It's been just over a month now since my father passed away. He left us peacefully in his sleep at the age of 72, after a tough battle with MDS... and this is my first time trying to write about the experience, or my feelings, or I'm not really sure at this point, so I will type on in hopes of something making sense in the following lines.
But first, let's start with a fun pic taken at my 40th birthday party... Dad always knew how to show up for the big occasions that's for sure... thanks Pops, that smile and charm will always live on in everyone's memory.
It's a strange feeling to know he is gone. Not just gone away on holidays or traveling, but gone gone. I'm doing okay with the whole process, because I had a lot of time with Dad during his struggles with MDS, during my life in general and luckily during the last few days of his life, but it just feels plain weird to know I can't just pick up the phone to hear his voice. We all know this is a part of everyone's journey, the death part that is, but his leaving at the young age of 72 is the sad part to me. With my son now being 2 years old, he won't get to know his Papa and Dad won't get to see Roro grow up to be an amazing person. They did get to have a major imprint on each other during the past 2 years though, with Dad staying with us on his journey though the medical system and if there is a silver lining, it's that their time together was so concentrated that Dad will always live on in Rhodes' memory... with a little help from me of course.
I miss this guy. Always up for a party, always making bad jokes and always loving life even at the end. We had such an amazing time together during his last precious days, laughing on the porch, sharing knowing looks, just being in each others company like we had a million times before... but this time we both knew it was different. See Dad had a plan and he played it like a perfect game of dominoes. I had a job on a movie that he told me to take instead of coming down to see him when I was booked to, then once I had arrived he got out of his bed (where he had been for days) and back onto the porch. We listened, we talked and we partied the way through those last life changing days together and then he decided it was time. He went back to bed and proceeded to let go. He gave me those perfect moments together on the porch to carry with me forever and I love him even more for that, if that's even possible.
I did write a eulogy for Dad at his services and I won't try to repeat it here, as it's such a momentary experience that's hard to describe, but I do want to honour him by sharing this news of his passing with anyone who chooses to read the public blog. I do want everyone to know that, if you have the chance to spend quality time with your closest loved ones, don't hesitate, as it's too important to pass up. As we all grow older and hopefully a little wiser, having these final moments with Dad are pure gold and I will always carry on his life lessons and honour his smiling legacy.
Below is one of my favourite pictures of him. He sits amongst a crowd of people, where he always felt at home being the social animal he was, simply enjoying a fun time with his family and always wearing the most ridiculous Canadian themed t-shirts!
Love ya Pops
So MDS. What is it exactly?
It's basically a disease that stops the bone marrow in his tracks and halts the creation of the life giving red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Dad had it for aprox 4 years and if this blog helps anyone else out there, I truly believe his condition was in response to his brachytherapy he chose to fight the beginning of prostate cancer. The therapy worked for the prostate, but it's in my belief and others I have read about, that the potent radiation set off a chain reaction in his body resulting in the MDS. (Please contact me if you need any more help in your search for answers of how MDS possibility came about in your life.)