Friday, September 24, 2010

Family comes first

Over-commitment gets interesting when I suddenly leave town for the fourth time in a little over three years. I'd give it all up to get rid of my dad's cancer. It's the only thing wrong with him.

My mom called me Saturday because she had to call a non-emergency ambulance for my dad. He couldn't stand up, which meant he couldn't get out of the house for treatment. When my mom called me to tell me about it, she was obviously having a very hard time with it. She couldn't even choke out that she wanted me to come home, but I knew she did. I packed a few changes of clothes and whatever else I thought I might need or want, washed any dirty dishes that might grow, and drove north.

My dad is not doing well. The doctors say he has weeks left at the most.

My mom and I are sharing primary care of him as part of home hospice care, which is more than a full-time job for each of us. We are glad we got to bring him home. Now family can visit whenever they want, Mom and I have more support, and we have better food. He is also more comfortable and receives closer attention. I know this is the best place for him.

I cannot fulfill my copyediting duties because I can only do them in the newsroom. I may be able to write for the university engineering and science magazine. I can work on research and news bureau stuff from here, too. However, I have no idea when I can fit it in between all my other responsibilities right now.

I'd like to keep up with my commitments, but family is priority right now. My adviser said to focus on family, that everything else is extraneous. I intend to follow that advice. Most of my time here I watch after Mom or Dad. Most of the leftovers I make sure legal and financial affairs are in order for my parents and for me or call friends for support and a break.

I am glad I have a big family so we can help each other through this hard time. They are invaluable in my Dad's care. We could not have brought him home without their help. Aunts and uncles help third shift, more aunts and uncles help first shift, and we have a full house second shift.

Even though this is a heartbreaking situation, I feel lucky for everything else in my life.


  1. I'm so sorry, but it's great that you have such an amazing support system. Just do what you can. Sending you and your family lots of positive thoughts and hugs.

  2. I am so sorry. It seems like an impossible thing to deal with any time but especially in grad school. I'm glad your adviser is behind you and that you and your mom have the family support too. Take care. Be with your family-it's the most important thing. Warm thoughts to you and your family.

  3. Alyssa & biochembelle: Thank you

  4. I am so sorry to read this. Cancer really is terrible. Cherish your time with your family - everything else really is far less important.