A Father's Day Post

This is a post about a great dad. It’s not about my own dad or my children’s dad, though they are great dads, too. It’s about my father-in-law, a man we call “Pop.”

This is a picture of Miles at about 3 mos. old. The person making him laugh is Pop.

This is a picture of Riley at about the same age. The person making HIM laugh is Pop.

This tells you a lot about the kind of person Pop is. He loves his family and they love him. There’s one day in particular that stands out to me as a perfect example. It was the first time we visited my in-laws on Cape Cod with Miles. The same trip the above picture was taken, in fact.

I was in new-mom hell. Besides trying to breastfeed in a crowd of relatives and worrying about my son’s cries disturbing everyone, I was having a hard time accepting my new situation. What kind of vacation was it if I couldn’t do any of the things I liked to do, like go the beach, bike, kayak, or even just sleep late?

One day the 3 of us and my in-laws piled into the car for a day trip to a quaint little town. I dashed into a couple shops while someone kept an eye on the stroller out front. We changed diapers in the back of the car. I stressed through lunch that the baby would start wailing at any moment. On the drive home, I was exhausted and grumpy. My father-in-law, on the other hand, smiled and said, “What a great day.”

A few months ago, Pop was diagnosed with cancer. It came out of the blue, with no warning, and his was such a rare type it took several weeks and doctors all over the country to figure out what it was. It’s rare, it’s aggressive, it’s scary, it's unfair, and it sucks.

It sucks that such a healthy, happy, loving man could suddenly and inexplicably be stricken with an awful disease. It sucks that my MIL, my husband, and his siblings have been thrown into this awful situation where there are no real answers, just more questions. It sucks that my kids’ grandfather is in and out of the hospital, going through chemo, and losing his hair.

And it sucks that I have absolutely no idea what to do about it.

I struggle to comfort my husband. I offer up inadequate sympathy and meaningless platitudes. I dread having to explain Pop’s illness to my 4 y.o. son. I refuse to believe that Pop might die. I hate to talk about it to other people because nothing they say -- NOTHING -- will make it better.

But I feel like people should know. Especially today, on Father’s Day, I feel like people should know that there are dads and granddads out there like Pop. Men who have touched so many people and especially their own families. Men who have shown by example what it means to be a great dad. Men whose idea of a perfect day is a simple, nothing-special day with their loved ones.

Because that’s the kind of guy Pop is.


SMT said...

My grandpa got lung cancer when I was 3 years old. It's not rare but his was aggressive. He has since dealt with skin cancer and bladder cancer. The bladder cancer has come back 3 times but he continues to fight. I'm now twenty years old. He has one lung and is undergoing treatments for the bladder cancer but he continues to love his family and is living life to the fullest. Continue to think positively miracles happen every day.

CoffeeJitters (Judy Haley) said...

cancer is such a scary, awful disease. I hope you can find ways to really relish and enjoy all the time you get to spend with him.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear. We just lost my FIL to cancer in August. I feel your same emotions on how to comfort my husband, how to explain it all to my son. With time there is healing for everyone.

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I'm so sorry that "Pop" and your family are having to deal with this. Cancer sucks. It makes no sense at all. It doesn't matter whether a person is old or young, a smoker or a non-smoker, etc...it has no rhyme or reason. There are so many who beat it though - and it sounds like he has a fighter's spirit and tons of support.

I love the pictures of the boys smiling at their "Pop". I hope there will be many more of those to come.

Mom2Miles said...

Thanks, all. Contrary to what I said, it actually DOES help to hear these things from other people who can relate. He's doing remarkably well so far, so we'll just keep hoping & praying.

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