On December 26, 2010 my father, Frank Eppright, was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma. Although his tumor was relatively small, the news affected my family enormously. I remember we were all scared and sad, but we were mostly in a state of disbelief. Life changed so suddenly and so drastically without any warning and we were devastated. I remember seeing my dad cry for the first time and thinking this was going to be impossible. Truthfully, it might have been without the strength and compassion of my mom, Elaine Eppright. The morning my dad was diagnosed, my mom told him, “we’ll do whatever it takes. We will fight this together.”
Although it has not been an easy fight, my mom has never waivered in her promise. She has made sure my dad receives the best care possible. She travels with him to Houston, Texas every other week where he undergoes Avastin treatment at MD Anderson. My parents’ 31st wedding anniversary is next month and when my parents were married, they vowed to be with each other, “through sickness and in health.” Despite the difficulty they have faced, my mom has lived by these words every day of their marriage and even more so in the past year and a half. She holds his hand and comforts him during sleepless nights and rocky days.
As a child, it is hard to watch this happen to your parent. It took my sisters and I a while to adjust to our new reality. In January 2011, my sister, Caroline and I returned to New York, while Libby resumed her life here in Kansas City. My sisters and I called our mom several times a day and even in middle of the night to talk about our worries and fears related to my dad and even more trivial matters such as work, school and friends. What I admire most about my mom is that she always answered the phone. Sometimes she was busy and other times she was sleeping, but she always tried to give us her full attention. Our mom tried to keep our lives as normal as possible.
Keeping the faith is hard to do. Sometimes my mom gets upset, frustrated and overwhelmed, just as any caretaker and wife would. However, she always recovers. She always returns to a more positive and understanding state of mind. She shows her vulnerability, but just as quickly shows her strength, which lets my dad, my sisters and I know that no matter how difficult this fight might be, we have each other and we will get through it together.
* December 2, 2012 we began to honor the memory of Frank.