Two days ago, I killed my father. I looked into his eyes, and watched him fade; there was nothing I could do. But really, I was just an accomplice. The real asshole is this other guy you should know about, his name is metastatic nonresectable liver cancer, and that’s who you want to be taking a real look at. You might also want to run a background check on a duodenal adenocarcinoma that was removed from my father about three years ago, because that jerk is at the root of all of this.
My weapon was a number: two. Two, as in two months. Time remaining. Elapsed time, sixty-one years. Neither span is a long time, taken in their own contexts.
It began with the word “less”. Less as in “no dad, it’s less than that”. I had spent the last couple days just being with him following the last surgery, an aborted attempt to see if the asshole I mentioned could be taken out. It couldn’t. Following that waste of time, the surgeon, the oncologist, the family doctor and various other individuals had all stopped by, with various forms of bad news. Dad was getting the picture, and I helped develop it. He was thinking he had a year, or at least he was telling me he thought he had a year. I told him no, it was far less than that. And I think that’s what killed him. Took the wind out of his sails, I did. But sometimes you gotta face facts.
Yesterday, a procedure was aborted by the surgeon, an attempt to alleviate minor symptoms of a major illness. Later in the day a more invasive procedure to the same end was headed off at the pass by yours truly. As realistic, honest and pessimistic as I have been, yesterday was an hourly study in rapid decline, and a shock even to me.
Tomorrow is another day for everyone, but I just don’t know how many more tomorrows my dad has.
P.S. Turns out, he had eighteen left.