Today is my dad’s yahrzeit. It’s been 23 years since my dad died from Hodgkin disease. I never know how I’m going to feel during this time each year, but I thought this year I’d be ok. Not really sure why I thought that, but I did. I really did. Then a friend asked what I did last night and I told her I went to shul to remember my dad. That’s when the tears started.
Last year, I had chemo brain during the anniversary of my dad’s death. I was in the middle of my 8 chemo treatments. So I couldn’t really process how his death was affecting me. But today, its hitting me pretty hard.
My dad was a couple weeks shy of his 43rd birthday when he died. He fought 4 bouts of cancer. His body couldn’t handle the toll anymore of 12 years of drugs and damage from treatment. I think he was also tired of the fight. I can’t blame him. I understand the feeling.
Before my diagnosis, the idea of not making it past my 43rd birthday was never a thought that crossed my mind. But now, being in my first year as a breast cancer survivor and being 40 years old, I find myself wondering if I’ll even make it to 43.
I never thought I’d get breast cancer at 39. 65 yes. But not 39. That wasn’t a remote possibility in my mind. But now I know all too well that life is full of surprises – and I’m not talking about the good surprises.
My dad’s yahrzeit and my breast cancer make me think about my mortality a lot these days. How many days or years do I have left? Will my cancer come back like my dad’s did? Will my body give out too like his did? Will I have time to do the things I really want to do?
Obviously I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. And I’m trying to take these overwhelming feelings one day at a time. But what I do know is that this scary stuff.