For those of you interested, here is a recap of how my dad is doing.
At Christmas my dad was up and around, sitting with us in the living room, talking and opening presents. He walked with tentative steps, as little as he could, but he walked. He fed himself, but took few bites, because he just wasn't that hungry. He spoke, despite being a little subdued. I felt very hopeful that a physical therapist might have success getting him up and mobile. By the time one was working with him, remaining in bed was most comfortable.
There have been a lot of changes since Christmas. Now he spends his days in bed, switches positions with the help of my brother, is fed by my mom. His speech is more slurry, as though he's had a stroke. He's not in pain. His sleep is fitful, but he rests. He knows us all.
After spending time with him last weekend, I was uplifted, despite these changes. Glimmers of his personality were evident in his hums and jokes. He called me Teetsie and Teeda and asked, "Are you here caring about your daddy?" We took turns popping into his space. At his bedside we would rub his arm and yell into his good year, and he would open one eye and then the other and focus on us and listen. There were conversations where his words weren't the right words, or his comments needed decoding. Then we had conversations where the things he said were right on, indicating a complete understanding on his part.
Each of us lingered in his doorway at some point, checking his form for the rise and fall of breath, like a parent does even with perfectly healthy kids.
Our family is strong, and we spend our time together talking a lot about what we're going through, sometimes crying sometimes laughing. Sometimes, usually in bed at night or when a sad song comes on the radio, the grief presents itself, powerful and surprising and I have to face it and feel it, let it shake my shoulders.
I am facing the fact that brain cancer is in charge here, and brain cancer is going to decide how this all plays out. That is one of the hardest things, not knowing what cancer has up its' evil sleeve.
Above, is my dad pictured with Julia as a baby, and here he sits with Avery