Two thirds of the most important men in my life are about to be bald.
In the year 2008, over 15,500 American's will hear the words, "You have esophogeal cancer." Just under 14,000 of those people will die from the disease. We live our lives certain that we are born with an internal ammunition to keep killers like cancer away from ourselves and those we so dearly love. We lock our immune system up with vitamins and we prepare our bodies for battle by running and sweating, and eating brussel sprouts - not because we ever think that we've go to war with cancer, but because we know that by doing so, we will intimidate the beast enough to hide from us,and loom instead, in the shadows of others.
My dad is a shining example of just such a healthy soldier - cautious and wise in his lifestyle, his biggest crime has been tying one on every now and then, an act that I am convinced has kept him young at heart. Yet, despite his effort to scare the enemy away, he has been sent off to battle one of the cruelest cancer enemies: esophogeal cancer.
And now, I watch him sit at the table, eating dinner slowly - his chemo bag hanging gently against his hip, and I think, "How the hell did this happen? How in God's name could this be happening?" He looks at me and smiles as my big, brown, and voluntarily bald boyfriend says, "I can help you shave your head, Jim. I've had practice."
Never in my life would I have imagined that my boyfriend and my father would be together, in the bathroom, shaving their heads.
Never in my life would I have imagined tucking my father into bed in the room next to me, promising him that things will look brighter in the morning.
Never in my life would I have imagined telling my dad that he can't leave the table until his plate is clean.
I guess never's day has come.
In the year 2008, over 15,500 American's will hear the words, "You have esophogeal cancer." Just under 14,000 of those people will die from the disease.
My dad will never be one of them.