First of all, let me say a big thank you to everyone who has offered prayers, tweets, phone calls, Facebook messages, meals and more for Dad Cone…they are noticed and greatly appreciated. When I walked into the hospital this morning, the front desk person that checks in all visitors commented with, “Rick must be really loved because he’s had more visitors than anyone I’ve ever seen!” – so we are truly grateful for everyone who’s gone out of their way to make him feel loved, both in person and virtually, these past few days.
Now let me rewind. Ricky, the kids and I all arrived safely in Florida about 6pm last night (as did Ricky’s younger brother, Ryan, who had driven all through the night from New Orleans to arrive there yesterday morning. Ricky’s sister, Katie, and her husband, Steven, had already flown in the day prior and immediately went to dad’s side along with his other Florida family). We stopped just briefly at Ricky’s mom’s house to pick her and Ryan up so we could head down to St. Mary’s together.
In typical Rick Sr. fashion (Ricky is a “Jr.” ;), he was graciously entertaining several visitors, including family and friends he had lived around most of his life (Ricky always admits he got his ‘entertaining gene’ from his dad!). I let Ricky, Anita and Ryan go up to the room first so they could have some private moments with him before the kids came in. I distracted them downstairs by making “Get Well Soon” cards for Pappy. I think they did some pretty amazing work, if I do say so myself:
After about 15 minutes, I took them up to see Pappy and they proceeded to lighten the mood and provide some comic relief all around. At one point, the nurse walked in to find Britton scaling the door frame with his head touching the ceiling, Dad with his little dog in his lap on the hospital bed and all of us just carousing and looking like we were waiting to get reprimanded! Luckily, they didn’t say anything and we continued to visit while people came and went until visiting hours ended at 9pm.
To be honest, Dad Cone looked better than I thought he would. He seemed exceedingly grateful to be surrounded by friends and family, while also looking anxious and overwhelmed with the situation at hand.
This morning, the doctor proceeded to show the siblings the actual MRI of the tumor that is taking over his brain…and when I say taking over, I mean taking over. The mass is actually swelling and encroaching on the brain stem. We’ve learned he has a matter of weeks to live, possibly a month or two.
The neurosurgeon advised that instead of doing an invasive surgery that could in and of itself kill him, to instead take him home and enjoy the comforts of his surroundings: the food, family and friends he loves. Heck, even someone who’s not sick would get depressed after sitting in that hospital room for days on end!
While he still may elect to go in for a biopsy, Hospice has been called in to help him manage the pain as well as whatever other challenges he may face in the days to come.
I read an amazing post today by Greg Surrant on Michael Hyatt’s blog that was entitled, “Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?”. In it, he referenced a book, The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective by Andy Andrews, that laid out 6 points he had shared with an elderly woman who felt she didn’t have anything left to contribute to this life. I wanted to share them with you because they profoundly impacted me when I read them:
- God has a purpose for every single person.
- You won’t die until that purpose is fulfilled.
- If you are still alive, then you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do.
- If you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do, then your very purpose hasn’t been fulfilled.
- If your purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life is still ahead.
- You have yet to make your most important contribution.
To be honest, we have no idea about what lies ahead. I guess none of us do, really, but in this case, what we do know is that we have been given the gift of time to make the most of every moment Dad Cone has left on this earth.
So as I continue to ask for your prayers and support for the Cone family, I’d also ask you to ponder this question, “What contribution will you make to life today?”
Read the first post on Driving to Florida to see Dad Cone to hear the story from the beginning