Coll Writes

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642 Things to Write About Challenge: Week 12

Written By: Colleen - Mar• 22•13

Let’s just cut to the chase this week.

Describe the most recent moment when you couldn’t think of anything to say.  Were you having a hard time making conversation, or were you simply dumbfounded?

On Thursday, March 14, I got a phone call from my dad.  I had been nervously waiting for this phone call for about a half hour and had spent the proceeding two hours whispering to myself, “It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay.  No matter what happens, it’s going to be okay.”

My cell phone rang and I shut the door to my office.  It was time to find out the results of my grandpa’s latest CAT scan.

“They found that some of the cells grew slightly…but there’s now spots on his [a different organ].”

This is the point in which I burst into tears.

“His [new organ with cancer] is still otherwise healthy and functional.  These are the same cells that were found [where his cancer originated] and traveled to his lungs.  It’s obviously aggressive.”

I couldn’t speak, so I just kept crying.

“They’re going to start [his current round of] chemo now.  I have to go.  I know this isn’t the news any of us were hoping for.”

I was devastated, dumbfounded, and almost threw up.  I sat in my office with the door closed for several minutes and just cried.  I couldn’t think or speak to anyone for several hours.  In fact, I haven’t spoken about it to anyone outside of my immediate family and Jay until right now.  It’s still not something I’m ready to converse with people about.

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  1. Jeff in Texas says:

    First off, sorry to hear about your Grandfather, Colleen. We’re dealing with similar stuff with my mother-in-law. She just had surgery to remove a tumor she had and when she recovers from that, she’ll be starting 6 months of chemo since they found some of the cancer in her lymph nodes. All this is right on the heels of her husband, my father-in-law, passing away last August.

    I’m working on my own answer to this topic but it’s taking me a while to put it into words…which is kind of ironic actually.

  2. carol says:

    Just wanted to say I am sorry. 🙁 I know you love him so much and he is a huge part of your life. It must have taken some courage to write that entry. You’ve got a lot of people that care about you. Cancer just plain sucks. I hate it.

  3. Jeff in Texas says:

    This was actually a very easy one for me. It was when I got a call around 4:15pm on December 5th from my brother telling me that our father had collapsed at his computer desk at home and the ambulance was taking him to the hospital at that very moment. My brother told me that my father’s heart had stopped a couple of times but the EMT’s had been able to bring him back. At that point, I wasn’t too concerned. I figured if the EMT’s were able to bring him back, then he’d be fine. I sent a quick e-mail, or maybe it was a text, to my wife letting her know what was going on. Then, 45 minutes later I got the call that changed everything. It was from my mom’s cell phone but she wasn’t the one on the other line. It was their close friend Mike. As soon as I heard his voice on the other end, I knew it wasn’t good news. I don’t actually know if he told me specifically that my dad was gone or if I just knew it. I couldn’t really say much after that other than tell him to tell my mom that we loved her and would talk to her soon. I pretty much ran out of my office, telling my boss on the way out that I wouldn’t be back the rest of the week because my dad had just passed away. I got in my car and called my wife and told her about my dad. Then drove home…trying to figure out how to tell my daughter that she had just lost her other grandfather. THAT was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. When she got home (my wife had wisely had my mother in law take her to her house for a few minutes), I just called her to me, held her and told her that her grandpa was gone. That was all I remember saying and then we both cried for quite a while.
    There’s actually a second time, regarding this same event, where I had trouble talking. That same night I had trouble sleeping. Living 8 hours away, I wasn’t able to be there with my mom. Fortunately my brother and his family were close by so I knew they were with her. And we had decided that it’d be best to wait until they had decided when the service was going to be before we made the trip there. Even so, I felt bad not being able to be there. That’s probably part of why I couldn’t sleep. I finally got up after a couple of hours and went out to my living room and started writing out some thoughts about my dad on my iPad. I didn’t know what I’d do with those thoughts, but I just needed to write them down. The next day as my mom and brother were working on the memorial service arrangements, my brother called and asked if I wanted to speak at the service. I’m not a fan of public speaking but I realized that’s why I had been writing down these thoughts and memories of my dad, so I told him yes. Fast forward to the service…we had decided I would speak first. I joked that it was because I was the older son and also I wanted to go before my brother who writes for a living! When I got up to the pulpit and turned around to see all the people who were there to honor my dad, I broke down. It felt like an eternity, but I think it was only a few minutes as I stood up there crying in front of all these people, some I knew and some I didn’t, before I managed to regain my composure and read what I had written.

    Okay…so this comment ended up being longer than your actual post…sorry about that 🙂

    • Colleen says:

      Jeff, thank you for sharing that. I am so sorry for the loss of your father. Don’t worry about the length or about it being depressing. I am really moved that you shared it with me and you can come on here any time you need to write about it and talk.

  4. Jeff in Texas says:

    By the way…sorry if my comment above is depressing. It really was the first thing that came to mind. And considering how much I wrote, that is probably a sign that I need to sit down and write more about it.

  5. Kari says:

    Colleen, I am so sorry to read this. You, your grandfather and family will be in my prayers.

  6. Lynn says:

    I feel like any response I could write to the prompt would be trite. I just want to say that I too know the feeling of something being too painful to even verbalize. You’re in my prayers as always.

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