The shell of a man

Last week, Gary and I had dinner with my dad, my stepmom, my older brother, his wife and their 2 children. This was a ‘goodbye’ dinner of sorts before Gary and I were to depart to Pensacola, Florida; the next location for my next surgery and treatment I will receive for my cancer. At that dinner, I told them I would see them again and that my plan was to be in West Texas for Thanksgiving to spend that holiday with them and the rest of the family.  This is the usual location my family meets to celebrate this holiday.  I said to them with not knowing what will take place in the next couple of months, my plan could change, but at this point in time, I want to be there in West Texas come November.

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I sat next to my dad, who is dealing with Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments.

His body is frail, his body is a shell that is weathered and fragile; that is non recognizable and not the dad I have memories of when growing up and even in these most recent years.  The body is weathering and the Parkinson’s has become strong to the point his voice at times is muffed, and just a noise that at times is unrecognizable in the words that are being spoken.

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That dinner sitting next to my dad, his words were detectable, though very soft.  My ear was in his face trying to hear him, with soft words and his hand on my shoulder I heard him say “If you need anything, I am here.”  I see this fragile man, who I believe is coming near to the end of his life and he is supporting me, comforting me and he is being here for me and this I am thankful for.

The relationship we have now is dramatically different from years past when we were both younger.  If you are not familiar with our relationship, you are welcome to read these posts: ‘My Dad Who Taught Me Plenty‘, ‘I understand the words ‘I love you’‘, ‘Anger Towards My Dad‘, ‘A Letter From Dad‘, and ‘not many handshakes going on these days.‘.

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Later after dinner I was back home and my stepmom sent me a couple of photos she had taken earlier that evening of my dad, my older brother and myself.  It was not until I viewed those pictures, that I saw my dad in a different way.  His body, his shell is deteriorating; as if it is already decaying, already having life drained from it.  It saddens me to see him in this state, because I know he will be gone from this world soon.

But, I also find comfort in knowing we have both changed and we both understand our relationship and love each other for who we are.

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My dad’s shell as a younger man was hardened with no emotions displayed; and now that shell is fragile and worn; but now it is full of love.

52 thoughts on “The shell of a man

  1. So touching and heartfelt. You seem to be at peace with your father now and a bit more understanding of the man he is and used to be, and vice versa. A great love… just as it should be. Hugs to you, for no other reason than just because.

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  2. Terry, I am so sorry that your dad is suffering. It really is heartbreaking seeing loved ones age and get to that frail stage. I am pleased you had dinner with your dad, I am sure he loved having you there. It brought tears to my eyes when you mentioned your dads hand on your shoulder offering you comfort and support. I know it is sad seeing your dad so fragile, but it is lovely that you have such recent photo’s as well. Your dad is filled with love, and that is beautiful. Hugs my friend. Hope your day is lovely. x

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    • It is very sad to see him in his current condition and I am pleased of our current relationship! Thank you for your kind comment, I appreciate you were moved by this post – it means a great deal to me. A lovely day to you as well! 🙂

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  3. I wish you the best of luck in Florida, and that you are soon on the road to recovery. This is a beautiful post and how love can conquer all in the end…a beautiful moment between you and your dad. I am sorry that your dad is so sick. I know that must be very difficult for you. Prayers and hugs!

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  4. Beautiful! What a lovely, touching story of the growth between your Dad and yourself. I’m so glad that you both have reached such a close supportive place with each other. Great post, thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  5. Yes, we are at that stage where our once-strong, dependable parents are becoming frail and more dependent. My mum was with us for a few days recently and in just the 4 months since I last saw her, she has lost more mobility and shuffles everywhere, even with a walker. It is hard to see her like that. She misses taking herself off for the day on the bus to the coast or to markets. I live in fear she will have a fall. I am glad you had such a lovely farewell dinner with your family and will have those words to carry with you in the coming months. All the best ☺️

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  6. Just caught up on all you past posts, I am sorry you hare having so much pain….pain like that can make anyone cranky…..love the pool boogie..I also enjoyed the video from your home….love that last scene….2 very handsome men standing by a big beautiful trailer….your father brought tears to my eyes…how wonderful that he was able to let you know e was there for you…I am happy that you both were able to bring your relationship back to a comfortable respectful spot…..and yes, we only have our parents for a short time….I keep reminding my kids I am not going to live forever…I am not sure what day your surgery is on, I am thinking the 6th….you have been in my thoughts often over the past couple weeks….sending you warm caressing hugs my friend….and oh yes Happy Birthday to Gary…xxxxooookat

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    • kat, you have caught up on my posts! Thank you for the very warming and thoughtful comment and at this time I do not have a date for my next surgery. I do have an appointment on Monday, but will have to receive a referral to a urologist so most likely the surgery will be later this month or next month! Many things to occur between now and then. We are now in Florida, and settled into our new living situation. Hope your trip is going well and you are having safe travels! 🙂

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  7. Ageing is so cruel … Not just for the ever more fragile person but for those who support and observe someone they love fading away. This poignant and tender telling of your daddy’s weakening and yet resolutely remaining in role as the perceived provider of strength for you is beyond touching. Thank you.

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  8. so so beautiful Terry! With age comes many difficult things, but the one most important and GOOD thing is wisdom and love. and that makes all the other bearable. So glad you have your father’s love. xo

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  9. I read this at the best moment possible. As I look at my mom sitting across from me now she really is a shell of the woman she once was
    Suffering from stage 4 lung cancer her tumors continue to grow. Tomorrow she is getting a scan to see if the cancer has reached her bones. She’s all of 80lbs and it breaks my heart. The pain of seeing your parents like that is unbearable. Thank you for sharing your story. It brings me some comfort to know that I am not alone in my struggles. Wishing you all the best.

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  10. Your post touched me, and from the comments others also. I am fortunate my dad and I are close but hours apart we both miss the long chats and walks of years past. I cannot express how much he influences my own life despite the miles. He will leave a void some day that will never be filled again.

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    • David, I am very glad your dad has such a great influence on your life, that is important! And thank you for being touched by this post – that has great meaning for me. Happy day my friend! 🙂

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  11. Glad to , be in touch with you and with our words ; I really inspired when I used to know that someone is also sharing his real life moments with all like I do. I am fan of you and everything gonna be alright , whatever is happening right now is for a reason and that reason is god’s will. 🙂

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