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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Watson


I'm sitting in Chicago-O'Hare Airport as I tap these words on my laptop keyboard. On my way to Michigan. To my parents' home. They've lived there for 43 years. My home growing up. I was supposed to arrive yesterday, but a freak snowstorm (!!!) trapped me here overnight, which sucks because I really need to get home.

There's no easy way to write or say or even think this...

My dad is dying.

End stages of cancer.

All of the radiation and immunotherapy did as much as it could for him, but it looks like now we are at the end. A few months at most.

We're actually lucky (if you could call it that.) My dad was diagnosed with what is often an aggressive cancer. People who get it often die quite quickly after diagnosis. We got my dad for ten years post-diagnosis. Most of them were pretty good years, too. He worked full-time until he was 76. And he was even teaching last fall despite being frail and not feeling well. He and my mom traveled. A lot. My daughter came to us seven and a half years ago and he's gotten to know her, spend time with her during visits, and love her.

The hardest part of all of this isn't losing him - I mean, yes, that part is truly awful and I'm in no way ready to lose my dad. No, the hardest part is that - even at 81 - my tenacious dad wants to live.

Really and truly wants to keep living.

If he was ready to let go, I feel as though I would be able to deal with that. I would hope to send him peacefully on his way. However, he isn't ready to make this transition any more than we are ready for him to leave us. He still wants to spend more time with the woman he's been married to for 58 years, spend more time with his children and his many friends, watch his granddaughter grow up, travel, see and experience new things, and return to teaching. He so wants to return to teaching. He has such an incredible thirst for life!

But my dad's body has a different plan.

I don't think that my dad's will is going to outlast his body.

It's time.

And here I am waiting in the airport to board a plane so I can be with him for a while longer. I will likely be doing this again soon.

Usually when I write posts here I describe how I am using or planning to use SoulCollage® to help me through whatever mishaps and difficult situations arise in my life. Honestly, I'm not sure at all how the SoulCollage® piece is going to play out in the coming days and months.

A few weeks ago I went to spend time with my parents, but couldn't bring myself to do any readings or look for any wisdom in my cards or myself. It was all just too much seeing my dad so debilitated and my mom a wreck as she watches her husband fade away. But one night I gave myself permission to sit quietly with my grief and make something beautiful even in the midst of terrible sadness. I made two SoulCollage® cards. Then two days ago, I kept a commitment to facilitate a workshop the day before I was scheduled to fly back to my hometown. And I'm so glad that I did. Being in a beautiful art center while witnessing the lovely women who attended the workshop create their very first SoulCollage® cards to discover all of the wisdom within themselves helped soothe my aching heart for a little while.

I don't know what the next few months will be like. This is such a hard and heartbreaking transition, but I'm trying to trust the process of life just like I trust the process of SoulCollage®.



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