So, instead of posting directly on Facebook or texting everyone, I think this is the most fitting place to explain about the shift my life is about to take. I still feel a little odd talking so personally and directly about my family and my life online, but taking a page from St. Gertrude’s book (see my previous post), I figure that being open and honest can’t really hurt.
I’ve alluded to this throughout my blog so far, but here goes. My dad was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and his prognosis is approximately 6 months to 1-2 years (I mean, who knows, but that’s what statistics say). He just retired this summer and moved from Alaska down to the Seattle area, and that’s when his body finally caught up to him. He and my mom got divorced a couple years ago, and so he is living on his own in a rental house. The rest of his family lives in Texas and northern California.
I say all this to give background for my decision to leave the Monastery of St. Gertrude’s and move back to Seattle to live with and help my dad. I will probably be back near Seattle in early December, assuming I figure out a ride around that time.
It’s obviously a difficult situation. I love it here. I am going to miss the sisters a lot, and I feel pretty stinking guilty to be leaving the program before even the half-way mark. But, all the same, don’t go fretting that I’m making a huge sacrifice or something, please. I know perfectly well the reasons I’m going back, and I know they are good ones. It doesn’t make it easy, but I think it makes it worth it.
I haven’t really spent much time with my dad in the last four years–okay, maybe eight years–because I’ve been focused on school, friends, growing up, and all the stuff that normal teenage and young adults focus on. And I don’t regret that, but it’s become a fact that time is running out. if I want to have an adult relationship with my dad, it’s now or never. Literally.
it’s going to be very hard. I go back and forth between trying not to be a debbie-downer about it while also being realistic. Even now, I know it is definitely going to be the hardest thing I have ever done, and very possibly the hardest thing I ever will do. I’ll basically be helping my dad prepare for death, including sorting through all of his stuff, trying to make sure everything’s in order… (Okay, see, I don’t even know what has to happen! But I suppose it’s time to start learning.) And also hopefully making what time he has left as useful and comfortable as possible. But I just keep thinking of how some of the sisters here still have living parents, and I think about how this is just not supposed to be something you deal with when you’re twenty something. But, then, people do it, don’t they? And they come out stronger people on the other side.
Anyway, that’s what’s going on. So, when I suddenly text you to see if you’re free to hang out in December, maybe you won’t be as surprised.