Dad died April 1, 2004 of esophageal cancer. I was down in Texas taking care of him back then. In the months preceding his death, a tumor in his esophagus left him unable to swallow anything that could not fit through a straw. This made eating quite a challenge. If that wasn’t bad enough, Dad also suffered from dementia (possibly from cancer in his brain) so he really didn’t understand or remember that he had to be very careful about what he ate.
Occasionally though, I'd get really hungry for some "chewable" food and sneak off to get a "Whataburger". The first time I did it, I sat in the restaurant and ate. When I walked into the house an hour later Dad asked me where the hamburgers. He could smell them from my clothes.
After that, whenever I would get the burger buzz, I'd used the drive-thru, then I'd park a block or so away from home and eat in the car. After I finished, I'd bury the trash outside under what was already in the can and leave the car windows open to make sure there was no burger aroma to give me away.
It was one of those sad/funny/guilt inducing things that you do when someone you love has cancer and you're the primary caregiver. As I sat in the car back then, I'd feel silly and guilty, with my heart aching because of what Dad was going through.
The worst was probably dealing with the dementia. Dad couldn't remember why he couldn't eat or what the problem was. It was a constant struggle, but we were blessed with a strong and loving relationship of trust in each other and God got us through that oh, so difficult time. As hard as it was, it was also one of the greatest blessing of my life to be able to give back to my father just a fraction of the loving care he'd always given to me.
Today my dad is in heaven, healed, and eating heavenly hamburgers every day I suspect.
I'd like to ask you a favor. If your dad is still here, please give him a big hug or send him a loving e-mail for me today.