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I was speaking with a cousin last Friday (after Dad’s memorial service) and he asked if he’d offended me months ago by complaining in a comment that he wanted more Friday Cat Blogging, and if that was why I’d barely blogged for the last year.

Well, no, that’s not the reason, and I wasn’t offended, since I don’t remember it. The reason instead is everything that led up to Dad’s memorial service: the cancer diagnosis, Dad’s illness, and his request that I not tell anyone (which I took to mean, not blog about it; so I didn’t). Since sometime last summer I realized that I could hardly think of anything else, and attempts at blog posts would become streams of consciousness that would naturally head in the direction of Dad and my despair. So I posted little, except in the subject of my own health problems which were a nice selfish break from everything.

My father died on Friday, March 23, at age 68, of lung cancer. He was diagnosed with it, stage 4 even, in August or September, I don’t remember anymore. We knew sometime in the summer that things were really bad but it took doctors months to figure out the problem. I fretted for weeks before we got the definite news; friends and family told me to stop worrying, what’s the point of worrying when you have no control over the outcome, think positive, blah blah blah. And in the end it was worse than even I imagined, but “I told you so” or my preference of “fuck you” weren’t all that gratifying given what truth I’d won. The oncologist gave Dad a year and a half (with treatment) and instead he got a third of that (with treatment).

I feel I need to point out that he didn’t smoke, since the assumption with lung cancer is that it’s partially the person’s fault. Cancer doesn’t even run in the family, either. Dad just had to be a trailblazer.

Grief is a horrible thing. On Friday the 23rd I felt elation and relief that his suffering was over, and thought maybe I’d be fine from then on. That was quite stupid of me. Either I wake up feeling okay, but then the realization hits me; or I’m having a dream about Dad, where I know he’s gone, and when I wake up he’s still gone. I might see something funny and think, I should show this to Dad, and then I remember I can’t. I spend my days having the wind knocked out of me at random intervals.

I know I’ll get better eventually. But at this moment, the person I was most like in the world, and who loved me more than most, is gone, and I feel so very alone.

Me and Dad


  1. John says:

    Very sorry to hear on the passing of your dad. Keep the head up and things will get better.

  2. jhawke says:

    just sitting here wiping tears from my eyes and thinking of you. nothing in the world that I can think to say to such a touching and heart-wrenching post. I hope time is kind to your healing process.

  3. Kimli says:

    Love you, Gill.

  4. Mel says:

    *hugs* Sending you our love, Gill.

  5. Jeremy bonnett says:

    I am so very sorry Gillian. Your post was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I pray each day will be a little bit better than the last.

  6. John Bauder says:


    Been there with both of my parents by the time I was 19. It took until well into my mid-30s before I stopped feeling alone.

    I know you’ll come to realize you’re not. In the meantime there will be moments that really sick – that’s just the way it is. Please don’t try to fight it.

    Know that we are here for you and you’re definitely on our to-visit list when in Vancouver in a couple months!

    Uncles Fuzz and whatever you call me… :-)

  7. Fred says:

    I miss my dad too. Cancer took him too and I hate cancer for doing it.
    Glad I didn’t make you stop blogging.

  8. Beth says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Having lost my dad recently too, I know exactly what you are talking about when you say have the wind knocked out of you at random intervals. So many times I find myself thinking “I have to tell Dad that!” and then, like you said, I realize that I can’t. I really thought I’d have more time with my Dad – as I’m sure you thought too – and it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that I won’t. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  9. Colene says:

    Aw, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Sending you good thoughts and hugs.

  10. Christine says:

    Very sorry for your loss. This post brought tears to my eyes having lost my father a little over 2 years ago. I know what you mean when you say you have the wind knocked out of you at random times. It is hard to control those emotions when you are in public some times. What really helped me was joining a support group. I found that I didn’t want to talk to friends and family about how I was feeling as I didn’t want them to think I was constantly being a downer. Sharing what you are going through with a group counsellor/facilitator and others who have experienced a recent loss can be very helpful. There is no judgement and it’s acceptable to break down and lose it in front of the group. I have made a couple of friends from the group I joined, one being a fellow who lost his mother around the same time I did and a women who lost a 17 year old son in a car accident. Everyone’s story is different but the feelings are the same.

    If you are interested, google Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Society. The group meets for 10 weeks, once a week. They have a group up in Kerrisdale and one downtown at one of the church’s around Burrard and Nelson. There is no religious affiliation.

    You share your Dad’s eye’s, beautiful color.

  11. Gillian says:

    Christine: Thanks for the mention of the grief society, I hadn’t heard of them. I’m not sure if I need them at this time, as I’m getting individual grief counselling, but I will keep them in mind for future.

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