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15

Ask Jennifer: How Did You Hide Your Worry About Your Father’s Mesothelioma?


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If I had a superpower, it would be worrying. You name it, I worry about it. As much as I try to stop, it’s something that just seems impossible to me; however, with a lot of praying, it’s starting to get better.

Even so, when my Dad started to fall ill, I began to panic. I played out every scenario of what could be wrong, how we would handle it, and ultimately what the happy outcome would be. (Even though I worry, I’m an optimist… odd juxtaposition, I know.) One thing that I never thought of was mesothelioma. I knew next to nothing about it and thought it was something that you just saw on commercials. There was no way it was happening to my father.

People sometimes ask me how I managed my worrying tendencies during these trying times. The answer is, I didn’t. I tried my best to hide it, especially in front of Dad, but I think that everyone saw through my act. Even at the moments where my strength may have appeared to peak, I was completely broken inside. I don’t know how I made it through any of it; I take that back, I only made it through because of God.

A lot of the time, I tried to put on a happy face and pretend that I wasn’t concerned. After we received good news, we celebrated, and I was absolutely thrilled each time, but in the back of my mind, that old fear always seemed to creep in. I thanked God for the joy, but wondered when the next wave of sadness would begin.

Still today, even though we’re approaching the four year anniversary of his passing, there is still sadness in my heart from his loss. It’s true that I am extraordinarily happy with my husband and daughter, and with my family who loves me unconditionally, but there is still a piece missing that could make that happiness even more amplified. I am constantly questioning what Dad would be doing today if he were here, or what would he think about certain situations. I always want to send him a picture of my child or tell him the funny thing she said, just to hear his beautiful laugh.

A piece of me is missing without Dad, but what is also missing is the worry I carried for him. I am certain that he is in Heaven where there is no worry or sickness. He is free from this awful disease. I know that he is looking down on me, and that he doesn’t want me to worry about him anymore; he is with God, laughing and smiling each and every second.

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