Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)
TITLE: Daddy’s Last Wish
By Annette Agnello
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I realize this is a strange way to start an article about fathers, but it will always be extremely vivid in my mind. He had cancer; he had waited too late to go for treatment. He got the cancer removed and the doctor said he couldnâ€™t get it all. That bought Dad seven years. Years to go fishing, go hunting, plant and harvest his garden, years to talk to his friends.
Time to have mother go through a stroke and end up in a nursing home. Two years to drive an hour away each day to visit a beloved wife of over 50 years. He would quite often make a day of those drives; swinging by the lake he had loved so to fish at. Or going to see the donkeys a person had near their home. Time to do a lot of reading, after his death the local library told me he had read more books from there than anyone else in the town.
Then the cancer came back. He stopped taking the boat to the lake alone, and going fishing by himself. For a while I would go with him a couple of times a month so he could go fishing. I could see why he liked it. On a boat out on the lake it is quiet you see the scenery, hear the water lapping against the boat. It was very calming; dad would have two of three lines in the water to fish. Iâ€™d have one line and a book or two, a pen and paper and stories and poems to write.
The garden got smaller until it was a pot of tomatoes, instead of three long rows of tomatoes. The corn the raccoons kept trying to steel was gone, no more green beans, or squash, or anything. But we still had tomatoes, and there was a lot still in the freezer from his very own garden of previous years.
We stayed in the house he had built forty years before. He would still slip in the basement and come back with something he had made. I still have four pieces of furniture he built I will never part with.
As I said before the cancer came back after seven years. This time in the bones, you can remove the prostrate cancer but not the ribs. There was nothing more to do surgically dad was offered chemo, but had long ago decided against that route. He accepted medication to keep him going as long as possible, but was getting worse. Each day there was a little less he could still do.
The last week he no longer was going to see mom, indeed he didnâ€™t leave the house for anything except doctors appointments. Thursday he went to the doctor who had done the original surgery. They weighed him at a scant 140 pounds; he had weighed around 180 at his prime. I was trying to get him up the steps to get inside, and in spite of his vastly reduced weight could only do so much. When we got to the top I was loosing hold, his height was still a problem somehow he ended up on his knees on the porch. I got a chair over to him and he managed to get into it with difficulty and from there inside.
Tuesday he had an appointment with an oncologist. They weighed him as well in six days he had lost fourteen pounds. He was suffering; just sitting up was nearly beyond his abilities. If he would have permitted it he would have been in the hospital but he wanted to be at home. He wanted to die at home. So we went home, and managed to get in without much incident this time he would never leave again. He only had three more days.
He died early Sunday morning I think now I saw the moment he died, I didnâ€™t realize it until later. I desperately called for the rescue squad; it was already to late all they could do was pronounce him dead. Daddy got what he wanted he died at home.
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