amw (amw) wrote,

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cancer sucks

I just realized i never wrote about the weekend i spent with my dad before we left Australia. There was just too much else going on, but you know it was one of the best weekends i've had. It was literally the first time i'd seen him since i lived in California. There's so much we've missed... those occasional emails we send back and forth don't capture much. I think the best thing was going to the market with him and seeing him work those stall owners to get the best deal on all the best fruit and veges. He made us the most amazing roast chicken salad. Something about my dad, he really knows how to live, even when things are shit, he has passion for art and food and all the small things that make life good. He's on my Facebook now, not that that's close to real communication. I miss him a lot.

I think he's really scared of cancer. His mom - my nan - died when i was about 8 years old. I don't remember much because i was in New Zealand and she was in England. I don't even know where she's buried. Then a few years ago his sister died - i barely knew her, or my cousins. So did his best friend from college - my godfather. His step-mother died last year. His dad, my own grandpa who apparently doesn't even know i'm Alison, he's still in the Philippines and fighting. I wonder how it feels to be the only person left in your family who doesn't have that fucking disease?

My opa on my mom's side has cancer too. He's in the Netherlands and still fighting. I lit a candle for him when i did the Relay for Life in March this year. I wanted to light more candles, for my step-brother's 3-year-old who died last year, for all of my dad's family, for T's dad, for everyone. I did light one for my 21-year-old sister-in-law, who was a survivor leading off that walk round the track i stayed on all night long.

I've been so distant from it because it's always happening on the other side of the world from where i am living. I've been writing to my opa over the past year or so. I put work first when i had the opportunity to go up see him last year. Is that me trying to avoid facing it? Or just avoiding family gatherings in general? My dad has flown up to the Philippines God knows how many times over the last few years. I haven't been to England since 1987, Europe since 1997 and New Zealand since 1998. I've never been to the Philippines. I've been so focused on America, it's the only place i want to spend my money visiting. I wonder if - God forbid - something happened to my parents how far i'd go? Would i fly back to Australia or New Zealand? My mom has only seen her dad once since he told the family. I don't think she can handle it, though she always stays tough about it, like it ain't no thing. I fear i might be more like my mom than my dad.

That's why i need to see my dad more. I love him and i need to know him, i need more of him in me. There's good and bad in my mom and dad both, and you gotta draw the best of both your parents to make you who are... I just feel like i haven't really had the chance to get to know my dad the way i should. We haven't really spent time together since i was a kid. I filled in my immigration forms saying he was born in Kenya, he spent his childhood there, and i realized i don't even know any of this shit, i don't really know anything about him. I think perhaps there is a lot of him in me but i just don't know it, or maybe it hasn't come out completely.

He gave us the most amazing wedding gift, these framed pieces of etched leather, Maori art that has been in our family for as long as i can remember. God, i hope the boat carrying our stuff doesn't sink. There are some memories in there i would be heartbroken to lose.

I need to talk and this journal is all i have.

Yes, i am procrastinating. I am finding it hard to do any "real" work right now. I guess i should get out of bed and eat something. That means i need to be sociable because it's J's mom's day off. Sigh.
Tags: family

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