Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We All Have Dads!

How did I get back to my home town, a place I vowed never to return to, a town that beat down every little naturally gay gesture to the point that I make conscious decisions about how I act in public, how my hands move, how soft my voice is yet with the same breath I am so thankful for the man I have become large part because I grew up in the small town of Springs, South Africa. Is it a mining town or a farmers town? Are we an English town or Afrikaans? We stand confused on a scarcely busy Nigel Road that is decked out with Palm trees from town to Northern Suburbs and wonder what is this place?

It was a boiling hot day in Cape Town when I got the call... "Juanne, your dad has stage four cancer". My mind went blank while trying to soak up the information that my dad has been showing symptoms of an illness for two years and only now they diagnose him with cancer... and just for anyone out there that knew as little as I did, Stage 4 is like really really bad. The cancer is in ones blood stream at this point and it is slowly spreading to the rest of the body.

So I packed my car and drove the 1400km back home. The chemo left my dad weak so I came home to help him run his business and just add some moral support. It was late Autumn so the garden was looking good still. We have this small court yard at the entrance of our home where my dad had actually built his own Koi pond from scratch. I decided to get my green fingers to work. My train of thought was if maybe I get stuff to grow around a feature in the garden that has life maybe it will just give my dad the extra mental boost he needs to want to live or at least fight to live.

It was a matter of days before I rushed him to the hospital and as he sat in the back seat extremely hesitant to get out of the car I caught a look in his eyes I have never seen before, of fear. He looked up at me as if he knew this is going to be the last time he gets out of this car. My heart cracked down the middle like frost splitting cold, hard rock in two. I had to encourage my dad to get out the car and go into the hospital when all I wanted to do was race him to the sea. Sit with him and watch the sunrise over the Indian ocean one last time.

A few days later I went into hospital. I was down playing a stomach ache when suddenly it dawned on me it could be my appendix and it could end potentially fatal if I don't have it removed. While I was being tortured in the Springs Parkland Hospital my dad slipped away...

I immediately wanted to leave the hospital that very morning and as I stepped outside I felt the freezing cold air burn my face. It was the night of the black frost. Everything died. Every plant around the pond was dead, life seemed to stop. I was surrounded with death, a black, bitter and icy death.

I told him as often as I could that I loved him, way before The Big C! I spent as much time as I could with him but no matter how you spent the past when the future is no more the pain is the same. It takes its toll not only on the person with cancer but everyone around that person. One thing, its a fighter and you HAVE TO FUCKING FIGHT BACK!


Leanne Rees said...

*sigh* i swallowed back some heavy tears. You'd be proud. I think of him whenever i wear my clown pants :)

Johnny Red Pants said...

A very touching and thoughtful post - gave me goosebumps reading it. It also made me reflect on a similar experience I had (with my mum) a few years ago. I hope you're okay. Words fail at a time like this, so I hope what I'm saying doesn't sound empty or twee.

Great blog. Beautifully written.

SteveA said...

Sad and sorry about your dad and the pain. This is indeed a beautiful and heart felt post.

Dave and Llew said...

Hey Juanne, sorry to hear about your loss man, and glad that you could share your thoughts with us. Thinking about you.


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