This month is Father's Day and it's also the 3 year anniversary of my dad's passing. I remember it like it was yesterday. One minute he was so healthy and active, then suddenly he was diagnosed with brain cancer. One year later he was gone.
He fought and fought and finally cancer took over but he was not one to go down without a fight. It was a battle and I wanted to be there for him. I'm an only child and I tried really hard to balance being there for him, my son, my friends and still grow my business. It was a whirlwind. Somehow I managed, but sometimes probably not the most successfully. I had to be brave for him and me. It was one of the most difficult times in my life. He was angry cancer was happening to him and there wasn't anything I could do to fix it or make it better.
He was my dad and he was leaving me. He was extremely smart, an inventor, who had many patents. He was an amazing Pop-Pop to my son. They were two peas in a pod. I still remember working in my home office and hearing laughter for hours outside my office door.
I wondered how I could handle his death. I mean I nearly had a breakdown when he decided to have brain surgery. They took him into surgery early and I was stuck in traffic. I promised him I would be there before he went in. They called me as I was nearing the hospital and said they were sorry but they couldn't wait...they were bringing him in. I sped up to the front of the hospital and jumped out of my car and ran. I got to the right floor and they said he was already back in surgery and no one was allowed in.
That's when the breakdown happened. I mean full out hyperventilating. Hysterical. A nurse happened to be walking by me and looked concerned, as anyone would be. He asked me if I needed help and I explained the situation.
He whispered, "Wait here."
He made a phone call to someone in surgery who just happened to be a good friend of his. In my hysterics, it was hard to make out what they were discussing but he hung up and softly said, "Follow me."
He took my hand and we went through a door. He and another guy dressed me in scrubs in a closet while I tried to calm down. I had no idea what was happening. The mask was the final piece to my "costume." They opened the door and told me to walk with them and walk fast with my head down.
The next thing I knew we came up to double doors and we went in. There was my dad. His surgeon and others all looked stunned. They were just giving him anesthesia and he turned his head towards the door. I saw fear in his face. I quickly pulled my mask down and said, "Dad it's me!" Tears rolled softly down his cheek.
"I made it," I said. "I told you I would be here."
He squeezed my hand and then abruptly I was told I needed to leave right away. The nurse walked me out and helped me get out of the scrubs. I found out he could have lost his job because of what he did. I hugged him. He was my angel. I met many angels on the journey with my dad. He came out of surgery and recovered extremely well but more tumors grew shortly thereafter.
While it was a journey of anger, emotions, tears, fear and sadness...my dad and I connected like we never had before in the end. He gave me many gifts throughout my life but the gift, in the end, that was most special and the one I'll never forget was when he told me, "I'm so proud of you." I hear it now over and over and it continues to give me the strength to persevere and fly!