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Daddy's Girl. My Story

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2 months ago I lost my dad after a 6 year battle of cancer. He was first diagnosed in the fall of 2008, my senior year of High School. At the time he was given 2 months to live even with extreme measures and treatments. My dad was always a fighter, and he fought hard right to the end. I remember the night I was told of his cancer, I was watching TV in the basement with my boyfriend (now husband) and my mom called me upstairs. I saw coming around the corner the fear in her bloodshot eyes and my dad was looking straight ahead white as a ghost. I was terrified. They told me the news and I immediately breaking down, a piece of me left that day, a piece I'll never get back.

As I went off to college that next year dad was in remission, still a bad prognosis just waiting for it to reoccur but for a few months I felt like I had my dad back! The cancer reoccured in full force meaning multiple surgeries over the next years full of chemotherapy, radiation, and extreme treatments that knocked dad down time and time again. His cancer journey was a roller coaster, he responded well to some therapies and then we waited for the next scan to show the cancer somewhere else.

In the spring of 2013 Cody (my now husband) proposed and with dad's failing health (once again) wed decided to get married just 3 short months after the proposal in hopes my dad would pull though and be able to celebrate the day with us, whatever that looked like. As the weeks got closer dad got sicker and sicker. Finally July 20th, 2013 my dad walked me down the aisle, took a million pictures, and danced our father daughter dance. I knew he was pushing himself but he insisted on missing nothing. As we celebrated our 2 year anniversary on Monday all I could think about was the joy that day brought my dad, looking back at pictures he was so happy, so proud.

The last 2 years since that point were filled with more ups and downs. It was exhausting for all of us, The emotional turmoil was so difficult holding on to every doctors opinion and comparing results with prognosis. In February of this year the cancer had spread to his spine and brain. We knew this was the end. With chemo nor radiation being an option dad admitted he was ready to be done. These words were so hard to hear but we had to agree, he had fought for so long and there was no more fight left in him, he was weak, tired, with nothing else to give. At this point they gave him 6-8 months left to live.

The first weekend in March Cody and I came home with the news we had been waiting for forever. We were expecting a baby in November. I was just 2 months pregnant meaning 7 months left. I prayed so hard that dad would be there to hold this baby. He was so excited and all he talked about was being a grandpa and rocking our baby. Even though I knew it was a long shot it brought him such joy it was so fun to talk with him about it, hiding the tears ad fear!

May 3rd, he went to his eternal home, My mom, 3 siblings, my husband and sister in law all sat around his bedside for over 20 hours as he continued to breathe without reason. The doctor had said he wouldn't make it though the night and we are sure dad heard him and had to prove him wrong, As the sun came up and shone the most beautiful sight through his hospital window he took his last breath at 7:50am.

The last 2 months have been excruciatingly hard. Watching my mom grieve, trying to enjoy the life growing and moving inside of me, something I wish more than anything I could share with my dad. I am thankful for a great support system of family and friends and my husband who holds me on the bad days and celebrates with me on the good days.

I am currently taking a group counseling class for my Master's degree. I am obtaining a degree in School Counseling and part of our assignment is to participate in an online counseling group, I am excited to interact with other participants and get everything I can out of this experience personally as I know I need this support, as well as professionally as I participate as the client instead of the counselor.

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Hi MaryKay,

I'm so sorry for your loss of your Dad. I lost my mom in 2010, my father in law in 2009, my mother in law in 2012 and my youngest child, Matthew, at the age of 14 this year in January. All had cancer except for Matthew. He died from suicide. We've also lost a brother in law, a first cousin, and my last 2 living grandparents in the last 5 years. We seem to be in constant grief patterns at home. Some up times, some down, on a constant roller coaster ride day to day. I dreaded getting older, knowing that I'd be wearing black a lot more often as each year passed. But I'm not even 50 yet and that dress is looking old.

My dad is the only one left of that generation in our family, and I thank God for him every day.

But thinking back to before Matthew died, when we were grieving our parents, I have to admit that it was easier than loosing Matthew. But it did prepare us emotionally somewhat, as we knew the steps to take for funerals, insurance, etc.. and we knew how to console our other children while masking our own grief when we needed to. Although I'm older than you, and I have kids your age, I want you to know that it will get easier with time. My mom was the most special person and losing her slowly over a 2 year battle was indeed the toughest thing for me(at the time). She said something to me I can share with you: "listen for her voice in the laughter of her grandkids." When your baby comes you'll remember this, and you'll hear your Dad's voice again. Nothing we can say here will be as comforting as your husband's embrace when you are sad, but I hope that you find some comfort here. Feel free to ask questions. I, for one, am willing to help you understand grief enough to feel comfortable helping the students you will be counseling in the future.

Take care,


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I too lost my dad when I was pregnant with my first child, he so wanted to see her, but it wasn't to be. I'm glad he was able to be at your wedding, and glad he got the news of his impending grandchild. My dad has been gone 33 years now, but I raised my kids to "know" their grandpa, I told them about him, how dazzled he would have been of my daughter's beautiful dimples and sunny personality, how proud of my son as he graduated valedictorian, served in the Air Force, then graduated summa cum laude with his mechanical, wiring, and computer engineering degrees with a perfect 4.0 and no help from anyone, and no debt! I like to think he does know and has been able to watch their special moments in life, just as your dad will.

Congratulations on your going for your doctorate, and I hope you glean as much from it as you put into it!

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