On Monday, November 18, Phil's dad passed away. I hate to say he lost his battle with non-alcoholic Liver Cancer, because that sounds strange to me. When the doctors only gave him 6, maybe 12 months to live, he lived over 3 years. He definitely gave Liver Cancer a run for its money.
Ed's diagnosis came 2 months after Phil and I were married. I barely knew my in-laws at all. And here I sit, 3 years later. I know them a lot better. But I never really got a chance to know Ed outside of his cancer. I realized when we were with family in Virginia that Ed was so much more than his cancer. So many stories from his sister about when they were little. Or stories from Phil about when he was younger. In fact, most people who came to the viewing and funeral mentioned they didn't realize he was so sick. Because he didn't mention it to them. So much more than cancer.
The last couple of months have been especially hard. When he got sepsis in July, we flew back to Virginia in a hurry. We honestly didn't think Ed would be coming home from the hospital. We debated packing funeral clothes, just in case. But he had to defy the odds again. And he survived 2 more bouts with sepsis. But I have thought several times over the last couple of months how hard the whole process must have been for him.
He didn't talk a whole lot. One of the few ways I was able to have a conversation with him was to talk about Virginia Tech football (which I started keeping track of for that very reason). But he was a very proud, stoic man. And I can only imagine that knowing he would be leaving his wife and son behind must have been really hard for him because you could tell he liked taking care of his family. And he did. He did so much to take care of Faith, even after he was gone. You could tell from the way he tried to get things organized, so it would be as easy as possible for her. Still taking care of her, even after he is gone.
To Ed, that's just what you did. You took care of people. It was just the right thing to do. And that was evident at his funeral. One man came to his viewing that hadn't seen Ed since high school. He came up to Phil and told him about how he was picked on in school and Ed was the only person that was nice to him. And I'm sure Ed didn't think twice about it. But for that man to show up at his funeral after 40 years... that says something to me.
While I am glad his suffering is over, I am also really sad. My heart hurts. I'm still struggling with the fairness of this whole situation. None of it seems fair for this family. Faith and Phil already lost Phil's brother, Nick, in a car accident. And now they have to lose Ed as well. It is just so unfair for them. My heart hurts for Faith. Even the idea of losing a son and then husband so early makes me want to run into the corner and cry. I'm sad for Phil, that he doesn't get more time with his dad. I'm extremely sad for Henry and any future siblings he may have because they won't get to know their Papa Ed. We will have plenty of stories and I have a few pictures of Ed holding Henry from our visit in July, but it won't be the same. And I honestly am sad for myself. I'll never get to foster a relationship with my father-in-law. And I'm mourning that loss.
Thank you to everyone who prayed and supported us during this process. We honestly think all the prayers helped give Ed more time. And we all needed that time. How do you possibly prepare to lose someone from your life? I still don't know the answer. I don't think that there is one.
Now we will all try to navigate through the grief. I just hope I can continue to handle this grieving process and be there for Phil. Because that's what you do... take care of your family.