On Friday 21st of November 2014 I’ll be laying my dad to rest. It really doesn’t quite feel like it was two and a half week since he died. It feels like a lifetime has passed.
In the last two weeks I’ve thought so much about all the things that I wanted to say to him – not because he’s gone, but things I’d been saving up to say to him when I was supposed to see him in person. I know they say that you remember the last conversation you have with the person who died, I do, and I wish it had been a better one.
It’s not that we argued, but because my dad had become so disorientated the conversation was confusing and distorted. I guess I’ll remember that.
Whatever picture you have of someone dying, because of what you’ve seen in the movies, it’s wrong. He didn’t just drift off to sleep. He struggled for every one of his last breaths that he took. He wasn’t conscious at the end.
The one thing my job and my latent curiosity gives me is a depth of understanding. I knew his frontal cortex would have been firing even if he wasn’t fully there. I know he waited for me. I let him go.
Life has been a blur for the last two weeks. A dizzying mix of dealing with everything and then, just full stop. Then the tears that wash over you and the weight that presses down on your chest and you can’t breath properly.
The stupid inevitability of what was coming is lost on me somehow. I knew it was nearer than I wanted to believe. I still feel like I’ve somehow been robbed.
I’m also angry at myself. For not telling my dad months ago that it was OK to admit that he’d just had enough of living. That his life had become so sad and empty, and that he just wanted to be at peace. So I told him at the end it was OK to go.
My dad gave me so much of who I am. He gave me humour, and humility. He gave me vulnerability and belief in myself. He taught me so much that I’ll never be able to thank him for properly. In the end however, it’s nothing without the ability to share it with someone.
Perhaps that’s what’s made me feel the worst. That in the last year I’ve lost so much. That I’ve done this all on my own. On one side is the understanding that I know I can do this all on my own, and on the other? that I don’t want to do this all on my own.
Right now, there’s a big hole in my heart left by two people this year. I wish there weren’t.