No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth…but close. I spent the last 11 days in Northern Lower Michigan….not exactly the technology mecca of the world. I would have posted that I was going to be gone, but I left town unexpectedly. I got a call last Wednesday morning saying that my father was sick and in the hospital. My dad and I were never close. In fact, we hadn’t talked in about four years before this last week. As a result, I had no idea how serious his illness was or whether or not I needed to go home to see him. After a lot of debate and anxiety, I finally decided to head home to check things out. Turns out, I’m really lucky that I did.
I got in around 3:30 am on Thursday morning and my dad was in really rough shape. By then, I had gathered a few more details regarding his condition. He had cancer, a lot of it. We waited at the hospital until 7:00 the next morning for a scheduled meeting with my dad’s doctor. That’s when he painted a very clear picture of the reality of his situation. My dad’s cancer had spread to his bones and it was far too advanced for treatment. The doctor told us he had only days or weeks to live and the only thing we could do was to make him comfortable. It was a harsh reality, but my brother and I made sure we did everything we could to make the end of his life as pleasant as possible. We all got a chance to say our good byes and tell him that we loved him. We also started to work with hospice right away to make sure he wasn’t in any pain. He died on Friday morning at 3:45 am, less than 48 hours after I found out he was sick. It was quick for us, but he had been slowly dying at home for several months. It was tough.
When some one close to you dies, a lot of things get shuffled around in your head. Before all of this happened, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted in life. I thought I knew where my priorities were, but it’s amazing the way death can change your perspective. That’s why I felt like I was playing 52 pick up all week. Like some one took all my nicely organized thoughts and ideas and did one of these….
At first, I wanted to scrap everything. I didn’t want to lift anymore, I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just felt…nothing. No desire, no motivation. But after a few days, you start to realize what’s really important. Death has an amazing way of making you evaluate the relationships in your life, and making you insanely appreciative of all the people that you care about. My mom and step-dad, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, my brother and his family, and especially my boyfriend. He held my hand through every step of the way, no matter how awkward, sad, or frustrating it was. And I needed it. It also helped me to realize that it’s important to put your all into everything that you do because you never know when it’s going to be your last chance. Last week was my last chance to see my dad, and I’m so glad I was there. I’m glad I was there for him, and I’m glad I was there to spend that time with my brother.
I don’t know when my next last chance will be (seriously, I hope this doesn’t sound like Jillian Michaels), but I want to make the most of it.
That goes for everything. I don’t want to miss opportunities or take things for granted in my relationships, my work, or the gym. I feel a whole new wave of motivation, and I’m going to milk it for everything I can. I started that process this week when I was lucky enough to reconnect with an old friend who let me horn in on his gym time. I was insanely grateful for the chance to challenge myself physically and set aside all the emotional stress. It was nice to just move and not have to think. I’m also looking forward to my workout tomorrow now that I’m back home and ready to go. My next meet is about 7 weeks away so I need to get it in gear.