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Cancer Sucks

Reality sets in when ‘Papa’ succumbs to disease

Page+Editor+Robby+Swanker+spends+some+time+with+his+%E2%80%9CPapa%E2%80%9D+in+this+last+photo+of+the+two+together.+%28Courtesy+Photo%29
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Cancer Sucks

Page Editor Robby Swanker spends some time with his “Papa” in this last photo of the two together. (Courtesy Photo)

Page Editor Robby Swanker spends some time with his “Papa” in this last photo of the two together. (Courtesy Photo)

Page Editor Robby Swanker spends some time with his “Papa” in this last photo of the two together. (Courtesy Photo)

Page Editor Robby Swanker spends some time with his “Papa” in this last photo of the two together. (Courtesy Photo)

Robby Swanker, Editorial Page Editor

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Cancer sucks. I would always hear all these stories around me and think, I will never be affected by it. That is how my mentality was until just a little more than three months ago.

Until Dec. 20, 2017.

That is the date my whole life changed.

I remember coming home from school and having my parents sitting in the living room. I had no idea what was going on.

To my surprise, I saw my mom with tears in her eyes, and my dad was sitting beside her. Then, they told me the news. My papa, only 70 years of age, had bile duct cancer.

I could not believe it.

I remember just a couple weeks prior to this day, he was doing fine, and life was normal. But right then and there, my whole life had changed.
As time went on, he started chemo, and we all hoped it would help him feel better. But it didn’t. All it did was make him live a little longer. It didn’t make him feel any better, it didn’t get rid of the cancer, it didn’t really do anything.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, I wrestled at Individual Districts, where I placed fourth. When my dad and I got home, we walked in to see my mom again, sitting on the couch crying like I had never seen before.

She told me to come sit down because we needed to have a talk. Millions of thoughts raced through my head, but what really happened was not one of them.

My papa, Wayne “Dick” Flowers, had passed away at his home while he was asleep that morning.

I didn’t know what to do. I was mad because they hadn’t told me about it earlier, but then, it all hit me at once when I realized that I would never see him again.

I then walked into my bathroom and fell to the floor and cried for what seemed like hours.

I will never forget him. He was my second father; he was my role model. He was, well, he was my papa.

I remember times when I was younger, and my cousin Jacob and I would be sitting in spinny chairs at the kitchen island. One thing that we would always do is spin around in them, of course.

He and I would always look at each other as we hit the sides of the chairs on the edge of the island. As soon as the sound of wood crashing into granite would fill the room, papa would turn around in what seemed like faster than the speed of light.

That’s when we knew we were in trouble. Papa would always give us that look out of the corner of his eyes.

It’s those little moments that I will remember about Papa. I won’t remember the cancer; I won’t remember the bad times. I will cherish the good memories for the rest of my life. That is the important part to remember. It will not take the pain away, but it will make a world of difference.

I love and miss him very much, and it seems as if I have to push myself to get through each day without having a breakdown. Rest in peace Papa, I love you.

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