It's always been hard to feel close to my Dad. I think this is a problem for many fathers and children. Dads are encouraged to be emotionally distant, and it's left to Moms to try to allow emotional expressiveness in the family.
I've noticed a change in my relationship with my father, though, as his illness has progressed. These days, we have daily phone conversations, and I see him once or twice a week. Our relationship has become freer, happier, unforced. Dad's wonderful sense of humor has emerged recently as he once again stares down death. I know that he waits for my call every day, and it is definitely an important moment in his day. Recently, I was telling him how busy I've been at work. He said, "I've been quite busy myself today, napping!"
His future, like everyone's, is uncertain. He got a good report from his cancer doctor last week. Good, in that the chemo appears to be working. But bad, that the cancer is very much still a threat and only the chemo will keep it at bay. Bad, given Dad's pale and weakened condition. Bad, that he isn't strong enough at this point for a stem cell transplant, the only road to remission, and perhaps never will be.
Hearing a good report really perked him up and motivated him to do more walking than he's been doing in quite a while. Life! It is possible, again, within his reach.
Dad's started to dream of traveling again! He's showing interest in things like reading via a Kindle app and buying an iPad.
I love my Dad. Having the chance to speak to him every day, and knowing how important it is to both of us -- it is a gift.
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