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I learned something tonight... (about Daveka)

Saturday, June 09, 2001, 11:10:34 PM:

This is not something that you can use everyday, and if you're lucky, you will never need to know this throughout your lifetime. There are a few criteria that have to be met for this to be useful. You have to be analytical, care for people, and want to solve people's problems; and have a terminally ill person in your life.

Three years ago, we were celebrating Easter at my in-law’s. Our daughter was five and our son was one. It was a standard Easter with family; brunch, egg hunt for the kids, croquette in the back yard, and lots of chit chat. One thing about the women in my wife's family, they talk non-stop. You can't get a word in edge-wise. The men usually sit around the TV and talk about sports, cars, or work. Kids are running about screaming because they're excited, but the women just keep talking. It's kind of distracting at first, but after about an hour an a few beers the constant conversation and laughing of the ladies, it becomes part of the fabric of the event. They are an integral part of the ambiance. This holds true for all occasions, not just Easter – most of the men reading this can identify.

My wife’s father just retired a year before, and was looking forward to a life of building exhaust systems for Porches in his shop, auto crossing, and enjoying his grandkids.

After the ambiance got a little too thick, we walked out to his shop, not discussing anything in particular. A sick, wet, maddening cough interrupted his conversation. Not a coughing jag per se, just one or two here and there. I knew something wasn’t right from then on. For months nobody took me seriously, until the diagnosis.

Fast forward. It's very frustrating to be in a situation where all the info isn't available to you, and you have no control of the situation. When you press the people closest to you for answers to questions they haven't asked or did, and didn't get a favorable answer, it is maddening. Why don’t they press for the answers? You struggle with why didn't they ask the right questions? Why are you giving up? There’s more we can do! Cut, cut, cut.

Here’s what hit me squarely in the head this evening: You are a novice dealing with this situation as a husband. There are people around you who have already been down this painful road. You haven't begun to catch up and you never will. Just be loving, supportive and understand that you have no idea what's going on and you never will. As a male, most of our fathers die before us, but you will never experience your father's death as his little girl.