Thursday, 23 April 2015
The day my Father died.
I had had a run of the very worst luck the year between 02 and 03. In the twelve months up to my Father dying, I had lost 11 close friends and cousins as well as my own mother. In the thirteenth month, my Father went to join my mother. I was knocked out by all the funerals I had attended, and now my Dad dying seemed to finish the circle. Immediately after my mother dying, my brother took my father to stay with him at his home in Brussels, and then at the holiday home in the South of France. He cared for him for quite a few weeks, not wanting to leave him alone in the flat in Crawley Sussex, where he had lived for the last thirty years. My mother and he, had had a long marriage and it was mainly happy, very artistically motivated by their joint interest in music and helping others. She did hospital visiting right up until she died, and he would take communion to those who could not attend Mass because of their infirmity. Both of them found great solace in belonging to the Catholic church and their faith was unbelievable strong. The last weeks of my father's life were filled with workmen, bought in by my brother to overhaul the flat and bring up to date.. So, when I invited him to stay with us in our big house, over the Easter, he was very pleased to accept. However, he was hospitalised for a few days before I was going to collect him from his home as he was running a low fever and was out of sorts. I finally got the go ahead to pick him up on Good Friday, so drove to the hospital and collected him. He was very weak and in the year of losing my mother, he had become very frail and had no apetite, so had lost a lot of weight. The first evening home we sat around and chatted and I gave him some albums with loose photographs which I asked him to organise and place in the albums. He had a great evening, going over the pictures and remembering the holidays with my mother. The weather was lovely and warm and he seemed to be perking up. The next evening we had John's parents, who lived next door to us, eome over and we again chatted all eveing very happily. During that Saturday night he called me because he had severe pain and I asked whether to call the ambulance, but he refused, took another tablet and managed to get back to sleep. In the morning, being Easter Sunday, I took him to Mass where he renewed with the congregation, his baptismal vows and took Communion. It was lovely to be able to share in this, and I know he was happy inside himself. It was somehow completing a circle. Another lovely day just pottering around in and out of the garden. Then we had a power cut on electricity, so went next door to see if that had happened to them too. On our return, we heard my dad calling from the toilet, and rushed upstairs to find him in great distress because he could not move for pain in his body. John helped him downstairs and we waited for the ambulance. I went with him to the hospital where they decided that his anourism had burst, a thing that had been threatening for years, and that the only way was to give him more and more morphine for the pain. He knew he was dying, and I managed to get a Priest to come and sit with him and give him the last Rites of the Church. He was peaceful then and thanked me for being with him, and I was telling him that soon he would be with Mother, and it was all very sad indeed. I was also on the mobile to my brother in Belgium telling him moment by moment what was happening. At 2.15 the afternoon of 23rd April, he stopped breathing, and my father had left us. Even now, all these years later, I miss him so much and mother too.. but of course I was a daddy's girl and he had always been so special for me.. now I was an orphan like so many others. Being an orphan whatever your age is a very hard knock on your door of life. Having enjoyed their living so much longer than many of their peers, we had grown to know them as adults and as people we could relate to and to know them for themselves and not just as a parent. I think too, that having them with us for so long makes it so much harder when they do go, because they have always been around for the various stages in your growing up* So, today is another year that I have not seen him or heard his voice, and not felt my mother's love and affection, I was so lucky having them as parents, but I would give anything just to speak to them both again. The sun is shining and the weather is lovely,but I am sad inside, because this day will always be the day I lost my Dad.