Eight years ago today, I held my dad’s hand and said goodbye, as he took his last breath – it was the worst day of my life.
I’m still confused at how quickly my world turned upside down, as the cancer that we hoped my dad would beat, took his life. During the days leading up to this, we were optimistic that he would recover and come home.
I was up in Canberra visiting my family and my (now) husband had come up for the weekend to race in a triathlon. The plan was for the both of us to return to Melbourne after the race and then go back to Canberra the following weekend for Christmas. On the morning we were due to leave, I decided to stay and Anthony went home alone. I’m glad I made that decision, as it would have been worse if I hadn’t been there.
Later that morning, I answered the telephone at my parents house, to be told that my dad was being transferred from the hospital to palliative care. They said there was nothing more they could do and that they were now just going to make him comfortable. WTF! We were shocked, as we had no idea that he was that bad.
We went to the hospice and I spent the day with my dad, putting on a brave face and pretending that everything was going to be ok. When we went home later that night, I couldn’t wait for morning, so we could go back to visit. I wasn’t sure how long we had left.
Just before midnight I answered another telephone call, this time it was the one we had been dreading – dad had taken a turn for the worse and we needed to come in straight away. I thought I was going to faint. I got my mum and my brother out of bed and we raced to the hospital.
I felt a piece of my heart broke when I walked into the room and saw him there. It was like some kind of really bad dream and I just wanted to wake up.
We sat with him for a while and prayed for a miracle – unfortunately one didn’t arrive and as we slipped out of his room to grab a cuppa sometime in the early hours of the morning, a nurse came to tell us “this is it – if you want to say goodbye, you need to do it now”.
Oh My God! the whole room started spinning, I wasn’t ready for this, I didn’t want to say goodbye.
I took my mum’s hand and led her back to his room. We all said our goodbyes and as I sat down next to my dad, I kissed his cheek, told him I loved him & then watched him take one last breath. That was it – he was gone and it was the worst feeling ever.
Somehow I managed to drive us all home and crawled into bed with my mum just before the sun came up. Neither of us slept, in fact I don’t think we slept for days.
The rest of the day was a blur of phone calls and visitors. It was difficult having to call family members and friends and let them know what had happened. I managed to make it through most of the calls without losing it and tried to remain strong for my mum. It broke my heart to see her so sad.
The trip back to Melbourne was a long one. We decided to bring my dad “home” and bury him in his favourite place in the world “Melbourne”. The funeral was held a couple of days before his birthday and Christmas.
What once was such a joyful and festive time of year for my family is now tinged with sadness. It’s been made alot brighter since having my kids but I wish they had got to meet their grandfather and had the chance to know what an amazing man he was.
I miss you dad & I’ll love you forever x