Deathbed Promises

This weekend marks the 4 year anniversary of my father’s passing. Cancer. 57 years old. The invincible man got taken down.

My dad was the guy that had that special “it” factor. He walked into a room and people were just drawn to him. The life of the party. The center of attention. The guy you wanted to be friends with and say you knew.

And I was lucky enough to call him my dad.

I was a daddy’s girl. Plain and simple. I am extremely close with my mom. But the bond I had with my dad was undeniable. He was who I went to with all my life problems. Day to day life. Break ups. Advice. Everything. He spoiled me rotten.

People have always told me my entire life that I’m just like my dad. I looked like him. I acted like him. While my little brother has a good mix of both parents good traits, I am all my dad. Good and bad. I have his tenacity. I am out going. I can walk in a room and make friends effortlessly. I have his party gene. His green eyes. Even the same crooked tooth and the same allergy to codeine. I’ve got his fiery temper. The same occasional moodiness. My grandma loves to say when I get road rage that I’m just like my daddy.

And good or bad… I take it all like a compliment. Because my dad was effing awesome.

But five years ago, my entire family’s world came crashing down when Dad was diagnosed with cancer. He had been having trouble swallowing and finally went to see the doctor. Esophageal stomach cancer. A huge tumor wrapped around the artery that feeds into all major organs in your body. Inoperable. A timeline was given. Chemo. Radiation. Lots of prayers. Lots of fake smiles. Trying to act normal when on the inside you literally feel like you might be dying with him from pure heartbreak.

Cancer is a bitch. It shatters lives. Destroys dreams. Breaks hearts. No one who has been effected by it, whether they had the disease or was the friend or family member, regardless of the outcome, can say they aren’t changed when cancer comes to call.

There is nothing harder than watching the person you love most in the world start to wither away from a disease that is out to take over their body. To watch the fire go out of someone’s eyes when he realizes that he isn’t going to beat something he was so determined to fight. To watch the panic take over when he realizes he’s making a widow of your mother too soon when the finances aren’t exactly the best. Or ever see you or your little brother get married or have children. Or the grandchildren he does have grow up, go to college, become adults. Cancer robbed my father of the things he still wanted to do. It robbed my family of our rock and hero when we weren’t ready to let him go.

The last week of my father’s life we were able to get him home from the hospital. Crazy enough, not all my memories of his last week are bad. There were a lot of really funny moments because my family is definitely good at making the best of really horrific situations.

My brothers and I made the same promise to our dad. Take care of mom. Period. That was his biggest worry. My mom was the love of his life and he was scared he was leaving her with a huge mess from being out of work for 3 years during the Recession. I think we’ve done a pretty damn good job being there for my mom regardless of what has come up.

We all got to have our last one on ones with Dad at some point during the week. Mine luckily fell on The Last Good Day. Everyone knows that at the end of someone’s life there’s the last day when it’s like they get that last little adrenaline rush and are fully back to themselves. They aren’t drugged up and lethargic. They have the spark back in their eyes. You don’t realize until afterwards that it was The Last Good Day. Sometimes there’s that little bit of hope in you that maybe the doctors are wrong because how could someone be doing this well if they really are at the end of the road?

One of the things I promised my Dad in our last little one on one was that I would pass the CPA. I knew this was something that he wanted for me to do and it still pisses me off that I didn’t have it passed where he would see it happen. It took a couple years to get into the mental state of being ready to take it on but when I made that promise I had every intention of not breaking it.

Fast forward 4 years…

And a LOT of  CPA heartbreak has happened. I started studying the spring of 2014. At first, I was kinda half assing it and really not putting the time or effort into it that it requires. But then I passed a section and the clock started ticking. You have eighteen months to finish all 4 sections before the first one that you took expires and you have to retake it. Last year during that critical year I was basically working in a Corporate Sweatshop. It wasn’t the worst job I’ve had but it literally became all consuming. I was working over 60 hours a week. I was working weekends. I was having trouble even taking vacation. It wasn’t just me… that was the nature of this particular company. The workload was insane along with the turnover.

I lasted about a year.

Unfortunately, by the time I left, I had 5 months to pass the 3 other sections. Now 2 of these parts I had been taking and failing by ONE EFFING POINT MULTIPLE TIMES. I am not a huge crier but I have shed massive amounts of tears over this exam. It’s been heartbreaking. It’s made me feel like a complete idiot for not being able to pass. I have put my life on hold for 2 years trying to get this exam done. I’ve had a couple of guys end things with me because they didn’t like me studying so much. I’ve had friends get annoyed that I can’t hang out because I have to study. I’ve had my family get pissed at me because I was completely stressed out and bitchy for months between working too much and trying to study in whatever free time I had.

My time expired July 31 of this year. And with it, my motivation, drive, willpower to keep going. I need a break. I almost don’t even care if I become a CPA anymore. I have a great job without it.

But there’s that small deathbed promise hanging over my head.

I’m completely torn on what to do. Nothing in my life has weighed on me like this. I’ve prayed about it, talked to friends and family about it. I don’t know what to do. I’m in debt over this exam. I haven’t taken care of myself like I should trying to get home and immediately study versus waste an hour of study time to work out. There are things in my house that have been neglected for the last 2 years that I need to do. I miss having the carefree schedule to have a full Saturday by the pool with friends and not feel guilty for not studying all day.

The CPA exam is starting to make me hate accounting.

But I made that promise. And I don’t break promises. Nor have I ever quit anything in my life.

I’ve wondered if the reason for missing exams by one point is that accounting really isn’t the path or God’s plan for me. I have no clue at this point. I just feel like I can’t give up on the last thing I promised my father I would do. My mom said he would completely understand, that he wouldn’t want me going into debt over this, that he would understand if I wanted to pursue a different passion in life. She’s probably right. But that guilt is over me and at times its suffocating.

I don’t want to let him down.

Maybe taking the rest of the year off will help me regroup and get some motivation back. Or if I decide to not continue, some peace that I’m not letting him down.

Either way, this weekend I will be having a great time at the beach, maybe catch a Gator game down in the Swamp and definitely have a few beers to solute a man that was taken from this world way too soon and who I miss every single day.

Until next time…



The Penniless Princess

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