April 2nd, 1973: Dad went to see Dr. Bunting about his neck today. But Dr. Bunting swears up and down that it's not malignant. But he did give dad all kinds of pills. And dad just rested tonight.
April 2nd, 2013: I sounded like a "broken record." Always and still the optimist. Even though there was a lump in dad's neck. It didn't grow by magic. It was very likely cancerous. Had to have been. The disease was spreading upwards in his body.
Dr. Bunting would certainly not deceive my dad, or parents, with a diagnosis. The only thing I can think of, and it's taken me 40 years to put two and two together, is that my parents may not have been telling me the whole truth. Telling the truth was probably dad's number one rule in life. Certainly in the top two or three. But being too truthful with a 14 year old kid about the fact that cancer is killing you, would probably cause more trauma than necessary for the kid.
Later in life, even now, sometimes it takes awhile for me to figure things out on my own. Despite the cynicism and sarcasm, there's an optimism. I hope for the best. It's a natural defense mechanism to filter out the cold, hard facts in some situations. I was a lot more innocent then than now. My parents were probably not telling me the whole truth. Whatever they would say, I hung on every word.
It would take a blunt statement from Aunt Betty, in the next few weeks ahead, to make me understand where this was headed. I don't fault my parents if the "white lies" route was the route they were taking at the time. All I have to do is put myself in their shoes. Who knows what is right or wrong in those circumstances? No parent would tell a six year old they were dying. If I'd been 17 or 18, I would deserve the truth, and probably know the truth. 14 was an awkward age for me to fully comprehend what was happening. Maybe I really knew? I can't answer that question 40 years later.
I must have known enough. I was figuring it out. We were watching dad decline day by day. There had been a lapse of seven days of not making diary entries while we were visiting Lynn. Then, there was a more recent lapse of five days. In the past, I chalked those lapses up to denial or laziness. Likely, laziness.
But my original diary entry on April 2nd, 1973, would be my last one until May 2nd. A whole month.
This couldn't be laziness. I think this is the point where my mind involuntarily shut down my desire to put my thoughts and observations in writing. It was becoming really real. More sad and painful. Subconsciously, the defense mechanism kicked in. Not even wanting to write a diary like Jerry Kramer's "Instant Replay" was worth it.
Dad was soon to begin a series of extended hospital stays, becoming a physical wreck. And when the disease finished his body, it took his mind.
There are some details, incidents, and stories I remember from April of that year. Not the specific days they occurred, but what happened. A couple are actually pretty humorous.
In the next four weeks. Between today and May 2nd, I'll write 3-5 blogs and describe what was going on during that month of April.