2020 was off to a good start until we hit day 50; On Wednesday, February 19th, everything changed when mom had a feeling in the pit of her stomach after a phone conversation with Papa. He wasn’t well. So mom abruptly left work and drove across the state to find Papa in the Intensive Care Unit at the Milwaukee VA Hospital.
We were supposed to attend the Greater Milwaukee International Car & Truck Show that weekend with my car-loving Papa, but instead, Dad brought us kiddos to the hospital, too, hoping we might be medicine for Papa’s soul.
And while we did manage to bring a smile to Papa’s face, particularly when we took him for a spin in his new set of wheels, we were no cure for the diagnosis that Papa was suddenly facing: Cancer.
I don’t know much about that little word, but in the moment, it felt bigger than I could handle, especially as I studied my mom’s saddened face. And even though we were soon joined by loving family and close friends, I understood that this was not a happy reunion.
It was hard to see Papa like that, but it was even harder to leave him and return to school. Since my heart knew these moments were precious, I sobbed uncontrollably once he was out of my sight.