Through a partnership with Dixie Regional Medical Center, 52 year old Liz Cummings and her 23 year old daughter Samantha came to StoryCorps to remember their husband and father, Tim Cummings.
Liz: Tim and I started our family in Laguna Niguel, California and we had all eight children in California. And we moved to St. George when our youngest was only about a month old. Tim's business was very successful and he was able to do a lot of community projects, community plays. He was the life of the party. And it was August of 2008...he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. We went ahead and started with chemo. But at one point he was hospitalized for two and a half months straight and I slept there every night with him and would come home in the morning and get the kids to school and then come back during the day. The nurses were so amazing about just the number of children we had. You know, when you have eight people enter a room it can be a little overwhelming. And the kids that were in college could come and do their homework in the room and plug in their computers and just be there.
Samantha: The colon cancer he was diagnosed with was really rapid so we weren't sure how much time he would have. And at the time I was a full time student at Dixie State. I was working full time so in between night school and full time working I would go straight to the hospital and be with my dad as much as I could. I remember he would constantly be sick and throwing up. And he would still go to chemotherapy in a button-up shirt, his slacks and he would have a belt on and his hair was done. He always looked so sharp even going to chemotherapy. And my dad was a magician. He always had a deck of card and he was famous for doing card tricks in his hospital bed or a chemo for the nurses. They would be injecting him and he said, "pick a card" and they would just laugh and it was just such a positive happy experience. I remember it was probably near the end and it dawned on me how sick my dad was. I was thinking I had like the worse day ever and so I came home and I look up and my dad's on the end of his bed and he has his little barf bag and he is just throwing up and feeling so sick. And dad was a big man. Dad was about 6'1...6'2ish. He was a big tall man. And when he died he weighed about 130 pounds. And he looks up at me in between throwing up...he goes, "hi sweetheart, how was your day?" And just still upbeat. And I said, "so are you feeling better or are you feeling worse?" He looked down at the floor and he looked up at me and said, "honey, I'm dying, it's my time to go." My first reaction was anger and "your just going to give up" and he looked at me and said, "honey, everything that could have gone right has gone wrong. It's my time. I believe that God wants me in heaven and it's my time to go." And so I hugged my dad and we had a long talk. This was our last real long talk and you know I'll always be grateful for that time we had. It made me realize how fragile life is and how grateful I need to be for just everyday.
Liz: I just think that it makes you more appreciative to life and everyone around you and how grateful you are for the things that you have.