A few nights ago, as I was preparing to return to Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, we decided to have an impromptu game night with my dad. He has stage 4 lung cancer and has just finished a rigorous 7-week schedule of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He hasn’t been feeling well enough to do much more than watch television and sleep.
Friday was a beautiful exception to this norm. My father was up and moving all day, eating well, and even enjoyed a couple of family visitors in the mid-afternoon.
Because of COVID-19, we have been limiting interactions outside of the immediate family to protect my dad. I’ve been traveling between Wisconsin and Missouri but being very cautious about interactions to avoid illness. We hosted two of my stepmother’s sisters on Friday for a short visit. Dad really seemed to enjoy the interactions.
My brother and his wife and children brought dinner later that evening and we enjoyed some great family time eating. Growing up with dad, dinner was always an important time of the day for our family. That hasn’t changed as we’ve gotten older. In fact, now it seems even more important. It’s our chance to talk and check in on his condition and mood. During this time, we also get a chance to share our interests. This week, my dad picked a movie for us to watch. I didn’t enjoy the movie but I enjoyed the time together.
After a pretty great dinner, we decided to play a card game. I wasn’t expecting dad to join us as he is usually too tired or in too much pain to sit still for long periods of time at the table. He surprised me and joined in. We had a fantastic time playing Jumanji Fluxx.
It was nostalgic for me, to play games with my brother and father. So many rainy childhood days had been spent playing chess or checkers or monopoly. And now, I’ve gotten to share a piece of that magic with my youngest son.
I know as my father gets sicker in teh future that this was one of those nights that will live on in my memories. I will carry it with me forever, though I hope to have a chance to create more of these memories with him before he leaves us.