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I'm Okay...

It's been almost a year since I first noticed my father's health might be not so good. We took a short hike along thetrail. He mentioned that he had always wanted to walk on the AT - and had been in and around it, but never on it. He didn't feel so good - just tired - and we almost didn't go, but I insisted, and we went, and got a couple of pictures of him on the trail, with the white blaze just over his head.

By mid November, the vague "eh" feeling had definite symptoms - blood clots in his legs - but no definite reasons. Cancer was ruled out through a series of tests and scans. Nothing definite showed up anywhere. Mid-December - the 15th - it was determined that he had some kind of cancer. On December 23, it was confirmed as gall bladder cancer. On January 26, he died.

~ ~ ~

During the entire course - from the vague nothingness to the clotting to the lying in a hospital bed plugged in to this, that, and everything else - when asked how he was doing, he would answer "okay" and then immediately turn around and ask, "And how are you doing?"

It was kind of maddening when you're trying to keep an eye on his health and want to find out exactly what his state-of-being was, but he was more interested in finding out what your state-of-being was - he wasn't sidestepping the issue, it was important to him to know how you were doing.

That he was dying, he was well aware... but how were you doing? He wanted to know.

~ ~ ~

I've been thinking about this a lot over the last six months or so. There is really nothing more important, although it may seem like it at times. How we act to others defines who we actually are. How we treat others when things aren't going well for us - even when we're almost dying, up until we are about to die (which happens only once, and can excuse certain behavior) - is far more telling than how we treat others when we're on top of the world, happy as a lark, with nothing but blue skies from now on.

So, how are you doing?

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
I'm okay - looking forward to seeing some red-tailed hawks tomorrow, and maybe some eagles. =)
kay_brooke
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
Pretty good. It's getting cold here and I don't want to get up in the mornings. How are you?
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
Doing okay. The cold just hit this morning - beautiful frosty dark blue sky, with moon and stars very visible, when I headed into work this morning.
rainnxonxme
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
Great! :-D How are you, m'dear?
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
I'm good. Are you having fun now that you're three?
maida_mac
Oct. 13th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
Considering the circumstances, I'm doing wonderfully. ^_^ I see that you've answered the "How are you?" multiple times, so I will just say that I look forward to hearing about the Hawk Watch. Also, I want fresh pico, yes, I do.
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
You'll have to stop by sometime - it's just a short jog away! =)
tewok
Oct. 13th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
Kinda bummed. We're not going to make Hawk Watch after all. Jo's parents decided that's the only time they could come for a visit over the next few months, so that's when they're coming.

Also, I dropped my laptop (my primary work machine) this morning. The power cord nooglet that gets inserted into the computer bent, so I'm running on battery. 26% left -- about 90 minutes -- and six hours of work left to do this weekend. Replacement isn't arriving until Monday, and I'm hoping I didn't bend up the insertion point too much either.

Just coming off a cold, so that's pretty good.

Your father sounds like he was a good, caring person.

How are you yourself doing?

(Sorry for disjoint thoughts. See the 26% -- oops! 24% -- comment above...)
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
Laptops aren't nearly as evil as printers, but they're certainly deviant beasties.

Since you can't make this one, keep an eye open for the November(a hawk watch and dinner) and the December (stuffed shells dinner) and the ones for next year. I'll be planning next year's schedule some time over the next couple months.

I'm doing okay - just had a nice free lunch (fajitas @ Don Pablo's - I had wanted to compare, but no worries there, they're definitely not competition! =) and I have poetry to look forward to tonight.
sage_and_sea
Oct. 13th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'm doing pretty well, thank you. I'm worried about finances, but that's all and only one worry is good!

How are you doing? I thought this was a lovely post.
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC)
Finances are fun! I don't worry about them, because I know my wife's going to worry about them twice as much as I will and the work's already being done. =)

Actually, I don't so much as worry, but wish there was more coming in and less going out.

I'm doing okay - I'll be even better if my HVAC guy ever calls me back!
sage_and_sea
Oct. 18th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Actually, I don't so much as worry, but wish there was more coming in and less going out.

That's a better way to phrase it!
jenjiyana
Oct. 13th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
How we treat others when things aren't going well for us - even when we're almost dying, up until we are about to die (which happens only once, and can excuse certain behavior) - is far more telling than how we treat others when we're on top of the world, happy as a lark, with nothing but blue skies from now on.

very very true. Looking back, Im sure that day spent with him on the trail will be something you will always remember. I dont speak with my father any longer and probably never will again - there are somethings you cannot forgive. Maybe I'll regret it when he's gone but I sure wish I had the type of relationship with him that you had with your father. Then again, if my father was like yours, we'd still be talking to him.

I wish I could make it up tomorrow but Mark wants to go furniture shopping blah. Then you could all laugh at me waddling around.
ellyssian
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
The trail probably wouldn't be a good one for waddling - it's not pure rock climb, but it is a rock scramble. Depending on circumstances, you might want to plan for the December dinner or whatever I come up with for next year. There's probably going to be a gaming day or two before it warms up enough to force people to do yardwork for me have a proper cookout.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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