My dad was a hardworking, intelligent man, who provided well for his family. He ate big meals, drank lots of beer and to me was invincible. Throughout 48 years of his life, he never broke a bone nor did he ever fall sick, until one day he was in an accident.
He fell two metres off a scaffolding sheet, landing on his back. At first we thought he would be fine but the fall triggered something poisonous within his body. Dad began eating small meals, drinking less and complaining about a pain in his stomach.
My life was turned upside in an instant when I discovered my dad was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer.
The strongest man I knew soon deteriorated into a frail, broken, old man. Within 14 months my dad’s body fought cancer, he endured 5 long months of chemotherapy, a major surgery on his bowel and was the test subject for a new Canadian drug.
I was 15 at the time when my dad passed away, I watched him take his final breath as I lay next to him in the palliative of care room.
I was the youngest of four children, my mother was a complete wreck, I helped her organise his funeral, the insurance papers and all the other documents. The pressure of having to support my mum and dealing with being the weird, depressed kid at school drove me insane.
I felt that I was forced to grow up immediately, to mature instantly and deal with everything like an adult. I was a young teenage girl, it was hard enough as it was but having to deal with loosing a parent seemed impossible. My body wanted to break down and do nothing but lie in bed and cry, while listening to his message bank on repeat.
I felt there were nowhere to turn, nowhere to run to, and no one to speak to, until I was introduced to my school guidance counsellor. A beautiful lady named Anna, she listened, held my hand and sometimes cried when we talked. She seemed like the only person in the world who knew what I was going through. She understood my pain and my broken heart. She helped me recover and deal with the loss. She introduced me to a scholarship for young adults who have experienced for themselves with cancer or an immediate family member. I wrote one of the best stories in my life and won a $500 scholarship from the Cancer Council.
Even though my life has had a major turn around, I still think of all the wonderful memories that my dad and I shared.
My family is broken. My family is forever incomplete. He was the leader, the head of the table, my teacher and my idol.
He is now my guardian angel and I am still his daddy’s little girl.