo and surgery during a time when I should be happily painting a nursery. I can’t imagine missing the birth of my child because I was in the hospital fighting for life. I can’t imagine knowing that I would miss my child’s first words, first steps, and every step after that. I can’t imagine knowing that I would be leaving behind my beloved wife with a two year old and a two month old to take care of on her own. It is all simply unimaginable yet it’s what he had to deal with.

As for my mother, I can’t imagine caring for a toddler, carrying a baby inside of me, and watching my husband die. I can’t imagine the sorrow and the fright of not knowing what my future holds. I can’t imagine knowing my husband would never walk through the door again. I can’t imagine knowing that I had to do it all on my own. I can’t imagine not getting my happily ever after.

The whole situation was really just horrible. It’s only now as an adult (and parent) that I truly recognize how remarkable they both were. I only wish they were here for me to tell them.

A note my father wrote to my mother in college. She saved it and then passed it along to me.


  1. Ginny sent this my way - I feel lucky I got to read it. Thank you for sharing such a personal and beautiful story :) Thinking of you today!

    - Janet

  2. This is beautiful - thank you for sharing, particularly on such a tough day. Your mom must have been one incredibly strong and brave woman.

  3. Your mom must be a really amazing woman - you're lucky to have her :)

    1. Thanks, she was an amazing woman. Sadly, she passed away almost 4 years ago now. I totally wasn't dealt a good hand with the healthy parents cards!

  4. I know, too, about your husband's family. My husband's dad died of skin cancer as well, when Tony was 9. They were Americans living in Germany with no other family and a vindictive ex-wife. My MIL moved home with her mom and lived a couple of places before settling here. When Tony was in his early 20s (out of college and working, but not with me yet) she looked at him one day and said, "We did it." Knowing her I would have never had a doubt, but I don't know how any widow(er) or abandoned parent does it. Now she, like your mother, is gone too.

    I am glad you write about them. I know you and T will keep them and your FIL alive for your children.

  5. Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear about Tony's family's struggles. Writing about my parents helps me to remember them.

  6. Big hugs Diane! Love this post. It is absolutely unthinkable for that to have happened to your dad at such a young age and what your mom had to endure! Looking at how you turned out, they were both pretty damn amazing! xoxo

  7. I am so sorry for all that was lost with your dad's death. I don't know how your mom did it (and did it well based on how her daughter turned out). You've given me even greater cause to rally behind our local 5K Melanoma Awareness Fundraiser (one inspired by a local mom of 4 young children who lost her battle last year).

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. I lost my father at the end of last year and my parents where just a year shy of their 40th anniversary when he passed. Can't imagine how tough it would have been for her if we weren't all grown.


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