Sunday, 25 December 2011

The end of waiting

Many of my posts have been tagged with "waiting". Well, the wait is over. My father died at 6 o'clock this evening. We were all with him and, despite some tricky moments, it was mostly peaceful. It's 1am as I am writing this and I do actually have plenty of time because my brother and I are taking shifts looking in on my mum every hour.

This last week saw a swift decline in my father's condition. He didn't get out of bed for most of it and, for the last three days or so, he was mostly unable to communicate. I started with quiet yeses and nos, then went down to nods, and eventually we were trying to guess whether a small movement in his eyes was assent. However, the brain fog completely lifted and we believe that he was aware until the end.

I won't go into the details of everything that happened tonight. I was sent to a nearby hospital to pick up morphine to help my father's pain. I was just about to raise holy hell because they wouldn't give it to me when my mother called and said to come home right now because we had run out of time. I got back about 30 minutes before he died and despite the fact that I saw things that I really wish I could unsee, it was worth it. We didn't need the morphine, in any case.

There are so many thoughts, so many worries, so much misery, that I don't really know how to arrange it all in a coherent form. This will not be my last post. In Jewish tradition we sit for seven days now, as a family, and are visited by people wanting to be with us. Obviously, this is after the funeral, which is tomorrow. Trying to get the undertakers to do their jobs was bloody difficult, as they close up shop at 4pm and don't reopen until 9 the next morning. But apparently, if you grease enough palms, you can get things to happen outside of those "work" hours.

Basically, what I was trying to say, before I got sidetracked, was that I have seven days in which to try to work out what I am thinking and feeling. My overwhelming thought for most of today was that people tell you that certain things in life are hard. Final exams, planning a wedding, loving your neighbour, that kind of thing. Many of those things I have hunkered down on and come out thinking "ok, that wasn't so bad". This is absolutely as hard and bad as they say. I can't overstate how difficult the last few days have been, and I don't mean sad or worrying, I mean difficult. There have been things I desperately did not want to do, such as say goodbye to my father, watch how the ambulance took him away or calling people to tell them the news that nevertheless had to be done. And so I did, and we did. I have been far from perfect in behaviour, but I need to allow myself that. To be fair, no one in this house has been exemplary this week. We all wanted to punch someone at some point.

I will start with one story from tonight. Only one and then I will try to rest a bit. After my father died, we sat in his room, all together. At some point the blanket was pulled over his face, a big duvet that kept him warm for a week. I simply couldn't bear the idea that he had his face covered, for the illogical, insane reason that I was worried that he couldn't see us and would be scared. Or that he wouldn't be able to breathe. Or something.

I won't tell you about what my family are doing, because it is not for me to make their business public. I will stick to myself, but only tell you that everyone is hurting and everyone is exhausted. A light has gone out of our lives. And I can literally feel the hole that he has left in my heart.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly how you are feeling and when you come back to Nottingham...I will be around to listen whenever you need. Even in the wee morning hours x