The Communicator

Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

You don't know that

A+young+Jim+Perry+holds+his+daughter+Mazey.+Mazey+was+15+months+old+and+sitting+with+her+dad+was+one+of+her+favorite+things+to+do.
A young Jim Perry holds his daughter Mazey. Mazey was 15 months old and sitting with her dad was one of her favorite things to do.

A young Jim Perry holds his daughter Mazey. Mazey was 15 months old and sitting with her dad was one of her favorite things to do.

A young Jim Perry holds his daughter Mazey. Mazey was 15 months old and sitting with her dad was one of her favorite things to do.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Wednesday, October 5th, 2016, I came home from dance to find my parents sitting at our kitchen island. I came in and hung up my bag just like I do everyday. They looked at me in a way that I had never seen before. My mom’s eyes were puffy and soft, my dad’s were slightly sad but hard at the same time. I sat down to ask about their day, like usual, but that’s when my mom cut me off. She said she and dad had something to tell me. I asked what it was, concerned but not especially worried. What came next was something that I never could have expected.

My dad was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. I kept asking myself how this could be happening. My dad, the athletic, healthy-eating, non-smoking man I knew, had cancer. I couldn’t piece it together. For days my head was clouded with a gray haze. Within the first week of my knowing, I received texts and calls from relatives telling me they were sorry, and that they would always be there for me. For a while, that was enough. The constant support each person gave me made me feel like everything was going to be okay.

Four months into his chemo treatment, I hit a wall. I couldn’t handle watching someone who had always been so strong be beaten down by the chemicals the doctors prescribed. Every other week, the chemo would take over his body, and my dad disappeared into the void that was his dark bedroom. Nobody could understand what I was going through, and every time I would voice how I was feeling, I was met with a “don’t worry Maze, everything is going to be fine.”

In those early months of treatment, the words “everything is going to be fine” were enough. They made me feel better. Now though, those words are numb. They lost their meaning. I just kept thinking, “How can you tell me everything is going to be fine? You have no idea what’s even going on with my dad.” Yet still, deep down, they gave me the smallest glimmer of hope that maybe, he would be okay. That at the end of these six months of hell, he would come out clear and this nightmare would become a distant memory.

The memories are what made those six months so difficult. The cold was too much for my dad; skiing, sledding, and all the other winter activities we used to do were gone. The carefree afternoons we would spend together became less and less frequent until they were almost non-existent.

After half a year of missed dance recitals, half-tried holidays, and no winter activities, he made it. In June, we got the all clear. The cancer was gone and I had my dad back. All summer we went up north, and did all the normal things my family does in those three easygoing months.

The school year started, and I was ready to have a normal year. Everything was going as planned until Sunday, December 16th. My parents called me into their room and had me sit on their bed. They told me they had to talk to me about something. I again, could not have prepared myself for what was about to come. My mom didn’t even try to hold it in this time. Tears filled the bottom of her eyes as my dad told me it was back.

It was back.

I always wondered what dying was going to feel like. I’m pretty sure I can tell you now. My body just collapsed and the sound of my heartbeat filled my ears, as I tried to get the words that just came out of my dad’s mouth to be taken back. Make it stop, take it back, please, were the thoughts that flooded into a never-ending whirlpool inside my head. I couldn’t breathe.

“Okay” was all I could manage to squeeze out of my dry throat. I was asked if I had any questions. Did I have any questions? I had endless questions. How did this happen? Why did this happen? How are we going to go through this again? These were just a few of the thousands.

This time it was different. I didn’t want to tell anyone the news. I didn’t want to talk about it. Eventually, my mom made me tell some of my friends just so that they could be aware of what was going on. People were nice, and I got those same texts and calls from relatives.

“Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine.” Over and over again. The first time those words were numb, but now I knew they weren’t true. The cancer came back, so everything wasn’t fine, and now, I still question if things will be fine. This time, the doctors don’t have a set length of time for treatment. It has been six weeks, and we don’t know how many more there are to come.

 I get asked if I’m scared or worried about my dad. The first time he was diagnosed I would have answered with yes, but that I was sure he would be okay in the end. Now when I get asked that question I say yes, but I don’t have the reassurance in the back of my head anymore. I sat down with my dad a few weeks ago and told him that if he thought he wasn’t going to make it, that I wanted him to tell me so that I could prepare myself. That conversation was one that I never want to have again.

The thought that the cancer could eventually win is one that is constantly there, and until he has been clear for five years, it always will be. Bad news is something that I can deal with now. As hard as it is to have the thoughts of cancer in my head all day, every day, it’s now just part of me. I have the sad, happy, funny, and loving parts in my head, and my dad and I have always shared those, but now we both have a cancer part and it is just something that we live with and deal with. Knowing my dad has it too gives me a sense of comfort, because I know I’m not alone.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 Comments

7 Responses to “Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay”

  1. Dan Saferstein on April 10th, 2018 11:08 pm

    Mazey,

    I’m touched and impressed. How did you get so brave and wise? You’re brave and wise… and you can DANCE! What a unique and inspiring combination!

    Peace & Love

    Dan Saferstein

    [Reply]

  2. Suzi Gurry on April 11th, 2018 11:33 am

    The combination of vulnerability + strength + honesty in this brilliant teenager is awe inspiring. While the future of Mazey’s dad remains fragile and we truly don’t know yet if he will be ok, Mazey will undoubtedly be stronger and more resilient in her life because of her honest response to this monumental challenge in her formative years. Mazey is embracing her fears and everyone elses with a level of bravery beyond her years. As a parent to teenagers myself, I know there is no better gift Mazey could give her dad than reassuring him that no matter what happens to him next, SHE is strong enough for it. Bravo to Mazey for speaking the truth about death and dying, a topic nobody enjoys but it impacts us all. You are right. We certainly do not know what lies ahead and that is scary as hell but at least it’s honest. Being honest is always better. We hear you Mazey and we are still here for you, for as long as you need us. SG

    [Reply]

  3. Maria Murphy on April 13th, 2018 11:37 am

    Mazey. I love you. What an awesome piece you have written. If you ever want to talk to someone who’s had a parent with cancer and knows SOME Of what you are experiencing — I’m your woman. I know it’s not the same, but I know what it’s like to have uncertainty about someone you’ve assumed would always be there. I’m here for you. Keep writing, girl! XOOX Maria

    [Reply]

  4. Jane Blyth on April 13th, 2018 11:42 am

    Mazey, your grandmother Daly shared your amazing expression with me. Your sharing of feelings is beautiful, and hard to absorb. You will be okay no matter what happens. You are strong and beautiful and surrounded by so much loving family. Margaret remembers the loss you fear and yet you’ve come to embrace and not turn away from. Everything may not be all right, but you will be.

    [Reply]

  5. Mike Mahon on April 14th, 2018 6:44 pm

    Maze, I’m so impressed. It takes a lot of courage to write what you did. You have a great talent for writing in the way you speak. It was as if you are just talking to us and telling us how you feel. I can’t Imagine, however, what it feels like to be in your shoes. I know you played the “what if” tape in your head a million times, as I did, wondering what would happen and all I can say is that a wise person once told me we can spend our time speculating about the future we don’t know and we can wast time dwelling on the past that’s already happened or we can try to make an effort to live in the moment… not in yesterday and not in next year but in the exact moment you’re in and stay there… . easier said than done but that’s what I got out of reading your essay. Today is all any of us have… I’m spending it with my boys, on the couch and hanging out doing what we love and any one of us could be gone this time next week for a thousand different reasons. I am inspired by your courage to share your story and to let us know how it feels to be in your shoes. Your dad is one of the most “loved” people I have ever known and his path has always been his path. I can’t even think of the bad stuff because it’s only speculation and I’m sure he feels the same way. There’s something special about your dad and his attitude… he’s an amazing human being unlike anyone I’ve ever met in my life. It’s as if those words that weigh on you are part of his mantra “everything’s going to be ok” and maybe that’s what you are hearing because that’s how he truly feels. His attitude is what keeps him alive and I am convinced that his attitude is why he’s going to be one of the people who make it through all of this, by living in the moment, one day at a time. Nothing anyone can say will make it ok. It’s not ok to have cancer. Sharing how you feel at a time like this is a very powerful thing and I am sure that your dad is more proud of you than he’s ever been. You’re growing up Maze. I’m sorry this has to be part of your path because nobody deserves to have this burden heaved into their lives but if you can try to stay in the moment, I assure you that you won’t regret it. The Mahon’s are here for you too. We’d love to have you come babysit the boys sometime so we can go out to dinner with your folks… 🙂 Talk soon.

    [Reply]

  6. Katie Whitney on April 16th, 2018 9:38 am

    Well done, Mazey! I’m proud to know you–both as a strong person and an accomplished writer.

    [Reply]

  7. Joan Calhoun on April 19th, 2018 2:38 pm

    Mazes, I am so impressed with your writing. Being able to face your worries and put your feelings so beautiful in words is a real talent but also releases anxiety that you have kept inside. Margaret and I have had many talks and I want you to know that you, Ellen and Jim are in our prayers daily. All your family is VERY special to us! God is good and we have faith! Aunt Joanie

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    VOICE

    Asking for Help

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    VOICE

    Her Legacy

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    VOICE

    I Feel Beautiful Now

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    COLUMNS

    Why Men Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Feminism

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    MILES' FILES

    Tesla’s Truck

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    COLUMNS

    It Changed Her Life, and Mine.

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    COLUMNS

    Being An Arab American

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    VOICE

    The Life of Art

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    VOICE

    What Happens to the American Dream When It Becomes a Nightmare?

  • Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay

    VOICE

    Break the Ban

Please Don’t Tell Me Everything Will Be Okay