There is a monuments dealer in Essex County NJ that is located on a street that I drive down every night on my way home from work. I have thought often about how great it is that there are people who own these types of businesses that will be there for you when you need them one day. On the other hand, I have often tried not to look at that same business when I drive home because I can’t bear the thought of losing one of my loved ones. I had no choice last week when I had to call them and pay for a headstone because my father is in the hospital and will not make it.
My dad and mom divorced when I was a baby in the 1970s. Back then, it was quite common for a judge to award custody to mothers. However, my mom wanted no part of that, and she gave up her custody of me to my father. He’s the one who has been there all of my life. Dad has been relatively healthy all of his life. It was rare to see him even catch a cold over the years. I always hoped that his good health would mean that dad would live to a really old age.
Dad didn’t want to tell me over the phone that he has cancer, so he called me and invited me to dinner. I’m ashamed to say that, at first, I felt more fear about losing him than I did about what he was going to go through with trying to fight the disease. But soon after, I did all that I could for dad to take him to all of his doctor appointments, stay with him when he needed me at home, and more. This past week, he has deteriorated and is in the hospital. I am spending all of my time there so that I can be with him every step of the way.