(My niece stalking my dad with a snowball four days after his diagnosis, when we drove to Mt. Hood.)

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My father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer 6 months ago today. I really cannot believe that. It feels alternately like it was years ago and like it was yesterday. He died 11 weeks later.

My life looks very normal. I live in San Francisco while the rest of my family has been in Oregon for the past six years. My day-to-day life has not changed very much.

I visited my mom, siblings, and nieces last week. They are even settling into the way things are now. We took his urn to Astoria to complete an aborted trip we attempted the weekend before he died. He would think that is funny.

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Despite all of that, I can’t shake how surreal it is. I don’t remember my dad ever even coming down with the flu in my lifetime. The only time he got sick with anything other than a cold was when he got pancreatic-fucking-cancer. Eleven weeks later I watched him take his last breath.

I’ll be starting on my Dia de los Muertos altar soon. I feel rituals like that should make this feel less surreal.