I am very excited to ask for your help! If my dad or one of his children or grandchildren has done something that blessed your life or brought you joy, will you please send one of us a note about it? We’d like to read him the notes this week.
My dad is a one-in-a-million kind of guy. He has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for 38 years. The medications initially prescribed for this caused a crippling back condition called tardive diskynesia. Despite this combination of difficulties, he maintained steady employment for 30 years. Additionally, he and my mother supported and raised six children.
Several years ago, doctors found that dad was not getting enough oxygen, due to the way his organs had been moved around by the tardive diskynesia. About two years ago, they found that my dad had gal-bladder cancer and was in stage 3. It’s very rare to find it at stage three. They operated and removed the gal-bladder, which was the size of a grapefruit. At that time they also found that the cancer had moved into the liver, and removed everything cancerous that they could find. Since then, my dad has been given two prognosis’ for remaining lifetime, and he’s beaten both of them. And it has been a great blessing to have this extra time with him.
However, his time is up. The cancer in his liver returned last year. He went through several rounds of chemotherapy, but it was too harsh on his already debilitated body. And that body, dilapidated from years of struggle and harsh medications, is not a good candidate for further lifesaving measures.
Perhaps hardest of all, schizophrenia challenges him to see the good that has come from his nearly 66 years of life. I spent the last week at my parent’s house as dad finally agreed to hospice assistance. All of the children visited. Dad’s parents and all of his siblings visited. Some neighbors visited. I put something up on Facebook in the middle of the week, and extra messages of love and support came in. Thank you for these!
We participated in a special prayer, called a priesthood blessing, on Friday night. In that prayer we were instructed that the last great blessing for my dad is to be able to see clearly. To see the good that has come from his life. To know that he has done all he could do. This is no simple task for a schizophrenic, or any normal person for that matter. A few weeks ago my dad called the thoughts in his head “obsessions”. One of these obsessions is that medically retiring from the Army was cowardly. When this happened he had already served an honorable full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He had also graduated from ROTC. But his first nervous breakdown happened a few weeks after starting basic training for an 8 year term of military service. And that was just a few weeks after witnessing the birth of his first son! Another is that his adult life, particularly when the six children were home, was marred with angry outbursts unfitting a true disciple of Jesus Christ. But he definitely does not behave that way now, and has no desire to do ill to anyone. And honestly, what could anyone expect of someone in constant pain, year after year? His family has frankly forgiven him long ago; his continued sincerity is moving and compelling; and our desire to emulate the good we still see him do grows daily.
As a paranoid schizophrenic, he may well be more afraid to die than most. But all our family has for him his love. Please send your notes. They will help him to see clearly and find the peace he needs to move on.
Update: My dad has passed away peacefully. Thanks to all those who sent loving and kind words to him. He heard and loved them all. We have all been touched by your kindness and will treasure these notes forever.