Father’s Day Reflections

This Father’s Day was bittersweet. After many years of being in Washington, D.C. during Father’s Day, I’m home with my father. However, the reason I am home is quite devastating. About two weeks ago, I learned that my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. I quickly rushed to Chicago to be by his side as he fights this disease. I never imagined that I would have buried one parent and be the sole caregiver (during this time) for the other at the age of 29.

I’ve jumped head first into the caregiving role—it is exhausting. There is no doubt that I am where I’m supposed to be, but I’d be lying if I said it has been easy. I’ve been here for four days and I’ve been juggle cooking, cleaning, paying his bills, accompanying him to doctor’s appointments, washing clothes, etc. As a person who needs “me time” quite often, I have to take it when I’m able. I definitely enjoy those walks to Target or to the grocery store where I can clear my head or staying up late to write because it’s quiet. It’s hectic but there is no place I’d rather be.

He needed me here and, honestly, I needed to be here. Ironically, his sickness accelerated my return to Chicago (I planned to leave in early-September). It broke me free from the “cycle of misery” that I was living with in D.C. Obviously, I didn’t want to come back under these circumstances, but it was time. I was so miserable. I struggled with depression, battled emotional eating, entered bad/destructive relationships, sought gratification in the wrong areas, cried in random places, etc. I don’t know how to further emphasize that I had been a “hot mess” for quite some time. I tried to hide it as best as I could, but I’ve always been transparent with my feelings so I’m not sure I did a good job.

This journey is not going to be easy—it just began—but I know this is right. This feels right. Living in D.C. no longer felt right. More importantly, I couldn’t imagine him going through treatment alone while I was thousands of miles away. It’s a lonely existence sometimes. I don’t have my network of friends here like I do in D.C. but I keep moving. I need to be there for my father and that is what I’m focusing on these days.

I’m thankful for God for the strength to do this because I’m definitely not able to do this on my own. I pray for patience quite often! I also thank friends who have reached out to me and prayed for me. As I’ve previously stated, it’s hard but even in the midst of this storm I feel peace that I’m doing the right thing. I’m here standing with my father and we’re fighting this together. It’s not a matter of me being a good daughter—it’s a matter of doing what’s right. I don’t know if people assume that I wouldn’t come back to be with him, but in my mind there was no other option.

My father has provided for me, instilled wonderful values in me, taught me the importance of putting God first, pushed me to follow my dreams, set the standard of how men treat me and loved me unconditionally. If I can do take care of him during this time of need then that is only a fraction of what he’s done for me. I know it will never compare but I’m so glad to have this opportunity to be there for him.

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One thought on “Father’s Day Reflections

  1. Brandi,

    I would like to think that I have aided and abetted you on some of the journeys that you’ve had in DC or at the least I was in the back seat making off hand comments. Nevertheless, I have to voice my opinion that you left DC at just the right time. This past year you entered into your event planning program and these past few months you were racking in the practicum hours. God doesn’t lead you without equipping you and everything you were doing in DC up until this point has readied you for this moment. You are now managing someone else’s life not just an event and I don’t know anyone more prepared to do it than you. You are shopping, cleaning and cooking (yay for turkey legs!) like someone who has been managing a household for years and we all know you are #teamnokids.

    You flew back to Chicago like a SUPERHERO at exactly the right time to save the day! You are a true inspiration to me. In fact I’ve been inspired by you ever since your mother passed which was the first time I saw you save the day. I love how you put aside everything you’re going through to help your family, coming from one only child to another, you have an unselfish attitude that is quite admirable. You’re right you’re pretty transparent which is how I know that you’re kicking butt and taking names right now when it comes to this caretaking position. So kudos and keep up the good work!

    Love You,

    April

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