I met Kaitlin around September while teaching Sunday School at our Church. She is a delight to be around and has been through some hard things. This is a difficult card to be dealt in life, but Kaitlin has optimism and is more concerned for her sisters. No matter the religion you are, keep them in your prayers!
Here is her Unknown Story:
I can remember thinking, “Here we go again.” I realize that this is a horrible thought of course, but when dealing with my family, you get used to having at least one medical catastrophe per year. But then the call came from my brother. The news he gave me was bad, it was about the head of my family, the cheerful person, who I called Daddy. He was sick. He had cancer.
I didn’t know what to think. I hung up the phone and just sat on my bed in silence. Cancer. My ears were ringing. The word bobbed around in my head like there was nothing else in there. I could hear the echoes of my dad’s voice in my mind saying “Well it’s about time, I told you I wouldn’t be around too long.” Ever since my early teens I could remember him making comments about his medical problems, and the probability of his passing early. It angered me but I knew he was probably right. I knew how sad he must have to be to say things like that to me. But I still desperately wanted him to be wrong.
My father has suffered from many diseases since he was young. But that never stopped him from supporting a family of 7, even if that meant working 3 jobs and donating plasma twice a week on the side. I remember working one of those many jobs with him when I was younger. We were janitors at 3 huge furniture facilities. My 2 older siblings and I would all help him for hours through the night. And my favorite part was when we got to take a break at one of the buildings; we would get a sandwich and watch a couple of minutes of CSI. I was young, and I hated cleaning, as do most teens. But this will be one of the many memories I treasure of my father. It is something I look back on and laugh at. My father has quite the knack for making people smile. And although he was trying to teach us a lesson in hard work, we still got some fun and laughs out of it.
A couple of days ago I went to my parent’s home to have lunch with them and was surprised to ﬁnd an empty house. Later that night I was informed that my dad had been admitted to the ER that Tuesday morning with an infection in his blood. His tumor had doubled in size within the last two weeks, after it had already spread from his bile ducts, to liver, to his lymph nodes. He was denied surgery as well as being a candidate for the transplant list. He was terminal. And there was nothing they could do. And now he had a very severe case of sepsis.
It’s Wednesday. My brother calls again.
My father is in the ICU, and “Most likely will not make it through the night. Please pray for him. He loves you.” That night I lay with my phone in my right hand, inches from my head, volume on HIGH. And I woke up in the same exact position. As I got the update that he had outlasted the infection, the doctors slowly gave the okay for visitors that afternoon. I got my butt to that hospital as soon as I could and visited with him for hours. I soon heard of the way each family member took the news the night before. To give you some background, I am the middle of 5 children. At 21 years old, I feel like I am far to young to lose a parent. He will never see me get married. He will never see my kids. I had to drop out of high school due to my own medical problems. Are you seeing the catastrophe pattern of our family here yet? Now I’m ﬁnally able to go to college this fall! And he will never get to see me graduate. Yet I still have 2 little sisters, ages only 13 and 15, with a mostly bedridden mother whom also suffers from many diseases. I don’t understand how to go through this at my age, and then I think of my sisters. I don’t know how to begin to help them. And that just makes it worse. But as I found out, I realized that everyone else slept with their phones all night as well, except my 15-year-old sister. She didn’t sleep. My little sisters have always been the closest with my dad. And apparently my sister was up all night, and so distraught the next morning that she couldn’t go to school. I don’t know how to help her, and it KILLS me. My older siblings have their spouses to lean on. But I feel so alone, and I know my little sisters must feel even worse with the bond they have with my dad.
Once he was released from the hospital we had a family dinner and my dad played a game with all my siblings and I. He sat next to me, and I swear, I just stared at him the whole time. One of his diseases makes his skin very dark. But his skin and eyes have now been yellow since thanksgiving due to his liver going sour, when he got sick. He used to be a big man, but now his face is sunken in. His eyes droop. He holds his hand over his stomach from the constant pain of his surgeries and scars. He talks very softly, in hushed tones, and gets tired very easily. He is suffering. But he still makes the effort to be with us. And I couldn’t help but think about all the amazing things I will miss so dearly once he leaves us. I will probably never again see his famous impression of the Hammer dance. And man, it was good. Can’t touch this? You betcha you can’t. 😉 I won’t get to chuckle under my breath when I hear the way he pronounces the word Reeces, or many other words for that matter (one of his many quirks he is known for in this family). There will be no more joking about IF we get pajamas for Christmas Eve or not every year. My father is the type of man who works hard for everything he has. And he never likes us to expect to receive anything, on any occasion. We were taught to work hard.
No matter how much time we have left with him, it will be treasured. I do not want him to suffer. I can’t bear it. He has been sick for almost his whole life. And I know that his passing will bring us great pain, but I hope to ﬁnd peace by knowing that he will no longer be suffering. He is the greatest man I know. I hope to ﬁnd one that can measure up to him someday. He’s my Daddy, and he will always be with me, no matter what.