Monthly Archives: July 2012

I just have to Reblog this entry, I love the words, the symbolism, the sentiment that these words express, the declaration of love that is stated here.
I wish I had written this myself, but alas I can’t take credit for this brilliant piece of prose.

Madhura Dabholkar

                     Give me your love…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give me your hand, I will hold it for ever

Give me your smile, I will never let it disappear

Give me your worries, to toss them in the air

Give me your heart, I want to stay in it forever.

 

Give me your eyes, to see the passion in it

Give me your arms, I want to bury myself within

Give me your faith, I promise to keep it safe

Give me your touch, to let me believe you are not a dream.

 

Give me your breathe & all the warmness of it

Give me your thoughts, to know what you feel

Give me your dreams, I promise to fulfill

Give me your love & I will love you, as…

View original post 11 more words

Reprise, Regrets and Rememberance

Those who have been through the last 12 months here, will know just how hard this last year has been for me, and for my wife too, looking after me, coping with some pretty wild mood swings, from smiles to tears, to anger in 10 minutes, and making sure that I didn’t do anything “ stupid “ to myself.

 

If you’ve managed to get this far and ploughed through the last week of entries, well done and thank you for your patience.

 

What I have tried to do, is to give you an idea of what it was like for me at that time.

 

The lack of information was awful, sitting on the end of a mobile phone, waiting for it to ring with bad news.. or good even.

 

Because that’s how it was then…Mum went from being a frail old lady who had had a fall and needed a bit of hospital treatment,  to an incurable  terminally ill lady in 10 days.

The information that we were all getting was so up and down, we really didn’t know which way to turn.

 

Poor old Mum went from dying in 24hours – get everybody here as soon as you can –  on Monday morning, to needing a 6-8 weeks course of anti biotics – Tuesday –  to  a regular chest drain every 3-4 days.

 

Even on the 14th July, her last day, 2 hours before she died, the hospital was planning to carry out the chest drain, and were making plans for her future care and rehabilitation.

 

When the end finally came, it was quick and catastrophic.

 

All Mum’s organs failed as the blood poisoning took hold.

 

And nobody knew.. not us . not the health professionals, no none, except perhaps Mum, who on Thursday in the only lucid moment she had that day,  came round and gasped “ I’m dying, I’m dying”

 

Those last six days of Mum’s life were like the worst roller coaster ride of our lives, with crests of hope so high we were delirious with happiness, to troughs of despair deeper than black holes.

 

We honestly didn’t know if we were coming or going.

We didn’t know if Mum was coming or going, though we knew that whatever happened then, even if she did survive, she would have really struggled, and it would just have been a matter of time before she finally succumbed.

 

We had to make some tough calls, and I know for one that I got my big call wrong.

 

We should have come back straight away, left the gear or sent it DHL. I should have been there, but I wasn’t and now I’ve got to live with that…. That and a million other could have’s and should have’s that prey on my mind when a loose thought triggers my memory.

 

I still think of her a lot, the pain of grief is still there, and I still miss her so much. I would give almost anything just to go back in time for a day, but I know that’s not going to happen, so I must wait for that day, when the call comes from above, and hope that everything I’ve been told about heaven and the hereafter is in fact true.

 

My youngest brother ( who has Downs Syndrome ) wrote a eulogy for her funeral.

The simplicity of the words, his view of Mum, are beautiful.

 

I feel blessed and honoured to have had such a loving and caring Mum

She was sensitive and kind hearted, compassionate but could also be temperamental.

 She had a heart of gold, and I want to thank God who gives joy to the world,  as we remember the life of a remarkable woman who will never be forgotten.

 Our love will never be extinguished because we will be her family forever.

 I will never forget the Mum who gave me so much love.

 Goodbye Mum

 

 

 If you have a spare moment any time, say a prayer for her please.

She would have liked that.

 

Coping With The Aftermath

 

We arrived at the airport back home at approx 3.15am on the morning of Friday 15th July, tired and upset.

I had been crying all the way back on the flight, remembering Mum, her life, the sweet little things that she used to do sometimes, that I hadn’t appreciated at the time she had done them, realizing just how much I was going to miss them and trying to imagine what life was going to be like now that she was gone… and missing her so so much already.

An hour later we were at my Mum’s house where all my heroic siblings were gathered.

 

The house was just as mum left it that 4th July afternoon, her belongings everywhere, (she was always a bit disorganised, but she always knew where everything was) the book that she had been reading just before her fall still open on her bed, clothes in the washing basket, slippers by the side of her bed, just waiting for her to slip her little feet back into.

Downstairs, there were cups in the sink, dishes in the dishwasher, the Dyson out ready to vacuum something up, papers had been left open,  her clogs in the hallway neatly lined up…. the house even smelt of her perfume.

Everything was just as normal, just as it had been, and always was, waiting for her to come back and resume where she had left off.

Only that was never going to happen again.

Mum was gone.

80 years of memories, experiences, of happy times and sad times, gone like snow in the sunshine.

 

We all sat around talking, remembering, laughing and crying at the same time, until it got light.

We all needed some sleep, though that was easier said that done and we dozed off in the chairs in my Mum’s front room.

No one wanted to sleep in Mum’s bed.

We all secretly wanted to believe it was just a bad dream, and that if any of us slept in Mum’s bed and she caught us, she would go mental,

Mum’s bed, was MUM’S bed.

 

 

After a few hours of what could loosely be described as sleep, We all went to the hospital to try and get the death certificate sorted out ,make arrangements for Mum’s funeral and to engage a solicitor to instruct Mum’s will.

 

When we arrived at the hospital, a very nice doctor (who my siblings had been having dealings with from the last few days) took us in to a side room, had a long chat with us about Mum, why her condition had deteriorated so rapidly, and gave us a run down of her treatment over her last two days.

I was so tired I could hardly concentrate… everything was a blur.

 

I kept thinking of Mum and her last few months, shuffling around the house, trying to do her best, wondering why she wasn’t feeling or getting any better, whilst within her there was an infection that was growing and growing.

 

I though of the last 18 months that we had together, her first serious “ fall “ – slip – in December 2009, and her diagnosis in early 2010 that she needed a heart valve replacement.

Of the appointments that we went to, the pre op  tests, the intervening months when it was obvious to us, but not the medical profession that Mum’s condition was rapidly worsening.

Of Christmas 2010 when she was so ill she hardly attended the proceedings (we had Christmas dinner at Mum’s that year) because she was too tired and unwell, and of her increasing fatigue and memory problems as her valve problems grew worse.

Of the chats that we had together, her concerns and fears and her hopes and wishes for a healthier and fitter life.

One thing she was adamant on though, was that there was no way she was going to live as long as her mum whatever happened… words of prophesy.

My Family

 

I thought of her pottering around when she got eventually got home, finding it increasingly more difficult to manage in the house, even  with our  and outside help, and I thought of the last time I saw her, her wide brown eyes looking up at me as she said goodbye.

It was so sad, and such a shame.

 

Talking to the doctor did help a bit. It helped me understand or start to, the reason why she had gone from a frail but feisty old lady who had a fall, to one that was dying from an incurable infection, in such a short time.

He also stated that because it was believed that the infection was caught as a result of her heart operation, the coroner wanted a FULL INQUEST, which could be months away.

This was a blow, and meant postponing the funeral for a few weeks until we got an interim death certificate from the coroner (a week later).

 

Then came my last view of Mum.

 

The doctor asked if we wanted to see her.. All my siblings had been there all week, and didn’t need to, where as I did.. I HAD to see her just one last time, so they brought her up from the mortuary and placed her in the chapel of rest and ushered me in.

Poor old Mum…She lay there on the bed, cold as ice, but still Mum.

She smelt the same, she felt the same –her skin felt so soft, like silk, she always had a good complexion – she looked the same, though weirdly she looked as though she had put some weight on, her eyes were ¾ closed and she looked like she was just asleep… not dead.

For a moment I just stood there looking at her, willing her to wake up, but I knew in my heart that wasn’t going to happen

I took her hand in mine, and held it gently, and told her all the things that I had wanted to before she died.

I told her I loved her and I was going to miss her so much that it hurt.

That I didn’t know how I was going to cope without her and of how sorry I was that we hadn’t got back in time.

I told her that she once said that we didn’t love her for who she was, but only for what she was, and that I hoped that the events over the last two weeks had shown her just how much we DID love her…

I spoke for quite a few minutes, and then had to stop. I knew she couldn’t hear me, it was far too late.  I just couldn’t speak any more, the flood of grief and sorrow was overwhelming.

I said my goodbyes, kissed her on each cheek, on her forehead, and finally on her lips and left her lying there, at peace, my last sight of my poor old Mum.

“I’m going to miss you two” her last words to us

“I’m going to miss you too mum”…..

 

Before we left the hospital, I asked for a lock of Mum’s hair. They actually gave me two, and one is kept in a china ornament by the side of my bed. The other is in a multi windowed locket on a chain around my neck,  just long enough for the locket to rest above my heart.This gives me great comfort, and I feel like she is with me when I wear it.  

We then proceeded  to the undertakers to get things started, a traumatic process in itself.

This is where it starts to get a bit complicated….

 

My Dad died in 1981- July 12th to be precise.

We had a funeral, and a cremation, but Dad was never buried.

Mum kept his ashes in her bedroom, and at hard times would hold the container that they were in, for comfort.

 

When my Gran ( Mum’s mum ) died in 2006,  again we had a funeral and cremation ( this time though , the ashes were put in  to a casket ) and kept in her room at my mums house.

It was always her wish that the when she died, all 3 would be put in to the same grave, so that they could be together for eternity – This actually is a separate discussion which I might well cover at a later date – so in effect we were burying three people which brought three times the hurt too, long buried emotions bubbling to the surface again

 

Later that evening, we all went our separate ways back to our lives again.

Lives that were inconceivably different now.

 

Everyone had gone, there was just me and my wife left in the house. It was quiet, the only sound was the hum of the refrigerator in the dining room ,a room that held a lifetime of memories.

Everywhere we looked Mum was still there.

Her shoes lying forlornly in the hallway,  her dressing gowns hanging from the door in her room, a nightdress neatly folded on her bed, , her pillow, still with the shape of her head visible from 2 weeks before, everything waiting for her return.

Mum was there, but she wasn’t… and never was going to be again…..

All of a sudden the emotions became too much and we had to go.

 

There would be plenty more times I would be in the place.

It had to be cleared, all her possessions disposed of, either to the family, or to charity shops, and in all those times that I was there, until it was empty completely and sold,  the house never lost the essecence of Mum and kept the feeling that Mum was only temporarily gone and would return one day.

 

 

 

The next two weeks were a haze. I shut down completely.

All I could think about was poor old Mum, that she was gone, and how much I was going to miss her.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t go out..I couldn’t stop crying.

Everything I did or thought of reminded me of Mum, I couldn’t think of anything else, but there was one thing that helped blot out the pain of life right then…

My old friend Jack Daniels. I drank 4 litres in 5 days… It  just seemed the right thing to do, it dulled everything, made the heart ache more bearable.

 

Slowly I started to come round ( the jack ran out for a start, and I was banned from buying any more) and I began to take more of an interest what was happening around me, the funeral arrangements, designing and printing mums order of service, and life in general.

 

It has taken a long time for me to be able to think about Mum without getting distraught.

I still get upset now, and I miss her so so much, but at least when I’m asked how I’m doing, I can honestly say “I’m getting there “

 

 

My Mum

 

Goodbye my lovely Mum, until we meet again.

Forever is a long long time.

 

Mum – Happy Days

 

 

 

 

Hours to minutes – how soon is now?

And so began  the worst 24 hours of my life.

 

We woke up early as we had to pack, and also because I had received a message from home.

 

14/07/2011 06:59

mum had stable night, heart rate up to 70-80, responding a bit when you talk to her, still in pain so had more pain relief. Doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods tho

14/07/2011 07:02

Thanks Al, that sounds quite good. I’ll take no news as good news. Have you managed to get any sleep yet ? X

14/07/2011 07:04

We bogged off to a hotel last night and got a good 6 hours. We were not functioning at all yesterday.

14/07/2011 07:08

Thats good news too, also that mum was well enough to be left 🙂 are the doctors giving her a better chance now or is it still the same outlook but just with a longer time span? X

14/07/2011 07:10

We left because we could no longer function and they told us to go sleep. Not seen doctor yet so don’t know the answer to your question.

14/07/2011 07:13

Ok Al, just grabbing at straws

14/07/2011 07:15

So are we. Dont read too much into my brusqueness, it’s just text language 😉

14/07/2011 07:17

;-)Okey dokey thanks for telling me. I was a bit concerned 😦

 

50 years ago

 

Again the untold story of the texts is that talking to my sister on the phone elicited the information that the doctors had said they were thinking about a chest drain ( more below) and if this was successful, then Mum  would have to have it done every 3-4 days depending on how well they cleared up the infection…

 

EVERY 3-4 DAYS.. that’s what they said, every 3 – 4 days….

I told you mum was a fighter, but this was close on a miracle.

 

I thought about the email I had sent to my boss the night before.. “ I’m going to look a proper twat – I’ve just told my boss that my mum is dying,she’s got 48 hours to live, and here we are looking at a minimum of 3- 4 days but not only that , an ongoing EVERY 3 or 4 days.

This implied more than one op, and I was ecstatic..

Hope at last!

We finished packing and went to the beach barbecue relatively happy. Happy enough to enjoy it , and not be as miserable as sin.

I had forgotten those words No positive outcome

 

Stiil on the beach later that afternoon, more messages,

 14/07/2011 11:38

Doctors have decided that that mum is sufficiently stable for her to have a small op later this afternoon to put a drain in her chest to get the rest of the pus out. They think benefits outweigh risks as anti-bs will never clear infection on own and should also make her more comfy.

14/07/2011 11:43

That’s got to be good news .when will they do op? Good Luck to her , fingers crossed . I’ll wait for news love to all x

14/07/2011 11:44

They dont know the time yet, but hopefully this afternoon

14/07/2011 11:47

Okey dokey Ali hugs to everyone especially mum xxx

 

We said our goodbyes to our friends on the beach,and went back to our room.

Showered and dressed , we were just about to go for something to eat before we went home, when a message arrived.

14/07/2011 16:01

No news re op time, may be last thing tonight or if surgeon too tired may be tomorrow. We will probably go back to mums tonight if there is no change. I would suggest you go home from flight rather than straight here and then come over in the morning.

14/07/2011 16:09

Okey Ali, we were just discussing what to do. Do you want me to come to mums first or shall I go to the q.e in the morning.? Also what ward / floor is she on? I gather she is stable now ( good) have the docs said any more about her long term prospects ( or am I grabbing at straws again ) see you tomorrow x

14/07/2011 16:12

Suggest you come here, area d of critical care, opening visiting, ring the bell and say you’re mrs lords family. Stable is neutral, neither good nor bad, a plateau from which things will either get better or worse and there’s no guide as to which as this point.

14/07/2011 16:14

Ok thanks Ali, keeping it real 😉 see you tomorrow morning x

 

We went to our usual restaurant, had our meal, and were just finishing when the phone rang. It was my sister.

 “ The doctors have told us that Mum is dying. All her organs have failed and she is in a coma.  She’s definitely not going to make it through the night, and you are not going to make it here before she dies.”

 

My whole world collapsed in front of me. I could hardly speak for crying. It hurts now to write about that night

 

“ Poor old Mum “ I kept saying.” Please tell her I love her, and I’m going to miss her “

“ I’ll try , but she’s not conscious and she’s in a coma. Do you want to stay where you are? “

 

I considered this for a few seconds.. part of going home was to see Mum before she died. That wasn’t going to happen now, so what was the point.

 My family that was the point, my brothers and sisters who had stood guard over my mums bed for 4 days, waiting for me, their older brother to come back.

I suddenly felt the need to be with them, for their comfort and mine so I told my sister we were definitely coming back on the same flight and we would see them later.

Ok she said, and started to say something else, when she interrupted herself “ We’ve got to go now, I’ll phone you back straight away.

 

10 minutes later I was just sending

 

14/07/2011 20:16

Ali please tell her I love her, I’m going to miss so much & I’m sorry I wasn’t there when she needed me 😥 love to everyone I love you,alla

When I received

 

14/07/2011 20:16

Shes gone x

 

14/07/2011 20:18

Oh my god !!!!!! 😥

 

That was it. The rest of the evening was a blur.

I went and sat on the beach, the sea crashing on to the sand, tears streaming from my eyes, rolling down my cheeks and dropping into the dark blue mass of the sea.

For a minute I thought about throwing myself in there too, but I pulled myself together enough to walk back up to the restaurant and announced

 “ She’s dead… Mum’s dead! “

We said our goodbyes in a river of tears, I don’t know how we got to the airport, I drove apparently but I don’t remember any of it.

 

72 years ago

When we got to the airport,  my wife told the rep what had happened and asked him to help us check in, which to his credit he did

We then had a nightmare of a check in, with the check in girls demanding that we open the cases up to show them what was in there

“ It’s all fucking dive stuff “ I exploded, tears rolling down my cheeks.

“ ‘I’m sorry “ she said “ I’m really sorry, I have to do this, I have to check, I’m sorry I’m sorry “

She could see what a state I was in, and to be fair it wasn’t her fault, but right then, out of all the times and all the flights I’ve taken in my life, I really didn’t need all this hassle.

We finally checked in and boarded the flight.

I had missed her by just a few hours.

 

If only’s were running my head then and are running through my head even now.

If only we had got an earlier plane, if only we hadn’t gone on holiday if only if only if only.

 

Mum was gone and my life was about to change.

Time to go home now and face the future.

 

24 Hours.. just 24 hours

1 Day left- 24-HOURS – Wednesday 13th July 2011

With Mum being transferred to another hospital in the early hours of Wednesday 13th   , sleep that night was out of the question.We should have gone out with our Greek friends for something to eat (an occasion that we had been planning for a year) but because of the uncertainty of Mum’s condition and her imminent move, we pulled out.

It wouldn’t have been fair on everyone there, and also I felt like I was doing the dirty on my family, who were still at the hospital, and had been since Monday.

I tossed and turned until the early hours of the morning worrying about Mum, still undecided of the best thing to do, do we stay or come home, waiting for my phone to ring…which it did at 2.17 am UK time 4.17 am Greek Time.

It was just getting light.,…

 13/07/2011 02:17

Phone recharged tho signal shite. We have all made it to the QE alive, mum included! She’s hanging on in there.

02:19

Go girl ! She’s a fighter & no mistake 🙂 good luck to her, all our love xxx

04:05

Hi All, I’m so so sorry that I’m not there with you all. Thank you all so much for everything that you have been doing, I love you all so much. Hold her hand for us please, give it a squeeze & tell her we love her & are going to miss her so much it hurts. God knows what is must be like for you all there, it’s not good here 😥 xxx

 

That was it; my mind had been made up.

Against all the odds Mum had survived the journey, unbelievable..

God I was so proud of her.

 My brothers and sisters were exhausted, I was exhausted and I needed to be there, be in the hospital with them and Mum.

We were going home on Thursday, whatever the cost.

 

I called the dive centre, and told them that Mum was dying and we were going home.

We would come and pick all our gear up before they left harbour. They were very understanding and sympathetic, and said they would have it ready, which it was.

I don’t remember driving those 45 kms toKostown, I do remember crying my eyes out so much on the way that we had to stop for 10 minutes for it to stop.

When we got to the centre, our friend who owns it gave me a big hug, and I just burst in to tears again. I couldn’t stop, in front of everyone, the tears rolling down my face and in to the harbour water.

We said our goodbyes, and wished each other good luck, the tears running  down both our faces now.

 

13/07/2011 08:52

Hi Al, we are coming home either tonight or tomorrow, should be back Friday at the latest. Can’t hack it here, can’t stop crying.Paradise isn’t so nice anymore. Will call you when I have a definite time/ flight. How is the poor old girl & how is everyone else? X

08:54

She’s hanging on in there, so are we. Doctors to update shortly. No Positive Outcome, just a matter of time and making her comfortable.

 

The stress was on the no positive outcome and this confirmation of how ill Mum was didn’t help at all, causing another outbreak of distraught tears. When I had recovered I phoned my sister up for more news… and got a stressed out woman, who had had very little sleep for the last 72 hours, not too much to eat, and was at the end of her tether.

After a short conversation I put the phone down, feeling like I had been given a proper flea in the ear.

 

14:48

Sorry I got a bit shirty earlier, need a glass of wine and a weeks sleep;-) I know you’re just trying to make it through. Same for all of us.

14:54

Al no worries at all. You are coping with this so much better than I could even think of, & I will be forever grateful to you, to you all. I’ve been in the 24 hours hospital pressure pot) tho not for as long) & I know what its like. We can all just do our best, when I said earlier about seeing everybody it was because I just want to hug you all. See you soon, fingers crossed for the next update xxx

18:00

Hi, how did the 4 o’clock update go? How is mum? X

18:01

No change, for better or worse. No immediate danger. Just wait and see.

18:03

Sorry Al, will do 😦 just worried about her as we all are x

18:04

No I mean they’re saying we just need to wait and see…

 

That was it…

It was now as my sister had said a matter of waiting. The Q.E. had run a load of tests on Mum, and had managed to remove some of the pus from her chest, Mum was responding to the anti biotics at last, but the outlook was still not good..

 

I still had another week of holiday left after we got back, which I could see was going to be spent at the hospital all the time,supporting Mum and my siblings, so I thought it only fair to let my boss know what was happening as although the prognosis wasn’t good, the time scales for poor old Mum were changing by the minute.

 

 

 13.7.2011

Hi Ed, / Karen.

 I have had some very bad news from home about my mum and we are coming home  this Friday as the hospital has given her 48 hours to live.

 

 She had a fall while we were here, and was on the floor for at least 24 hours- the carer found her on Monday- she didn’t use the phone or the careline.. I don’t know why?

 But we didn’t find out here until Saturday evening, as my family didn’t want to worry me  & the prognosis wasn’t too bad.

 As the weekend has progressed her condition has worsened, she has  developed a severe case of blood poisoning, and abscesses in her chest from the operation. Her chest apparently has never healed up properly, so the infection is very severe.

 This has got worse over the last 24 hours , she has been transferred to the Q.E. for assssment,which was a risk in itself, where the specialist has told my brothers & sisters that she has got no chance of recovery, the infection is too deep rooted, and that basically there is nothing they can do… just managing her pain until she dies, which could be anytime from now.

 She’s a fighter though & giving it her best shot, which might prolong it for the 48 hours, so we might get back in time , though it isn’t likely.

 They aren’t going to put her onto a ventilator or life support as all this would do is prolong her suffering,.

 

 I’m sorry to send this terrible news by email, but I can’t talk at the moment, & I’m finding it very hard to keep myself together right now.

 It’s not fair on our friends here, or the other holiday makers, so we have brought the flight forward a week.

 I won’t be in next week as arranged, but I know that K is off for a week after that. I’ll try my best to get in but I’m not sure right now how long for  / when that will be.

 It might be a good idea to refresh other people with cashing up

 Sorry both, I’ll call you when we get back. I though you should know, it’s a bombshell 😦

 Hope your last 2 weeks have been better than mine, Ed you were right, what have we done???

 Cheers

 

 

The rest of the night finished in a bit of a haze with lots of tears. Tears of sorrow, tears of hope. We found some more Jack and finished that off  – not as much as the last time though,  I needed to be able to wake up if anything happened .

The next day, Thursday 14th,  we were due to go to a beach barbecue with our friends.

A lot depended on the news about Mum, if any, that night.

Mum was a fighter and would give it her best shot, whether she was unconscious or not, but at the back of my mind all the time were three words…

 

No Positive Outcome.

Gallery

Days to hours – 48 to go

This gallery contains 3 photos.

And God WAS willing. Mum made it through the night.. told you she was a fighter!   Plans made were plans changed, and they were changing by the minute. We were supposed to be going scuba diving that morning ( … Continue reading

My Dad – 31 years on – 12th July 1981

I had originally planned to post about my dad this time last year, to commemorate 30 years since he had died. Unfortunately the events of last July superceeded all other things,and I didn’t have the chance, time , or more accurately the inclination to post anything, as my life was in the process of being turned upside down with my mum’s hospital trip and subsequent demise.

I was going to completely rewrite this blog, but after reading it, I honestly feel that this post ( slightly altered from the original ) really sums up the feelings of 31  years ago.

It was a desperate time, one that I thought I would never get over.  I had a real bond with my dad, and his death when I was 23 had a profound effect on my life, and it took me years to get over it.  

Dad

.

Unfortunately he died in 1981,  after  that old cliche,  a short illness..

And it was short.

Taken ill  just before Fathers day ( ironic isn’t it ), to dead July 12th. He was only 48

Cancer, of the brain, a brain tumour, a nasty insidious evil way for anyone to die.

In less than 2 weeks I had lost my hero , my friend , my dad.

1981 was a strange time for all of us.

My mum and dad had temporaily separated, though it was looking permanent at the time.

Dad had bought himself a flat not far away from the  ” family ” domicile, and was struggling with the demands, both emotional and financial of the family, and of holding his career together, trying to see as much of us as possible, but without pressurising us into choices.

He had suffered from a slight paralysis of one side in early June, which the doctors thought was possilby a reaction to the stress of his personal life.

Wrong.

He was scheduled to have tests the week after Fathers Day, and I remember him going to a hospital in Northampton, where some clever and enterprising young intern suggested that this was not  ” Hysterical Paralysis “, but had all the halllmarks of  a brain tumour, and that he should be tested straight away.

They took him to the neurological hospital not far from here for the tests, and I went to see him on the Sunday.

I hadn’t seen him for a week before that and I was devastated.

He looked like an old tramp, it was shocking, this dapper , educated , sophisticated , proud, professional man …., they hadn’t even bothered to shave or wash him.

We got that sorted out, and after a wash & shave , he looked like a semblance of his former well self.

The results came through on Monday 29th June.

A horrible day….for two reasons.

It was a red hot day, sunny, dry, a beautiful english summer day.

I blew the engine on my motorbike on the way home, and had to push it 3 miles home.

Then the call… horrible.. just like a soap opera,

” Hello, I’m afraid they have found something… it’s a tumour…. a brain tumour.”

“Will he die?”

Yes….. I’m afraid so…..”

How long? “

“How long? “

Not long as it turned out, and the next 2 weeks  just flew past in a flurry of hospital visits.

I was lucky really, at least I had the chance to tell him how I felt, what it meant to lose him,and to tell him how much I loved him.

It took absolutely  ages to be even able to think about him without bursting into tears. I was sitting in a pub one day just chatting, and the floods came on, I was so embarassed..blokes dont sit in pubs blarting.

The emotional scars of that summer are still with all of us one way or another.

Time IS a great healer.. well not a healer really, but as the time passes, memories are not so vivid, hurts not so sharp,emotions are tempered with age and understanding, but I still miss him sometimes, even now over 30 years later.

I never thought that I would out live him, and I always thought that he would be around.

I had some great times with my dad, funny, serious, angry.. but I loved him and still do.

I would have given anything to have swapped places with him at that time.

Enjoy your time with your parents, they are precious times that can never come back.

Gone is gone, until the next life?..

1981….. it was a shit year.

My dad 

Footnote: I’ve read and re read this post so many times. I remember the pain of that time in 1981 still now, and I take heart from some of the words I have written, especially those about it getting easier after time.

That is very true, things have got easier where my dad is concerned, I can talk about him coherently without getting upset,remember the good times with a smile and not a tear, and take hope that this will happen with my Mum, and that time will ease the pain and sorrow I  still feel now.

But this time, the circumstances are different. After Dad died, everything carried on as normal, we were still in the same house, doing the same things, living the same lives more or less, except that dad wasn’t there anymore. There was a huge gap in our lives, but essentially life was the same.

This time EVERYTHING has changed.. Mum has gone, the house has gone, all the old reference points of my life have gone. The break is sudden and complete, all the little  familiar things are gone, my favourite places, places where we have shared so many things as a family, things of comfort are all unaccessable now.

There is a danger that my Dad is going to get forgotten in all of this. Mum’s death so close in date to his,albeit 30 years later, seems to have over shadowed the life and death of a brilliant man whom we all loved very much and miss still now.

Rest In Peace Dad xxx