Jan 16, 2015
I have been sifting though my parents documents to start to close down my mother's affairs. Mixed in with some old insurance documents were some doctors reports on melanomas my Dad had removed in May 2010. The doctor writes that my Dad's prognosis was "uncertain". I was filled with a helpless anger. None of us had any idea that at that stage his prognosis was uncertain. My Dad hid his condition from us all the way until we forced him into a hospital for tests in January 2013. And then it was far too late.
My Dad was a South Africa baby boomer male. And that in general terms meant you led your family, protecting them from the unpleasantness of life, at all costs. The positives of this were an innocent, sheltered childhood. The negatives meant you hid things from your (female) family, as you wanted to protect them.
Would things have changed for me if I had known back in May 2010 that my Dad had an illness with a future that was uncertain? Yes, without doubt. I would have taken every moment with my Dad and not sweated the small stuff. There were incidences that happened that were made into large things, because without understanding the prognisis he had, they were large things. But with the prognosis, we could have understood and made room. And made large things, smaller.
I have chosen to let go. I can't change what happened and how my Dad dealt with his cancer. But I can chose not to do the same things with our children. MJ and I talked tonight. His Dad also hid the truth of his cancer from us. And it makes us determined to be more open with our own children.
We are a different generation for sure. But we are trying to balance being open with the children and protecting their innocence. I hope we are doing a good job. The children were all involved at the funeral without being exposed to too much. Luka said he enjoyed the funeral as through most of the service they were being looked after and playing in another room with lots of snacks and toys.
They stickered the casket again like they did for my Dad. But this time they led my Mom back out. Holding onto ribbons with loops the 6 elder grandchildren led the casket out. It was a good mix I hope, of being open and protecting them.
I guess we won't know until they are grown if this was the right way. We can only pray and do our best.