Warning – this is a long post about loss and grief. Friends, please don’t read if this kind of thing upsets you.
Last Wednesday my father died.
Wednesday was also the last day I had with my daughter, before I put her on the plane early the next day. She was up for a brief, one week visit. We were to go and have tea with my dad that evening, the last family get together on her hectic itinerary. At 5pm I rang and said we would be at his place in 15 minutes. Just before we got there my father had just had a ‘turn’ and his wife had called the ambulance. He had an aortic anuerism which we knew would burst one day and that day had just come. An hour later we got the news that he had died.
We are amazed at the timing of it all. If we had arrived five minutes sooner, my daughter (15) would have seen dad having his ‘turn’ and I’m glad she was spared that. 15 minutes later and he would have already been taken away by ambulance. We had a ten minute window of opportunity to see him before the help arrived. As I was talking to him I noticed things about him that I’d not noticed before. Little, insignificant things.
12 hours later I was putting my daughter on the plane (I wish I could tellyou about the delightfull time I had with her). I went back to my dad’s place and just sat and comforted his wife and helped her with arrangments that needed to be made. Dad had said that he didn’t want a funeral and he didn’t want us making a lot of fuss. He was cremated yesterday, just the way he wanted.
I wanted something to commemorate my father and I had an idea to buy a ring, that way I’d have something close to me. I don’t really like to spend a lot of time shopping, so I just left it to fate that the ring I needed would be found. I went to a couple of jewellery stores but couldn’t see what I was after. I thought, I’m going to try one more store and if it is not there, I’ll just give the idea away. I went into the last store, made a selection, slipped it on and immediately knew it was the one. Perfect details, perfect fit.
I got up this morning and thought I do a bit of a tidy up and look for my other rings that I took off 10 months ago, but haven’t been able to find since. Lo and behold, I found them in less than ten minutes looking in the place I had been looking all along. One of the rings is one that I bought myself for my fortieth birthday. I went and bought the biggest diamond ring I could afford with my settlement money from my separation. We were together fifteen years and my partner never once bought me a ring, so to celebrate my new beginning I bought my own. I slipped it on next to my dad’s ring and it sits beautifully next to it. I love my dad.
When I was nine my mother ran away, took us (kids) with her and relocated on the other side of the country. I was not allowed to mention or cry about my dad. Just after I turned forteen my father found us and our reunion was bittersweet. Those few short years intervening years had taken a toll on my father, he was a broken man. I was so delighted to be reunited with him, but then came the parting a couple of days later because he had to go back to his life and work. It was heart wrenching and tramatic. Dad and I had a very bad case of separtion anxiety.
For the next thirty years we went thru the same thing everytime we visited each other and had to part company. We just couldn’t cope with the parting. Several years ago I moved to the city where he lived and found a place to live nearby. For the next five years I got to visit him often and not have to go thru the whole parting ordeal.
Among other health issues, he had dementia. I would often go around and have a cuppa with him and his wife. Dad couldn’t follow the conversation but would sit and listen as best he could. While I nattered away with his wife I would look at my dad and feel connected to him. But I knew the day was fast approaching when the final separation would come. That day came last Wednesday.
I have coped with it surprisingly well. I’ve cried and felt saddened. That is until today. Today I’m living my separation anxiety. If I had to rate this grieving compared to all the other times I had to go thru this with him I would honestly have to say it is no worse. It is been traumatic every time and it’s intencity was never wavered. And just like every other time, I know I’ll eventually calm down and go about my usual business.
Today I grieve for what happened to us in 1975 when I was just nine years old. Time never did heal that wound, sad to say.
I love you dad.