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  • 11/7/1994

    My Dear Children,

    Many years ago I heard a recovering alcoholic say, "Christians speak of salvation. You have never known what salvation is until you have been adrift on a life raft in the middle of the ocean for 10 days and then are rescued, "saved", nor until you have been adrift on the sea of alcoholism for many years and then are "saved" by recovery in AA."

    I have heard the church talk about "remission of sins". I have heard people talk of having a payment "remitted" to them. But, today I know the true meaning of "remission".

    You know I have suffered from rapidly increasing dull aches and sharp pains in the groin and hip area for several weeks. I have gone through a bone scan, and blood tests showing there is a cancerous invasion of the isthius (?), the bone we sit upon. The prostate cancer I believed was dormant has come violently alive and multiplying with frightening speed. The cancer has metastasized into the surrounding area. It was spreading like a wildfire out of control, causing me pain and discomfort, walking, sitting, everything.

    On Friday I met with Dr. S. and agreed to start treatment with a shot of Lupron Depot. This is a chemical which is designed to cut off any supply of testosterone that the testicles might attempt to produce. It seems testosterone is to prostate cancer what kerosene would be to wild fire. Cutting off the testosterone should permit the cancer to fall into "remission". It will still be there, but quiescent for awhile. How long a while is not known but conjectured to be from 1 to 5 years.

    When I awoke today, Monday, I found I still had a small residue of pain in that bone I sit upon, and some small amounts of pain in the groin area, but for the most part my cancer has been "remitted". It is going into "remission" and I shall have freedom from the pain and inconvenience for a while.

    I tell you, "remission" has a whole new meaning for me.

    I must tell you something else. You are all aware that I think of myself as the most blessed, most fortunate of men. This last week has proven to me over again this is true.

    As I have come face to face with a major change in my physical health, I have communicated with Rosemary and every one of you, my children. As I have been able to share the loss I suffer at this time, I have realized more than ever before how much Rosemary and each of you has contributed to me to enable me to become the person I enjoy being today.
  • Some may think the blessing of children to be as extensions of self, as persons to be proud of, the parents to live vicariously through the children's accomplishments, or as legacies from the parents to the future generations, the children perpetuating the parents' name, talents, etc.

    I don't!

    I think of the enormous value each of you, my children, has been to me as you have taught me the special lessons in life and living you have learned. As unique beings, you have influenced my life, permitting me to grow and mature and come to be the most fortunate, the most blessed man alive.

    As I have embarked upon this natural grieving process, grieving the loss of health I had been enjoying, I have been able to speak with each of you and know you heard me. A great gift! Few are the humans who have some one actually to "hear" them. People generally tend to hear only their own feelings and reactions. From my children and my wife, I have received no "pap", no foolish pep talks, no pious piffle. Each has responded to me in his/her own unique manner, but it has been a real response.

    I want you all to know how grateful I am for each of you, how life-giving your responses have been, and how you are still teaching me.

    We know that losses must be grieved, the grieving is a process to be worked through, that it can be accomplished best by speaking of the loss with someone who will listen in accepting, genuine, empathetic fashion, hearing the feelings of the grieving one rather than attempting to substitute feelings or remedies the listener may deem to be more appropriate.

    I am fortunate to have so many of you, my children, who not only can do these things for me, but this past week have demonstrated your willingness actually to do so. You are a blessing.

    My thanks to all of you. You know that I pray only that my spirit may remain whole and healed. I shall do the best I can for the body in which I live, availing myself of modern medicine and of alternate modalities, as well.

    With Love and Affection,

    Dad
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