There are lots of quirks about my dad that I love, and a few that irritate me to no end. Right now, he’s being irritating. My dad has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was actually diagnosed seven years ago and given a very grim prognosis. It’s nothing short of a miracle that he is still alive and enjoying (for the most part) such a high quality of life. But things have been getting harder in recent months and he’s doing his thing again.
See, when my dad has good news to report he will call every week and we’ll have a nice chat. He tells me about his classes (did I mention that he decided to go to grad school for anthropology since he was so bored at home?) and I tell him about my kids and that’s it. Nothing terribly exciting but at least I know he’s okay. When things start to go sour, he stops calling. He stops answering his phone. He stops returning messages. That’s when I know to start to worry – which is the exact opposite of what he’s trying to make me do. The thing is, I know that when he stops talking it means that the news isn’t good anymore. He doesn’t want me to worry about him but keeping me in the dark is not helpful. In fact, it only makes me worry more. The thing is, I know it can’t be TOO serious, because then I’d get a call from my step-mom. There have been a few times when she has called me – and my dad has told her explicitly not to call – to tell me that he has been hospitalized (the worst time, he’d been in the hospital for a week before she called).
I just hate being at their mercy for information. I want to know what’s going on with my dad’s health. I don’t want to sit, waiting for that phone call that will come someday telling me to get on a plane so I can say goodbye. I’ve gotten that call out of the blue once before and it was not okay. Even though I think living far away is better for our relationship, it really sucks for being in the loop. I can’t just drop by for a surprise visit to make sure he’s alive. I have to wait for them to tell me. I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be kept updated. I just want to know – good or bad. It’s the not knowing that is the worst.