Life and loss
You may, (or may not), have noticed that I’ve been missing in action in the blogosphere recently. I haven’t blogged, I haven’t read many blogs, I haven’t commented or interacted, I haven’t shared or participated in any group threads and you know what, I make no apologies for my absence.
Sometimes life, or in this case, death, happens and it rocks your world off its regular axis.
You see my beloved father passed away last week, on Thursday 25 January 2018. He was 79 years old, a husband, a father, a grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, son…and he had a great life that was over far too soon.
We’d been called to Dad’s bedside over a week earlier, as he was gravely ill. Dad has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease since 2009 and had been in an Aged Care facility for almost 18 months. Palliative care meant that we sat with Dad, we made him comfortable, played his favourite music, held his hand and talked to him – in between just ‘being’ with him. Sometimes I couldn’t physically talk so I went into my memories and talked to him there.
We reminisced, we shared our favourite stories and we thought our own thoughts, while we watched and waited.
The staff were amazing, so caring and thoughtful. Meals, cups of tea, cake, a kind word, a welcome hug, a shoulder to cry on – nothing was too much trouble.
Sucked into a vacuum of exhaustion
It feels like you’re sucked into a void, a vacuum of exhaustion, a constant loop of memories and thoughts swirling around in your head.
You appreciate any distraction but can’t concentrate for too long on a task. The tennis (or cricket) on TV has been a lifesaver as you can mindlessly lose yourself in the backwards and forwards action of a coloured ball being whacked unmercifully around a court.
You talk, you interact, you plan, you think, you remember, you somehow function and you grieve while doing all these things.
Every day for over a week we visited Dad, taking it in turns to be with him. My sister even stayed with him one night and my brother made early morning visits telling dad of the great surf he’d had, the pod of dolphins that swam nearby, the beach conditions, the sunrise…
Throughout it all Dad was peaceful, calm and painfree – as Mum said, it was us who were feeling the pain.
On the day he left us I went for a bike ride with my husband and nephew, along the beaches of Dad’s youth. We visited his old surf life saving club and pictured him competing in his early days, he was a champion surf lifesaver and swimmer. He was a hero to his sisters and taught us to swim, surf and enjoy the water. It was a glorious summer’s day and we enjoyed feeling the warm sunshine on our shoulders, the wind in our hair and the visions of Dad on these same beaches.
Later that afternoon he passed away. Point Danger was a favourite haunt of Dad’s so it made sense to gather there together to watch the sunset and to say our farewells.
Life will never be the same again: I have lost my father.
Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad. (Anne Geddes)
He was a very special man, gentle, softly spoken, kind, thoughtful, caring, adventurous, talented, clever and witty. Above all else he was a fun person to be around who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. I wrote this post just last year about the Layers of Life and I am reminded again of the fragility of life.
He helped make me the person I am today and for that I am forever grateful.
Love is stronger than death even though we can’t stop death from happening. But no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death. Anonymous
I will return to blogging eventually as it is something I enjoy. I have been overwhelmed with the kind thoughts, the messages, the heartfelt condolences and the love of family and friends. Thank you one and all for your sympathy. We are taking good care of each other.
Rest in Peace Dad. (March 1938- January 2018)
You can also find Deb’s World here – let’s stay in touch!