Thursday, November 17, 2011

How I Delt With The Loss Of My Father

The fact that my father lived to celebrate my mother's birthday on February 9th and mine on the 11th was the best gift that I have ever gotten for my birthday. On my birthday my father and I ate lobster together because it was both of our favorite food and was actually something that my dad was able to eat after what the surgery and cancer had done to his mouth. My dad passed away on Friday, February 13, 2009 around noon. This date is ironic because my younger brother, Christopher, was born on Friday, August 13. I bought a bracelet with a cancer ribbon on it from the hospital store where he passed away, and I still have it to this day. I also have 3 small stones that say hope, love, and strength on each which I carry in my backpack or purse for good luck. I was also given a necklace with a cross on it and a heart with my father's initials and the date of his birth and death that I still wear on occasion. I love wearing things that remind me of him because it makes me feel close to him, almost like he is still here in a way. I wear a lot of his t-shirts to sleep for the same reason. During my freshman year of college I got a tattoo of the converse symbol on my ankle because the only shoes that my father would ever wear for his whole life was converse sneakers. Whenever I see the converse symbol I smile because he is the first thing that comes to my mind. Now all I have to do is look at my ankle and smile whenever I want to. I have a picture of my father and I in France when I was an infant that I hung right next to my bed so that I can look at it and think about him each night before I go to bed. These are all ways that I keep my father's memory and spirit alive in my life. I truly believe that my father is my guardian angel now and is constantly watching over me, doing whatever he can to keep me out of trouble. He will always be my hero.
Right after my dad passed away my life seemed serial. I was not able to accept the fact that he was actually gone for a while. My grades started to slip because I was loosing all focus in school; all I could think about was my dad. I would often get angry and very emotional so my mom thought it was best that I tried going to counseling. This helped at first because my therapist gave me advice about how I can keep my father close to me even though he is not physically here. It was good to have someone to vent to but she didn't really have much advice for me because it is hard to know how someone is feeling unless you have been in their situation. The hardest time for me after my father passed away was my junior year prom. One of my favorite colors is green and I had the most perfect green dress to wear that night. My sister's best friend curled my hair and I felt beautiful, but something was missing. I cried for a half hour before my prom and ruined my make up because all I wanted was for my dad to see me in that dress. Moments like that are hard, and I am sure there will be more to come, but I have to cherish the good memories that I do have rather than dwell on the fact that I will not see him again for a long time. Rest in peace Daddy. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tomorrow Isn't Promised to Anyone

   Although the main purpose of my blog is to explain how cancer has affected my life and my family, I also want to write and inform others about experiences outside of my father's battle with cancer that have made me realize that I need to live every day like it's my last. I was not planning on doing this at first, but a recent event that has changed my life and the lives of many of my friends has become a great example of how life is too short.

   Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Exactly one month ago, one of my friends from high school passed away. He was in my class from 7th grade until my senior year of high school, and he was definitely the kind of person that makes an impression on everyone that he met. He was so full of life and energy, and he always knew how to bring a smile to anyone's face. It is devastating to think that someone so full of life lost his life at such a young age. His name was Andrew, and he passed away from cardiac arrest.

   This has not only had in impact on my life, but also on the lives of many others including Andrew's family and friends. My younger brother knew him well and I can see how Andrew's death is affecting him in a positive way.  I think Andrew's death scared my brother because no one ever thinks about someone they know or care about passing away until they are given reason to. I have been noticing that my brother is trying to stay in contact with me more than ever, and the little brat actually tells me that he loves me now! I have also been reading what friends of Andrew's have written on his wall since he passed away, and it seems like his death has been almost like a reality check for the people closest to him. This tragic event has made a lot of people come to terms with the fact that they too will eventually pass away, and you never know when it may happen so you need to make the most of the life that you are given.

   I do not want my blog to appear to be a place where I am looking for pity; I am not writing about my experiences looking for people to feel bad at me. Instead, I want to share my experiences that have made me realize that I need to really try to make the most of my life because it is too short to be anything but happy. Everyone has their fair share or tough experiences or obstacles that they need to overcome in life. I am not the only one who has lost a parent, or anyone close to me for that matter. I want to leave my blog open for other people to share their experiences of losing someone close to them, whether the cause was cancer or not.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Father's Battle With Cancer

    My dad was the kind of person who hated going to the doctor's office, or any other check-up for that matter, and he was extremely stubborn, so it was nearly impossible to get him to do anything that he did not want to do. My dad took care of himself, but in his own way and on his own time. Little did he know, however, that for the last two years of his life he would spend the majority of his time in one the places that he hated the most- the hospital.
    During my freshmen year of high school I remember my father complaining about a tooth ache for months, but when we suggested that he go to the dentist to get it looked at, of course he refused. My sister, Danielle, and I finally got him to go, but we were completely unprepared for what the dentist was about to tell us. The painful tooth ache that my dad had been complaining about was actually oral cancer caused from smoking cigarettes.
    My sophomore and junior year of high school consisted of many trips to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, as well as the local hospital in my hometown, called Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC). At Mass. Eye and Ear, my father underwent surgery to remove the cancer from his mouth and to reconstruct his jaw using bone from his leg. He was cancer free for a few months, which is when he visited CMMC for radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the cancer came back, now in his lungs, and began spreading throughout his entire body. On February 13, 2009, four days after my mother's birthday and two days after mine, my dad passed away. He fought long and hard for his life, and for that I am so thankful and proud. My dad is, and will forever be my hero.
    I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that my dad went through, but I know that he is in a better place right now, watching over me and protecting me to this day. Experiencing my dad's battle with him, along with the rest of my family, has really opened my eyes and made me realize how precious life really is. Many people do not realize this and take many aspects of life for granted until they are faced with their own death or the death of a loved one. Everyone should live life to the absolute fullest, because life truly is too short to be anything but happy.

<a href="">John Richard DeFosse.</a>