Probably the worst of my first 31 birthdays was five years ago, when I had duty in the shipyard and Memphis lost shore power. No. 32 easily surpasses that as memorable for all the wrong reasons.
I was woken up that morning one month ago to the news that my father had been taken to the emergency room after falling as he arrived at work. The tests revealed something on his brain. Dad went under the knife to remove it two days later; it was later revealed to be a malignant tumor. He spent two weeks in the hospital, when he was discharged to an inpatient rehab facility, where he has been ever since.
He has had some trouble coming to grips with the enormity of what happened. Every time I went to visit him, whether in the hospital or in rehab, he communicated an unyielding desire to leave. Everyone on our family expected that would happen eventually. We expected that there would be chemo, and that he would make a recovery.
Those expectations were turned on their head last Wednesday. The doctor told Mom that there the surgery didn't get all the tumors. They're in both sides of his brain. It wouldn't even be worth it to do chemo. They'll try to make him as comfortable as possible, but it's only a matter of time before he passes, a couple of months at most.
I'm doing pretty well with it, all things considered. Bad things happen to good people. Cells can mutate in ways that aren't necessarily possible to predict or prevent. I don't need to spend time asking myself why God would allow something like this to happen, because I believe it more likely than not that there isn't a "big guy upstairs." The biggest question that I had to wrestle with was, how does this, or should this, affect the big changes going on in my life? Did I need to ask Cooper Tire for more time? At the time Dad first went into the hospital, with the thought that he would still have a good bit of time left, the answer was "no." After last Wednesday, however, I had to ask mom that question directly. She advised me to go ahead and start as planned on Monday, and so I will, although I did advise Cooper of the situation.
I'll post something soon about the move and with some pictures of the new apartment. Until then, as far as Dad's condition is concerned, the thing to do is to stay positive and focus on doing the best I can with the things I am able to control.