A lesson about cancer — don’t take loved ones for granted
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Cancer has impacted a lot of people in some way or another — and I am no exception.
My dad was diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma) in 2003, a battle he lost on July 5, 2005.
I ending up losing so much that day — my dad, my friend, my only living parent, the house I shared with him, a lot of our possessions, and the life I had with my dad.
All it took was a breath not to be taken and a heart not to beat for me to lose my whole world at the time and the future I had assumed my dad would be in — a future where he would teach me how to drive, see me graduate from high school, celebrate with me when I got into college, and so much more.
That was the hardest thing to accept, that he wouldn’t be a part of my future, or at least the way I envisioned it.
Fast forward to two weeks ago — the 10th anniversary of my dad’s passing — and while I sat looking out at Lake Tahoe, missing my dad, I realized how lucky I was to have him in my life as long as I did.
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Looking back, I have so many fond memories of my dad. Everything from him teaching me the right moment to flip pancakes so they would be golden brown, to telling me at nearly 50 years old he liked Usher’s song “Yeah” because of the beat, which gave me a good laugh at the time.
Those memories and so many others played through my head as if I was watching old family movies.
It took me several years to recall all those memories after his passing, often triggered by a sight, a sound or a smell, leaving me bewildered at the time as to how I could have forgotten.
I didn’t forget them. They were just submerged like a sunken ship, with bits and pieces floating to the surface when ready to see the light of day again.
Even when those memories were lost at sea, they still influenced me, with traces of my dad and lessons learned in everything from the decisions I make to my habits.
If you take away anything from this, I hope it’s to not take for granted the loved ones in your life, and to use the time you have to create memorable moments.
For, it’s memories that you can keep — and that stay with you — in the wake of loss.
Margaret Moran is a reporter with the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. She may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.