April 11th, 1973 & 2013: The original diary, journaling dad's fight with cancer, came to a halt in the early part of April, 1973. I'd grown bored of writing. Or, my defense mechanisms took over, and I didn't care to chronicle what was happening to him. What we were seeing him become. However. There are some specific incidents I remember from that month. 40 years later, I'm finally getting them recorded in these sporadic, April blogs. My original diary picks up again in early May.
The rain... All this rain in the past couple of days reminds me of another scene that took place in our kitchen. Pittsfield and the area had been getting plenty of rain in 1973, around this very same time. In fact, it eventually led to a big flood that spring. One of the worst in many years. Not as severe as the 1993 flood. But close.
Dad's condition was really worsenening. And it was getting worse, day by day. April was a month where he was in and out of Illini Hospital. By this point, I believe the cobalt treatments were near complete, or completed. They'd been a complete failure. He was losing weight and energy by the day. This is not exaggeration.
But, during this one rainy spell. It must have been early-mid April, just like now, he was home. The kitchen was yet again, the scene of this incident. Dad was in his robe, looking skinny and gaunt. The kitchen sink was a two bay sink. Located at the southeast corner of the room, it was set right in the that corner of the countertop. You could stand at the sink and have a nice view out two windows. One faced east, to a big, blue spruce tree. One faced south to the patio.
Dad was standing there at the sink, kind of hunched over. His head was bowed down some, but he appeared to be looking out the windows. From where I was sitting, at the kitchen table, the scene looked like that famous black and white photograph of John F. Kennedy, also hunched over, silhouetted against the windows of the oval office.
I wandered over to him. He'd been standing there for a couple of minutes. I'm not sure where mom was at this time. I saw why he was facing away from me. He had tears in his eyes.
"What's the matter, dad," I asked? "Nothing," he answered. "I just wish it would quit raining."
Gloom. Gloomy outside. Gloomy inside.