I have recently received news from my sister that Dad is not doing well, and it is suspected that there may some serious health issues in his jaw area - further tests need to be conducted. The cancer word has been spoken, and we are all playing the waiting game now.
While of course, my first reaction is one of sadness with a hint of hope, time and further medical tests will only help us to know more. But in contemplating all of this news, I couldn't help but think of Dad as the person I have always known him to be...a person who is strong, perhaps too stubborn at times, with a soft marshmallow centre. Then I started thinking about my memories of him when I was a child.
He apparently was always someone who looked after his body and his health somewhat, and when I was about 9 years old he built himself a gym in my old converted playroom in the basement, (which had originally been a coal shuttle room for the then coal burning furnace). He had black inner tube tyres, cut and nailed to a surface to act as the pull springs for strength, he improvised many pieces of gym equipment, and did his workouts in this converted room.
But before then, as a small child I can remember him doing push-ups with one arm extended, the other at his side, as he lay sideways on the floor. Sometimes, when we were just relaxing in the lounge room, he would lay on the floor on his back, with his arms and open hands over his head, and I would stand on his hands (I was aged probably about 4) and he would raise his arms straight above his head and balance me on his arms, then let me down gently. That I realised later, takes great strength!
I have so many stories that I could write about him and my memories of his resolution of spirit, but I will choose to remember that man, aged probably about 37 who lifted me to the heavens and brought me back again. The man who carried me on his shoulders, and never let anyone or anything hurt me.
This is the same man who carried my body into the doctor's office for treatments after a gymnastics accident when I was 14, as I could not put pressure on my grossly swollen knee, This is the man who waited up for me at night when I was on a date, and came to my rescue whenever my car broke down, or I was scared by strange noises when alone at night, or when I got older taught me how to debate with a stubborn individual. This man is my Dad.
I just hope this almost 94 year old man has enough stubbornness to tell his body to get over it, and get on with life.....