There’s always that call you dread, you know the one you just know isn’t going to be good news. Well I got mine about 10 weeks ago, around 6:30am on a Thursday morning. The only people who call me at that time are work when I’m on call and they need me in the unit. Im on maternity leave so when I saw the phone ringing and it was my brother, I knew it was bad news. My Dad was in the hospital already, but wasn’t that ill was just having some tests, but during the night he was found to be really poorly. I was told to get there straight away. I literally pulled on some clothes, and was generally a teary mess. We all decided to go as I couldn’t drive, my phone fell out of my hand I was shaking so much.
I had a 2.5 hour drive to reach the hospital, a very surreal and stressful journey. Traffic was bad, Miller took some wrong turns and all I could think was what if I don’t get there on time? I was looking at these people on their way to work, dressed in suits and singing along to the radio feeling envious. It was a normal day for them but what about me? This day could change my life forever.
I got there on time but the next 2 days were spent by my Dads side, he could talk at first and I’m so very grateful for that, he even joked with us. He hugged us, he fought. He didn’t want to let go but it was his time. I can’t quite describe that feeling of helplessness you get when you are told there’s nothing more anyone can do. It was such a shock, my dad was young really. He wasn’t critically ill before this. Why? Why now? Why him? I felt such a mixture of emotions, but all of them sad or angry ones. Or both. I won’t go into the details of how he died, or why but I’m grateful for those last few days and nights. He had us all there with each other, and it wasn’t often we did that.
Watching someone take their final breaths is very surreal. I’ve unfortunately seen it a few times with my job. When its someone you love, and so unexpected its surreal and absolutely heartbreaking. I kept it together though, I did that for my dad. I just wanted him to know I was there, he wasn’t alone. It was the least I can do. Ill never ever forget how hard it was leaving that hospital afterwards. I wanted to go back and get him, see him, hug him, talk to him. I broke down outside. I felt this raw pain I’d never ever felt in my life, I wanted him back.
Then there’s the aftermath. So much to do, people to talk to, things to arrange. It felt like I was watching in on someone else’s life. I wanted to step out and go back to my life where I had a Dad. The Dad who rang me the night before he got really ill and told me how great he felt, and how he loved me. But that doesn’t happen. That is the worst thing, knowing there’s not a single thing you can do.
We gave him the best send off we could, the music he’d have wanted, pictures, slide shows, alcohol flowed, people told stories. I saw people I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. All these people who came for him, to say goodbye.
Then it stops. Life carries on, you don’t want it to because it hurts so much still. Yet it has to, yet you just want to shout from the rooftops you’re grieving and the world needs to stop right now, and listen. It’s not fair, I’m thirty fucking three. I’m too young to not have my Dad here. What about my poor mum? How must she be feeling? I can’t imagine. At least I’ve got Miller and my kids to regain some focus. My brother and sister have their families. What’s she got? She’s been with him since she was 15. The hurt must be ten fold for her. It’s not fair, its just not fair.
I miss him every single day. The feeling never ever goes away. I don’t think it ever will, I think you just learn to live with it.
American Pie was the song my Dad loved so much, so to my dad: Bye bye American pie.