Monday, 21 April 2014
Eleven years ago in a couple of hours, my Dad died. He had been staying with me over Easter, and it was just a year ago in the March that we had lost my mother. I and my brother were so fortunate to have had our parents stay with us until their eighties. For years my dad had suffered with various heart ailments and my mother with no bad health issues at all. Then her kidneys got an infection and she stayed too long at home before agreeing to go into hospital and there she died a week later. Most unexpected and our world was shattered. She was so lively and energetic and friends with everyone. My dad of course was inconsolable after over fifties years together he felt her loss immensely. Having been a teacher in the large sussex town whenever he went out without her he had had to explain her death and his loss was renewed daily. He cried so often in his last year, although my brother took him to live with them for the summer in their South of France home, he could not seem to gain any thoughts about the future. He just wanted to join her as soon as possible. Being raised a Catholic, he believed most deeply that they would be reunited in death. So this day eleven years ago dad had got himself dressed but suddenly the anourism that had threatened him for many years happened, and we had to call the ambulance. He was in terrible pain and in the hospital I was able to stay with him during his last hours as they had to give him morphine for the pain. I managed to get a priest to give him the last rites and held his hand as he slipped away. I was in contact with my brother and had to tell him the news. We were both devastated and lost. I came home and was sick and went to bed. John my husband was kind and careful to leave me time to grieve. My parents were not perfect, we had a life of ups and downs, but we all loved each other and from the moment they had met during the war, they were inseperable. I got to know my parents as an adult and for that I am so grateful, but getting older made them infirm and fragile despite their best efforts. As I approach a land mark birthday next year, I am reminded that at my age, they were still so energetic and active in all sorts of ways whether with their friends at church, or the long summer holidays they took at their caravan in the South of France. They went every summer for three whole months and adored their time out there. My dad grew up in a place called Aix-en-Provence and for years my brother and I had heard about his time living there. Then when we had finished school, he got a teacher's job in the same area and at last we were able to see why he had loved the town so much. Today I sit thinking of him and all that he meant to us, we were so lucky to have known our parents and to have shared our lives with them, but today I would give anything just to see them again and hear theri voices. Treasure your relatives whilst they remain with you, [sometimes is harder than saying it because some parents and relatives don't get along as well as they should,] but ignore their prickliness if its there, and be glad you have people that have known you and loved you, even if they don't always show it. I was lucky, my parents did let me and my brother know that we and the children that we had, were treasured and loved, and our world was better for knowing them.. I just wish the same feelings for anyone who has family that they don't see often, keep in touch, when they are gone, the time is lost forever.