I’ve decided to share this on the blog as a means of catharsis and a way to cope, I know it’s a bit of a stray from my usual topics. I just feel like somewhere out there on the interwebs and in this great, big world, someone may need to read this and know they are not alone. Or maybe it’s just me that needs to know. Today, while browsing blogs, I noticed that I kept stumbling on stories of loss and somehow, they managed to be both heart-breaking and heart-lifting at once. I suppose because this is a shared human experience, a universal certainty and perhaps there is some uncomfortable comfort in that. I wanted to express that this is undoubtedly the most difficult thing anyone might have to face as an expat, although truthfully, I could stop that sentence before writing “expat”. As you know fellow readers, I’ve just returned from a month-long trip to Canada, of which I spent time with my dad. Spending time is a different concept at this stage of a consistently worsening illness like cancer, it essentially meant checking on my dad every now and then and feeling my own heartbeat quicken if I happened to catch him mid-breath. It meant checking he took his pain medication 2 hours ago and seeing when he last drank something. It meant fighting with him to eat something, even the smallest crumb has since become a victory in our books.
Now I’m back in Italy, a choice that I struggled with the entire month before my flight back and still struggle with. Why did I make this choice? Was it the right one? I ask myself that a lot. The answer isn’t black or white. I prayed a lot. I thought a lot. I thought about what my dad would tell me. I thought about life and death and time. Because amidst even the deepest agony and heartache and sadness, we must also remember to live. In fact, I feel like we owe this to everyone who wishes they could leave a hospital bed. Before cancer, my dad was the opposite of what you’d call a homebody. You’d be pretty much guaranteed to find him wherever there was fun and a good time to be had and there was usually wine involved. So here I am, continuing the philosophy. I don’t believe there is a right thing to do in this situation. If I had delayed my move to Italy three years ago, when the initial diagnosis was already at Stage 4 and the emergency room doctors had uttered the words “weeks”, none of this would have existed. This life that I've created would not exist. Not this blog or any of the living that you’ve read about or seen on its pages. That’s why before returning, I confided in my friends and we prayed and asked for a sign as to what I should do. One morning, laying in bed, I heard a plane fly overhead. Loud, unmistakable. And so I got on mine, knowing that I can be back on one in an instant if needed. Trusting God with both our journeys.
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