This I Believe

Paula - Revere, Massachusetts
Entered on April 27, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, illness

This I believe, that the fear of death isn’t always so. I have just recently learned this, somewhat to my amazement. My Dad is being treated for CLL. which is chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He has been so accepting of his diagnosis and treatment and it makes me crazy.

I couldn’t understand why he didn’t get angry when his latest CT scan indicated that he needed two more rounds of chemotherapy because there were spots on his right lung. “Why” I wanted to shout at him through the phone, “Why don’t you just ask your doctor what this means? Don’t you want to fight for your life?” Instead, I just say to him “Oh, I am sure it will be fine.” Just repeating back to him what he says, and truly believes, about his situation.

I couldn’t understand. Having dealt with a serious cancer experience myself, I still feel some rage inside of me. I want to scream sometimes, because I know that I am still angry that this happened to me years ago. I feel as if cancer has profoundly altered my life and not positively as some cancer survivors profess. The life I have now isn’t the one I was supposed to have – the cancer free one that I was destined for. I want that life. The life I could have had had I not had cancer. I grieve for that lost life. Yet, my father assures me that he is dealing with his treatment well and if possible, another few more years would be great. Why does he say this??!! Why isn’t he angry??!! Why doesn’t he realize what he is loosing…what could be, what should be??!!

I don’t understand so I ask my mother. Though my parents are divorced, I knew my mother would have some insight to my father’s reaction. She would know. She would see that my father’s attitude was “wrong” After all, she had divorced him many years ago; she understood his attitude about things; she would certainly take my side. Her words took me by surprise. “Paula” she said, “When you get to be our age its okay. We’ve had long lives and fortunately good ones; there is nothing much else for us. Though it’s hard and you don’t want to see people you love die, you have to remember its okay with us, it is for most people our age. You’re still young with many years to go and a son to raise. We don’t have those years ahead.”

I’ve spent some considerable time thinking about this. I know she is right. I now understand that just because I fought for my life, my battle and victory are not diminished because my father chooses to act differently. His battles are his own choosing. I feel admiration for my father. I am proud of him and how he is facing the future at the end.