Papa, Searching for Me – Guest Blogs

Response to announcement of the Book Club has been really tremendous – almost 600 visits in the past two days.  I really feel as if the site is reaching people now.  I was able to add about thirty new blog sites also and am working on more.  In the process of visiting other sites I ran across several candidates for Guest Blog.  In the end I decided to use two that I found to be particularly appealing.

The first post is from Marilou’s reflections in which she so eloquently describes how she still feels the presence of her father decades after his death.  This theme goes to one of the discussion questions for the book club – the legacy of memory that we might leave to our children or grandchildren.


I woke up this morning at 4 am to my stomach cramping. The birds were beginning their morning chirp. For some reason this morning, the sound of the birds was like music to my ears. I went to sleep at 7:30 last night .. lately that’s when fatigue gets the better of me and I either fall asleep on the couch downstairs telling my partner i’m “just napping”. Last night, I decided i’m going to bed — no intermediate step!

At 4:15 this morning I lit the candles in my meditation/writing room and lit the lavendar incense. My rushing mind kept wandering, and with every breath I brought myself back to the present moment and to the quiet, peaceful room. I could feel the presence of Missy and Mister sleeping soundly on the sage LL Bean bed with Ahnung’s name printed on it. Every morning they snuggle up next to each other as I engage in my morning routine of meditation and writing. Ahnung chooses to sleep in the living room, on the red couch.

In the quiet and darkness of the early morning, I felt my father’s presence so strongly this morning. I know he’s always with me. Today, for some reason, the feeling was overwhelming. I could feel the presence, the light, the love and the comfort of my father … to me, he is “Papa.” Every day I wear around my neck a gold necklace with a diamond heart — a necklace he gave to my mother when they were dating in the late 1950s. My father, from Thailand … and my mother, from the Philippines … somehow their paths took them to the other end of the world to the small town of Bloomington, Indiana to attend Indiana University. My father came to work on his Master’s of Optometry, and my mother her Master’s in Education. It was there that they met, fell in love, got married and traveled back to the other end of the world to raise a family. Little did my mom know that seven years later she would make the long trek back to the United States, with a 7 yr old, 5 yr old and a 4 yr old, in a desperate attempt to save the love of her life as doctors in Thailand told her “he’s dying. There is nothing we can do.”

I lost my father when I was 4. At the young age of 39 he was abruptly ripped from our lives. One of my strongest memories of him is of how he used to always carry me and how I always felt safe in his arms. There have been times when I have felt like I missed out on not having a father growing up. Most of the times though I feel grateful — he has always been with me, in my heart and in my spirit. There are days, like today, when he reminds me that he is right with me by filling every cell in my body with the light and love of his presence.

I was his “baby” … in August I will be turning 45 and I am proud to say, that I am still his “baby” and he is and will always be “papa” to me.

Marilou’s reflections

This second post is really heartbreaking meditation from Robin on the passing of her husband, Donnie, from esophageal cancer.  It is probably a familiar rendition of the feelings of the survivor in a cancer relationship that claims one life.  The task of redefining oneself, of seeking a new and unwanted normal.  I am sure that the sympathies of our cancer community go out to Robin.  From their blog Somebody Stop the World

searching for me

I’ve been told so many times throughout my life that everything happens for a reason. And a big part of me believes that. I just don’t know that I can ever understand the reason that I have been given this cross to bear.

I am searching for answers, searching for my one day, searching for my new normal. But the last 2 years have been such turmoil I wonder if that can ever happen.

I feel like each time I take a step, I fall. But I get back up. Hopefully each time I get back up it will make me stronger and maybe one day I will be strong enough to bear this cross I have been given

It’s been 7 weeks since I’ve seen Donnie. It feels like an eternity. Time ticks by so slowly when you are in pain. Minutes can seem like hours. Not a day goes by that I haven’t missed him terribly. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t called his phone to listen to his voicemail because I miss the sound of his voice. Some days I call many times.

I am confused as to how I am supposed to move on with my life without him. He was my best friend. We shared everything. So many times each day I want to call him to tell him about what is going on in my day. I wonder how and when I will ever feel like “me” again without him.

I know what he wanted me to do. He told me. Many times in fact. He wanted me to be able to move on with my life and not get caught up in my grief. He wanted me to be happy again and go on with my life. I know that is what he wanted me to do but it is easier said than done. I think he would understand how much I miss him.

But each day I get up and I try again. I try to find that new normal. It’s painful, each step I take without him is so hard. It would be so much easier to crawl in the bed and shut out the world. But it wasn’t what he wanted me to do. And honestly it’s not what I want to do either. So I take each day as it comes and I keep flashlight walking and hopefully it will get at least a little bit easier everyday and maybe one day I will be able to see further than just a few steps ahead.

So even though it isn’t easy, I get out of bed each day and search for “me” and that new normal and I hope that it will come. Still looking for that “one day”. But until that day comes, the one thing that brings me comfort is that one day I know that I will see him again. And what a great day that will be.

Somebody Stop the World


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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