Pushing forward

As I glanced at the clock for the 5th time in 5 minutes I started to get nervous. They were more than an hour late. Many people had been called in (even ones that had been here way less time than me) and I was still sitting waiting. I looked back at my book and started reading the same page I’d been trying to get through for an hour. Something just felt off. I’d been having a strange feeling all morning.

When a voice finally called his name I looked up and instantly realized something was different. This wasn’t a nurse, it was a doctor, and he was leading me into a dark little room, not toward the recovery area where everyone else was taken. It was all I could do to follow him. Everything in me said I didn’t want to hear what he was going to tell me.

“Your dad has cancer.”

There are some things you just never expect to hear. My father is the most generous, loving, and thoughtful person I know. He is strength personified. And he takes care of everyone. EVERYONE. He didn’t deserve this. He of all people should get a free pass on something as horrible as having cancer. But that’s not the way cancer works. And apparently that’s not the way life works either.

After he delivered the news, the doctor went on to tell me that we had a big fight ahead of us. My dad would need lots of support. In my entire life my dad has never failed to be there for me when I needed him. NEVER. And I was scheduled to move almost 3000 miles away in less than 30 days. Everything was already in motion. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more helpless than I did in that moment…

With support and encouragement from my dad, and in spite of my greatest fears, we pressed forward with our plans to move to California. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made. As I accompanied my dad on appointment after appointment in the days leading up to the move, I probably changed my mind a hundred times. My need to take control and take care of him was overwhelming. But as he always has, my dad helped me come to the right decision, even though it was the hardest one in the short term. He had people rallying around to support and be with him, and even though I was completely terrified I needed to take my family to California as scheduled. Changing my plans would not change the diagnosis.

And I guess that’s the lesson I want to share in all of this. That sometimes you have to do the thing that scares you. You have to follow your heart, even when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. You have to push forward, even when you feel like your feet are cemented to the ground. And through it all you must believe that there is a silver lining in every situation, if only you choose to find it…

I got a card in the mail from my dad the other day and I wanted to share a few of his words that perfectly sum this all up:

Now, your next chapter of life starts, as does mine. I look forward to completing this treatment and coming to visit your new digs during the winter. The glass is still half full. We’ll fill it some more soon.

If he can still see the glass as half full, then so can I. And surely if I can, you can, too. This crazy + unpredictable life is for living…so let’s get to it, shall we?

(my dad with my boys on his birthday this year <3)

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Tim King - December 15, 2011 - 4:44 pm

Wow, strong stuff Erin! I can’t imagine hearing how tough it is to hear those words - but it sounds like he’s a tough guy & has the right attitude, should kick this thing to the curb no problem.

Ashley Goodwin - December 15, 2011 - 5:34 pm

WOW. You made me cry. Seriously moving, hard to put out there, but this hit home. Your Dad is a strong man and you’re so right, “changing your plans wouldn’t change the diagnosis”. I feel the same way about my Mommalou, if SHE can power thru HEART SURGERY WEEEE can get through these tough life changes and be amazing.
Love you lots and lots. Call me whenever you need to cry or vent or hear a joke. I owe you one. ;)

Pattycake - December 15, 2011 - 6:44 pm

Love you, and Matt, and the picture.

Erin Oveis Brant Photography - December 15, 2011 - 7:37 pm

@Tim, he will absolutely kick it to the curb!
@Ashley, we definitely owe it to them to be amazing when they can be so strong!
@Pattycake, love you, too. XO!

christy cropper - December 15, 2011 - 9:18 pm

Amazing. Can’t even imagine what you have been through and continue to go through with this experience. I love that he has such a positive attitude. That will do more for beating cancer than any medical treatment, I’m sure. Still praying for him and for you. xoxo

ps- I LOVE that your dad says “digs”. He sounds like such a cool guy. I may have to quote him: “The glass is still half full. We’ll fill it some more soon.” Love it!

Life with Kaishon - December 15, 2011 - 10:49 pm

Oh my gosh. How very, very sad. I am praying for him right now.

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