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Thank you Caregivers: A Father’s Day Letter

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaJuly 23, 2019View more posts from Jennifer Anand

As we continue to focus July’s content on caregivers, Jen Anand digs out from her archives a letter to her Father thanking him for all the help and support he has been during her cancer journey.  This is a big thank you to all the amazing caregivers out there!  We can’t do this without you.

Dear Dad,

My first cancer brought us closer than I think we’ve ever been.  You took every Monday off work, to take me to the hospital.  We had the long drive to the hospital and back to be together, and all day at the hospital to get to know each other better.  That cancer helped me better understand your love for me.  You bought me so many things, and said yes to almost anything I asked, because you knew how badly I was hurting, and tried to soothe my pain.

I remember the first time that I realized how much you wished you could make all my hurt go away…I wanted so badly to go to the concert that my friend had invited me too.  It was the first free Friday night we had had in weeks.  I knew you had had a busy week at work, and could really use a proper dinner and a quiet night at home.  But you sacrificed all that so that we could go to the concert.  I had to eat my evening meds when we finally got home after midnight.  That’s when I realized just how much you loved me- when you choked back tears as you told me how badly you wished you could take the pain and pills away from me, when you said you hoped the concert gave me a few happy minutes, a reprieve from the daily battle I was facing.

I remember the day they confirmed the cancer had returned.  You cried in the car, and prayed for me.  You often stayed at the hospital during my BMT (bone marrow transplant).  I know the bed was really just an uncomfortable couch, the constant movement and lights in the hall didn’t let you sleep well, and the food usually wasn’t the best, but I never once heard you complain.  You bought me necklaces or earrings nearly weekly.  You mailed me those cute little stickers, and bought me stationery.  Remember when you hunted for butterscotch candies? Or when you walked across the street to buy me a bagel for breakfast, because I wouldn’t eat hospital food? Or when you found lactose free milk and yogurt for me? I could whisper “Dad” in the middle of the night, and I always knew that you would be right by my side.

This year has been six years since my last cancer, and seven since my first. You found me a house, and fixed so many things on it. Last week, you drove 45 minutes one way, so I didn’t have too, to return the purse I forgot at home. You always are making sure I’m OK and try so hard to reduce the things I have to do. I don’t know what I did to deserve a person like you to be my dad.

You’re the most generous person I know. Whether it be money or time, you always are giving, whether it be to your family or to others in need. The older I grow, the more I realize how much you’ve personally sacrificed to give me a good life, and wonderful memories to carry through a life time.
They say hindsight is 20/20.  I know I’ve gotten mad at you, talked back, griped, and often not behaved as I should. I’m sorry.  Hindsight has shown me that everything you’ve done, you’ve done because you loved me, and you tried to give me the best that you could.  Thank you for the opportunities you’ve given, the doors you’ve opened, and your support and guidance to see me through. I remember all the research you did on the best cancer treatments. You’d print them, and bring them to the appointments, to review with the oncologists. As annoyed as I was then, I’ve realized you did it to try to make sure the doctors were doing their best.
You’ve helped me gain a closer relationship to God through a closer relationship to you.  You’ve been willing to take my pain and suffering on yourself, just like Jesus took our sins on Himself. You’ve always been there for me when I needed you, and I trust God will let you be there for me for many more years.
I’m going to close now; I can’t ever write everything you’ve taught me through your actions or words, or all the instances that I’ve felt your love to me, because it would fill pages.  Thank you for being my dad.  As I write this, I wish you were here with me. I miss you. And I love you.
Happy Father’s Day!

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