Father’s Day without My Father, Yo-Yo Grieving, and the Art of Letting Go

For Father’s Day 2015 By Tamara Treichel

This year Father’s Day will be different for me. For the first time, I won’t have a father to send a card or make a phone call to.

At the beginning of 2014, my father was diagnosed with a form of cancer called multiple myeloma/leukemia. Patients have an average life expectancy of 3-4 years. Although my father initially responded well to treatment, things started to go on a downward spiral on Christmas Eve of last year when he developed an infection and needed blood transfusion after blood transfusion.

Christmas Eve found my father, my sister and me in the hospital, with the nurse testing my father’s lucidity, asking for his date of birth and whether he had any thoughts of harming myself. I teared up and ran to the restroom so that others couldn’t see me cry. As my sister drove us home, I broke down sobbing. “Why do the good things always have to end?” I blurted.

I had not yet begun to understand and practice the art of letting go. Intuitively, I knew that things were headed that way, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

My father and I

My father and I

My father’s condition worsened after Christmas, with him spending more time in the hospital than out. “I am a frequent flyer here,” my father joked to the nurses. In fact, my father hated hospitals and constantly asked to be released.

He got his wish on January 15. A Thursday.

I visited my father in the hospital and brought him flowers. As many  Germans do, he loved bouquets of fresh flowers. “Tammy,” he said, smiling feebly from the hospital bed when he saw me entering his room. Continue reading