The worst day

I went to calc class just like I had the previous 2 months. 9 am my freshmen year. Torture. I lazily sat through the lecture and zombie walked back to the dorm. I got there to receive a call. “Michele’s mom is coming to get you. You need to come home.”. I don’t know what I thought was going on. I was panicking about dumb stuff. Who was going to take biology notes for me? Would Joel be looking for me for econ at 2? So dumb.

It all started in the summer before I headed to school. My dad couldn’t shake this pesky cold. Just one of those coughs that won’t go away. He was getting sore from all the coughing. The weekend we moved in, he was in some serious pain. 8 flights of stairs that many times isn’t even fun for college freshmen. I knew he would get better. I mean, why not? I was ready for college and new adventures. I called every few days and chatted about my day. New friends, new classes, etc. I went home for Labor day and on Saturday, he was having trouble breathing. It was the only time I have been to the emergency room. It was terrible. They drew at least 2 liters of blood from his lungs but he was doing better. I didn’t know what any of this meant. Looking back, God how naive I was. I went back to school that week with frequent phone calls. I may have even gone home again. I really can’t remember. I try not to honestly. I remember the first phone call. I was visiting my new ‘friend’ Kevin. Ya know….the one on the about page. Anyway it was my mom telling me to go find my roommate or my friend Chad and call her back. I did what she said and I don’t remember what I was thinking again. I know I wasn’t freaking out but why wasn’t I? I play it over and over it is always so confusing. I never knew what was coming. Idiot.

Cancer. Lung cancer… It wasn’t good. How the hell it had spread so bad in such a short amount of time was unimaginable. He was going to do chemo and the likes. I really can’t patch together much of my life from then until that next phone call. I know I went to class. I had fun. But I think my brain doesn’t want me to know anymore. I don’t remember anything. It kinda scares me. Maybe the guilt would be too much. I dunno.

October 3rd 10 years ago I feel asleep in the passenger seat of my roommates mom’s jeep. I don’t remember talking, crying, anything. I do remember her getting a phone call before we made it out of Chapel Hill. I paid no mind. I’m glad I did. It wasn’t a happy one but God bless Mrs. Toney. She didn’t let on and I fell back asleep. We got to my house and there were a lot of people. Why? I walked in the door and I can’t remember anymore. I heard “gone” and then it’s all hazy. Funeral plans. Chats on IM for people to tell my professors. Caskets. My friends bringing me presents. I do remember weird things vividly. Gabi called. She asked if she could bring anything. I said yes. I needed poster board. I was going to craft through my pain. And craft I did. I dug through photos. Ripped through my baby book. I made a collage for my daddy who I never got today goodbye to.

10 years and it still stings. My dad was nerdy and he never got to see my nerd potential. Never got to see me graduate with 2 degrees. Get married. Have Landon. It sucks Ya know what? It fucking sucks. Every.God.Damned.Day.

Fuck Cancer.

p.s. I wrote this and didn’t proof it on purpose. fuck mispelling


  1. I am sorry you didn’t get to say a formal goodbye or that your dad wasn’t physically there to see some of the monumental events since his death, but I am sure in his own way, he was there for everything and proud as hell of his little girl.
    I agree with the fuck cancer statement. I am one of the lucky ones and my mom is still with us after her battle but every year, I get nervous when she goes for her check up.

  2. I lost my dad very suddenly & unexpectedly when I was 13 years old, 25 years ago this November. There still is not a day that passes that I don’t think of him. Sometimes with a smile & sometimes with a tear. I have always told my three daughters that they have a special guardian angel watching over them. I tell them stories about him, funny stories, sad stories, seemingly pointless stories, so they can feel like they know him. Because that’s important to me. When my oldest walks across that stage this coming spring in her cap & gown, I know my dad will be looking down on us with pride in his heart & a smile on his face. Hugs to you today.

  3. I think about you every year on my birthday and I feel a little guilty because I don’t want to be happy when I know it’s a terrible day for you. I still remember sitting in my dorm room when my mom called to tell me and feeling so weird being with you at the funeral home. And I know soooo much how you feel. 17 years ago for me this November and it still sucks … I absolutely hate Thanksgiving but it’s not exactly appropriate to go around telling everyone you hate a holiday where you should be thankful for what you have and I’m just pissed off because of what I don’t have. You are so much braver than me because I don’t think I could type it all out for the world to see. I know we have lost touch since high school for the most part but I am here for you if you ever need anything!

  4. I can relate. My mom died from kidney cancer when I was a junior in college. Over the summer, she had been feeling sick to her stomach, no appetite, had anemia, and a cough that wouldn’t go away. The doctors ordered test after test, but couldn’t figure it out. Finally my step-dad insisted that they give her a CT scan. It was then they discovered she had kidney cancer that had mestasized to her lungs, bones, brain, and liver. Six weeks later, she was gone.

    In some weird way, I guess I was lucky, because my step-dad took her to the hospital, and I came home from college. The doctors said she would have a month to live at that point. The next day, they said she would be gone in one week. The day after that, she was dead. So, I was there. My whole family was there. I am thankful for that, because it could have happened at any other time when we weren’t there.

    But I was like you. Young, naive. I didn’t believe she would die. If 30% of people survive kidney cancer, then I knew she would be one of the 30%. I didn’t go to Bethesda when she was there, because I didn’t realize our time was almost up. Between my sibs and I, she has 8 grandchildren she has never met. She never met my brother’s wife or my husband. But worst of all, my little sister was only 7 when she died, and she doesn’t really even remember my mom. My step-dad started drinking heavily the day she died, and he never stopped.

    Fuck cancer – I agree. Fuck it with a red hot poker.

    And, I don’t know about you, but I live my life in fear of it striking me or any loved one, because I can never be naive again.

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