my father cried

June 30, 2012

I have never seen my father cry, until today, when we heard the news. Later as we were leaving he held me close. He is strong, with a big wide neck that I sunk my head into and took in his scent of aftershave and sweat, and I thought I would just stay right there until the end, being held tightly by my father where I am safe. But to yield to that would leave my daughters abandoned now, at the time when we all need to be together. So I said goodbye to mom and dad who had gone to the oncologist with me as they have time after time, and I headed home. I thought of how much my mother allowed herself to fall apart once she was no longer standing in front of me. I worry about my mother. She has already lived through too much loss and her spirit is strong but her heart is nearly broken.

I drive to my house alone and numb, to find Doug and Erin sitting on the patio out back, under the beauty of our shade trees and sipping iced tea. It is a perfect summer day. After some small talk, what did you do for lunch and when is the meeting at church, after that and after a long silence, I share the news with them. We are at the stage of my disease where my cancer could be ruled chemo-resistant. I have been on more drugs than I can even recall and none of them have ever worked for very long and here we are again. The tumors in my left lung have progressed significantly and the right lung has new and larger growth than before. I knew this already. I knew this because breathing is harder and sometime when I cough the blood comes to remind me of the unwanted visitor in my body. I knew when I went to the doctor that day I would ask the question, and I knew I would ask even though the answer would make my mother run from the room and my father to leave too in search of her. How long?

So the doctor told me that if we were unlucky, I could expect about three more months and if this latest round of chemo drug should unlikely be helpful we might have six more months before I die. Three to six months to live is what he told me and so that is what I told Erin and Doug, there under the canopy of our shade trees, on the perfect summer day. They cried with me and promised to take care of me.

I later told Mattie and Allie that evening when we all had some quiet time together. We all cried and we all wished for more time, but my girls are strong and smart and we have been preparing for this time for awhile now. Each of them assured me they would be okay when the time comes. I shared with them my goals for them finish college, study abroad, be good people, fall in love with yourself first and then with someone who thinks you are just as special. If you choose to raise children, love them fiercely. Tell my grandchildren about me and about us and the special relationship we have where we can talk and laugh and cry together naturally. And I asked them to tell me what they need from me right now, in this time we have left, alone time together, a video to be viewed in the future, a trip together. How do we prepare for this coming day?

We’ve decided the next three to six months will not be a sad time for us. Although we know tears will flow and sometimes we will just need to hold onto each other and let the sadness have its way. We will try hard to enjoy every moment together and continue to have the conversations we need to have and make the memories we need to make.

I got a call on my cellphone. It was the medial supply van that had to deliver the oxygen tanks to my house for the day when I might need them. Can’t do it I said. I’m at the lake with my girls and two of my best friends in the entire world. Let’s put it off until next week. I’m busy making some memories today.


49 Responses to “my father cried”

  1. Holding you all in a group hug…..Enjoy this beautiful summer day and feel the love.

  2. I’m so sorry. For all of you. You’re strength in sharing this is inspiring and I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Larissa Forsythe Says:

    Ronnie, your strength, courage and fierce love can never be taken. God bless you and your family as you make memories together. Crying, praying and holding you and yours in my prayers. Peace.

  4. Karen Says:

    You are such an inspiration to all of us and your concern for your family is so heartfelt, thank you for sharing with us.

  5. Betsy Happel Says:

    Love. Love. Love.

  6. sharonsdaughter Says:

    Never letting you go.

    I’ll remember with them and I will fight and laugh until I have to mourn.

    Dad necks are the best. They know just how to hold your head as they’ve done it since you became theirs.

    Love You.

  7. Desiree Says:

  8. Barbara Jarvis Says:

    Ronnie, I know that it had to be hard for you to see your mom and dad cry. And yet, it is so great that all of you can show how you feel and not hide the emotions from each other. And , how great of you to feel your fathers’ safety and love and yet be strong enough to walk away and be a mom and wife.
    There are so many roles in life and you seem good at balancing them all.
    I am just so sad and admire you and want more time to be around such a wise and caring woman.

    Lots of Hugs

  9. Jackie Puzniak Says:

    Ronnie, I love you so much for the strong, courageous person you are. You have made wonderful decisions regarding your life. You take the bad and the good and mix them up and make something positive from it. I envy you for that gift. Your ability to open up and express your feelings and have people accept them as “YOUR” feelings is so special. This has probably helped coping with the roller coaster diagnoses. Honesty and trust is something that is difficult for people to share. You are a genius with it. As a result, you have shared with your loved ones and they are not afraid to show their pain with and for you. God bless you. I am not giving up.

  10. Sandy Says:

    Ronnie, I don’t really know what to say. I can tell you that I’ve been following your Blog for several months now and when I receive a notification that you posted something new, I experience a mixture of feelings. I’m excited because I absolutely love your writing style. You pull the reader into your life and it’s like being there with you. I also have a little bit of hope when I see that notification – hope that perhaps there’s been a breakthrough or a medication that has started working miraculously. Usually, though, the title of the post renders that hope short-lived – such as today’s title. I feel sadness too when I see that notification – sadness that you are going through something so horrible. I don’t even know you, yet I am convinced that you are one of the most genuine, amazing, inspiring women I’ve ever “met”. Those in your day-to-day life are truly blessed to have you in theirs.

    Please know that you and your family are in my Prayers.

    Sandy Ellis
    Founder, Fight Like a Girl Club

  11. Gina Says:


    Keeping you, your girls and husband, and your parents in prayer. I don’t have the right words to say, however I do know God knows your heart and is with all of you in your walk each day.

    God bless you~

  12. Melissa Says:

    God bless you Ronnie- Nothing is over until it is. Just believe and focus on enjoying your special time with family and friends and I will be praying that you prove that doctor wrong. May you find more peace and joy than anything else. I believe in miracles.

    I am sending you love, light and all that is bright.


  13. Mom3Girlz Says:

    You are all in my prayers. May we all strive for beautiful memories. *hugs*

  14. i will be joining you i am chemo resistant too.we are going to a better place no more pain and plenty of loved ones there. i am saved by JESUS.

  15. miah Williams Says:

    Please visit this site helped my mother heal her body of cancer just by changing her diet. Im a firm believer that it is possible to live cancer free without drugs.My heart goes out to you and your family. You all are in my prayers. God bless you.

  16. April Says:

    Ronnie, You and your family are in my prayers. Big hugs.

  17. robin Says:

    Ronnie I beleive GOD can do anything. Miracles happen everyday and doctors are at awe I am believing a miracle for you today and in my prayers for YOU Ronnie. JESUS is the HEALER! AMEN

  18. Charlene Mulcahy Says:

    Dear Ronnie, This is the first time I read your blog but believe me it will not be my last- to see the unconditional love that I see in your family I can tell they are all very special people. Your children will be stronger and determined to make your wishes and hopes for the a reality – God Bless you dear may all the universe surround you with love – Charlene Mulcahy

  19. Nicole Says:

    Words can not even describe how my heart feels after reading this. I know there is nothing that I can do but pray for you and your family. You have my thoughts and prayers. Continue to live like there is no tomorrow and make the memories with the ones that will be by your side till the end. Keep your strength and courage you are a very strong women Ronnie!

  20. pam arkley Says:

    What a beautiful story. You and your family are blessed to have had this special time together. Most families do not share the love you have.
    Prayers and love your way forever

  21. Elisha Hance Says:

    I pray you find a little more strength each day and enjoy every second. Within your post I gained the most wonderful advice that will stick with me. You said “Fall in love with yourself first and then with someone who thinks you are just as special.” Awesome advice!!

  22. Liz Says:

    Blessings to you, I know you don’t know
    me but I know you now through the Fight
    Like a Girl Club, I will never forget your
    story. I wish you and your family love,
    peace, and more love.

    All my best to you and your family Ronnie,
    accept a ((((((hug)))))) from a fellow
    girl fighter.

  23. Shirley Outlaw Says:

    I’m not sure what to say except that I am so sorry. I never had to hear those words during my treatment but was always on pins and needles! I have empathy in some ways at how you must be feeling and I just wish I could give you a hug. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.I found you by accident but have signed up to hear your posts. Bless you sweet lady<3

  24. Kristina Cohn Says:

    Ronnie, this is also my first time reading your blog. You are the true meaning of the word ‘warrior’. You and your family will be in my prayers. God Bless you all and wishing many more memories for you and your girls.

  25. God Bless You and Your Family. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with you all. Kathy

  26. Sonya Says:

    This was my first time reading ,,,,,,,I cried, I cry because I wonder why God allowed me to make it through the cancer when others don’t, It just doesn’t seem fair, when sometimes it seems I have so little to give the world and others have so much to give, but I also celebrate the love your family has for you,Three months after I was dignosed my husband left.I know that with my family history I have not seen the end of cancer,I can only pray that when and if it comes again I can handle it with as much class and strengh as you are doing .You inspire me.You are an inspiration. I agree with Robin, Miracles happen every day .My positive thoughts and Prayers are with you and your family……

  27. melissa park Says:

    God bless you and keep you in his loving arms. You are and always will be an inspiration to us all. Thank you.

  28. Jacquie Johnson Says:

    Ronnie, I believe in miracles and the God who grants them. Praying for you and your family.

  29. Letty Says:

    I am Saying a prayer for you and your Family. You have so much courage. As I read this I think about my sister and brother whom are both fighting cancer. My sister breast cancer stage 4 (twice)and my brother lymphoma. I have never seen my father cry even when they amputated his leg but when we got word of my brother having cancer he cried. He thought to himself “why”. Having two of your children having cancer. He felt helpless. Your family is like mine. We won’t give up even if you want to we will be there no matter what.

  30. Mary Says:

    I am sorry I just now happened upon your blog thru Facebook. I know I have missed tons of info that would make it easier for me to pray for not just you, but those you have mentioned who mean the world to you, and who you are focused on right now. I have a feeling that God will know with 110% certainty who I mean by Ronnie and all of her loved ones tho. Bless you, and those you love. You will be here forever thru them!!

  31. Shawnda Hoffman Says:

    Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers..You have amazing strength and courage.You are a true “Warrior”.. ❤

  32. Becca Says:

    My prayers and thoughts are with you. Sadly I know how your children are feeling. I lost my Daddy to lung cancer just over a year ago. I am holding your children in extra prayers.

  33. perla Says:

    Im so sorry. My heart goes out to u. U will b in my prayers stay strong. Kerp ur head up n thanks for sharing

  34. oregonrain Says:

    I’ve placed a candle on my alter and a prayer in my heart that you will be with your loved ones for many years to come. I wish you the strength you’ll need so that you will be able to continue to fight. Others mention miracles, I will join them in that prayer for you and devote time in my daily meditations as well. Bless you and your loved ones. Peace

  35. mjozeller Says:

    A wonderfully touching blog about a very personal moment in time. I wish yours was lasting longer. I pray that it does. Thanks for the courage to share. Beautifully written. God bless you all. Jo.

  36. Vicky Says:

    Amazing lady, amazing family. Prayers and love go out to you. Consider yourselfs hugged. Don’t waste a minute! Love to you and yours.

  37. Jamie Hogan Says:

    I’ve said this elsewhere, but I can say it again here. It is simply not just chance that a person becomes a vessel for penetrating wisdom. A higher power chooses with insight and bestows on them that profound ability to share their grace and goodness, aura and attitude. I am so blessed to know you as a dear friend and a divine spirit whose heart beats to spread a contagion of acceptance and honors the choice you make each day to live with intention. You, dear Ronnie, are that person whose spark has touched my life and inspired me in ways I could not have ever imagined. I love you.

    • Virginia Says:

      Hi Ronnie … I got to your blog via Sandys fight like a girl page on facebook …. I have been reading your blog since Sandy posted your post about your recent news … I have found your journey inspiring … and I had to write here just under what Jamie said as I think those words resonate with me so much ….you truly are a vessel for penetrating wisdom ..and your heart beats to spread a contagion of acceptance and honours the choice you make each day to live with intention … those are just such heart felt words Jamie has written there …. your story is touching so many lives … even little ‘ol me all the way over here in Australia … I always say attitude is everything and your attitude is totally inspiring and your honesty and ability to share your story is reaching out to so many people .. … thank you for sharing your journey with family friends and total strangers like me …. I have had stage 3/ grade 3 invasive aggressive Breast cancer (2010) and can only hope that if I ever have to face what you are now facing that I can be as brave strong and live what ever time I had left with gratitude and love as you are…. I am sending positive thoughts and love to you dear Ronnie … Virginia xxoo

  38. scott Says:

    it’s not over yet…keep making your memories, holding your family close and know that friends across the country (globe?) are thinking of you this whole time. tackle your bucket list, travel, laugh, cry, and live life as you always have!

  39. Jeff Says:

    enjoy every moment from here forward. i’m in your corner and sending positive energy to you everday.

  40. Tami Says:

    Praying for strength for you and your family and an end to cancer so that that others will not know our pain. Hugs!

  41. Marge Says:

    Ronnie keep making those memories as long as you can. Love to your whole family. Prayers hour way.

  42. Tammy Chamblee Says:

    Sending you and yours prayer, love, rainbows, sunshine, and many hugs.

  43. keri Says:

    So much strength and love in your words, and in all the above comments from those you’ve deeply touched. That love and strength will endure all. I love you.

  44. Judi L. Says:

    I don’t remember what my father’s voice sounded like, he died when I was 11. I am 41 and I still wish I could remember what my name sounded like when he said it. So now I have lymphoma and was so scared that my son would not remember what I sound like, so I recorded myself talking to him so he remembers. I also did myself reading some of his favorite children’s books so that maybe one day he will play them for his children. I also wish I could remember my father’s hands. I traced my hand, so when he misses me, he can put his hand “on mine” and I can hold his hand forever. Much love to you.

  45. Margrett Patton Says:

    Sending all my hugs and prayers your way!

  46. birdies Says:

    You got the dx that so many of us who have/had cancer fear. I’m so very sorry. I also know there is courage, and then there is the real and vulnerable you, often in the middle of the night. Blessings to you on this part of your life journey. May you and your family find peace in the anguish, and comfort in whatever places and people come into your lives during this time.

  47. Ronnie, you are an amazing person and I feel blessed to have met you. I’m just sorry that I didn’t work at Maryville long enough to become better friends with you and your family. Feifei, Imri, and I will be praying for you and your family. I will ask for others to pray for you all too. You have unbelievable strength and a family to match. Be strong and love life every single day.

  48. theodocius Says:

    Your writings provide succinct and wonderfully inciteful vignettes of very personal moments. Clarity of thought wrung from powerful events and emotions.

    The terms ‘fighter’,’warrior’, etc. are inadequate. Expressing a hope for miracles somehow seems to connote victimhood. You are none of those things. If anything, you are a Role Model and Teacher…..of Living, Loving, Parenting, and yes, Dying. People are remembered by how they lived and treated others. You will inspire, instruct, and be remembered long and well, apparently by many. Few have that impact on others.

    We think of you and Doug often.

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