Dial: 1.800.DAD.GONE

Last night I had a 2 hour drive home. During my drive I was thinking about the days events. It was dark, cold, snow was blowing, and it was just me, the open road, and my radio. I was left alone to my thoughts.

As I was driving I began to think that I needed some advice. I grabbed my phone and realized once again, that the one person I would always call, my father, would not be answering my phone.

For the second time in a few weeks it reminded me that my father no longer walks this earth. It made me sad. It brought a chill into my body that matched the freezing temperatures outside. The tears in my eyes began to well and fall down my cheeks like water dripping from a spout, freezing, and making icicles.

I wiped away the tears and called a colleague in Florida. He is older, wiser, and is a straight talker. A lot like my own father. He has no problems calling BS, getting to point, and also being a voice of reason.

Please pick up. Please pick up.

He answered, “Hey buddy, how’s it going?”

It wasn’t the same voice that I was used to hearing in my time of need, but it was a familiar voice that I knew I could trust at this very moment.

We caught up with one another. I shared with him a few ideas I had floating around in my head due to several conversations I had recently with customers and healthcare providers. He gave me his opinion. He shared with me what he saw as potential barriers. He also reminded me that I can pretty much do anything I want to do, I just have to decide which choice I am more passionate and want to dedicate time and energy to taking on.

At the end of the conversation I confessed that I called him because I lost my father and I needed that voice of reason. I needed a mentor. I needed a promoter to bounce the ideas off of and let me know if I was directionally correct or if I was off base.

He said to me, “Anytime you need anything, you call me. Just pick up the phone and dial. Anytime. I am in your corner.”

I realized a few things last night.

1. I am not alone. The voice I may want to hear may no longer be present, but the inspiration still exists. It’s just different voices now.

2. We all need mentors and promoters. Each of us needs to have that person or persons that we can rely on to be the voice of reason, to be a confidant, to call BS for us.

3. I need to take a break. I have been so focused on work, making an impact, and keeping myself busy that I have not taken the appropriate time I need to mourn. I have been doing everything in my power to run in the opposite direction. To escape it. To forget about it. I need to embrace it. I need to go through the process.

4. I need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable emotionally. I am good at doing this in my daily professional life that it is almost second nature. However, in my personal life, I am not so good at it. I need to focus on this over the next fews weeks and improve.

5. That all of us, no matter walk of life or title, that we all just want to know that someone else cares about our voice. We all have a story. We want to know that we are not alone. We want to feel normal and legitimate. We want to share.

Today my story allowed me to see I am not alone.

Tell me your story.

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek


#PtExp #PX #cancer #hcldr #hccosts #hcsm #stories #storytelling #lcsm #bcsm #hcmktg #mktg #storyteller #hcbiz

9 responses to “Dial: 1.800.DAD.GONE

  1. I’m glad you have another connection to help you. We all need that. And we all need time to mourn, whether it’s the passing of someone we love, or the diagnosis of a devastating illness. I think we too often avoid the mourning part because we have such busy lives. But in the end, self-care is so much more important than the ‘busyness’ with which we occupy ourselves.

    • I couldn’t have stated it better than you just did. Self-care is so important often overlooked. I am fortunate to have connected with such amazing people that remind me I am not alone. We are in this together.

  2. Thanks for your vulnerability. It lets me get in touch with mine. I kissed my dad goodbye just before I left for RSNA, mindful that he is nearing the end of his life and that I live 500 miles away from him. I understand the void you’re feeling.

    • Thank you for allowing me to share my story and voice. I still remember kissing my father on his forehead and telling him that it is okay to let go. That I would be okay. that I would be there for my mother. Just hope I can live up to the promises I made. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Hi Andy,
    I lost my husband, Dan, in April. I too have immersed myself in advocacy and making a difference. I also have been mourning and continue to feel deep grief even after 8 months (tomorrow will be 8 months). I agree having mentors and promoters makes a difference. For me, I find the smallest kindnesses and considerate gestures touch me in ways I never experienced before. The people I interact with, whether in class, in my volunteer efforts, on social media can make a difference with one kind word, one considerate e-mail, one retweet or favoriting of a tweet. Grieving is a process. It’s not linear and as much, as an engineer, I would like to be able to analyze and “fix it” that’s not the way it works. So I follow the advice of my Yoga teacher. She told me when I first lost Dan, feel your grief fully and in time your grief will turn into joy and gratitude for what you had with Dan. I feel the gratitude. I’m not quite at the joy stage. I just know I have to honor the sadness and loneliness I feel without Dan and to be grateful for the life we had together. I am also grateful for being able to advocate and help other people in their lung cancer journey through advocating and raising awareness for lung cancer screening, reducing stigma, and improving access to information and treatments for patients and caregivers.
    I very much appreciate your efforts around advocacy and making a difference, Take the time you need to reflect and grieve. Call- e-mail, tweet if you want to talk.

    • Andrea-

      I have no words to express my empathy for you. I cannot even imagine what it feels like let alone the whirl of emotions you must have experienced and continue to deal with on a daily basis. I know what I feel with my father, and as much as I try to run away from it, when I face the man in the mirror, it hurts to the core.

      I agree that kind gestures such as yours means the world to me. It makes me so grateful to know that others share, relate, and are willing to be there for me in my time of need.

      I may take you up on your offer. I cannot thank you enough for this comment.


  4. Andy,
    We all need mentors and promoters. It sounds so simple but it’s true. Some of us have them in our town, workplace and some of us have the most amazing mentors and promoters that gather on Tuesday. I used to think that mentors were need just when we were more junior in our careers.

    Thanks for being an important friend and mentor for me.

    • Lisa

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I thank my lucky stars for you and all of the amazing people in #HCLDR on Tuesday evenings. I am fortunate to have you as a mentor, along with others, and I am privilege to be able to bring some value to all of you.



  5. Thank you for sharing Andy. I think #3 is sometimes the hardest one for people to realize, because often times working through a loss is one way coping… I hope you find comfort in your friends, family, and yes- even e-friends/colleagues.

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