Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Year Ago

So much has happened in the past year that I haven't really had time to stop and think.  Nor have I had time to grieve properly.  For one year ago I was coping with the idea that I no longer had a Dad around.

You would think at my age it wouldn't matter so much.  The Hobbits had gotten to know and love their Grandpa.  I didn't rely on him for advice although looking back I wish I had asked more.

In fact, looking back I wish I had done a lot more.  Starting with getting him out of that damn hospital ward once I realised what an utter pit it was.  Yes, looking back that is one of my main regrets.

My last day with my dad was spent at his bedside, thankfully not in that awful ward but in a ward where patients were cared for with respect.  I held his hand.  He couldn't speak at this point but his eyes said everything.  For the first time in ages he looked healthy, happy and chipper.  Almost back to my old Dad really.

I wanted to stay - Mother was complaining that she had to get back to the dog and so I, the dutiful daughter, had to take her home.  In my mind I planned my visit for the next day, our next steps into getting him back and getting him into a decent home as the dementia was at the stage where Mother couldn't have coped.  It was stupid, I wanted to stay.  I knew my cousin was coming in and so I let myself be talked into leaving.  Sometimes I should listen to my heart and not other people.

I turned, gave my Dad a cheerful wave, told him I would see him the next day and that was it.  I have the picture in my mind of his expression as I left.  Did he know how close he was?  Did he want to ask for us to stay but couldn't?  By the time I got home my Dad was gone.

My cousin later told me how moved he had been by how my Dad died.  That it was the kind of ending we all should aspire to.  My Dad smiled, a tear rolled down his cheek and then that was it.  Sometimes I wish I had been there.  Sometimes I am selfishly glad that I wasn't, I couldn't have then taken on the subsequent task of arranging a funeral by myself - nor could I have done everything that happened next.  I would have been too busy grieving.  Too busy to make sure everyone else was all-right and tickety-boo.  Too busy to be the dutiful daughter.

My Dad's funeral, like his death, was appropriate to the man.  People remembered fondly (and don't we all wish to be remembered in that way), old photographs were passed around, anecdotes were told and laughter outweighed sadness.

Because my Dad led a good life, was a decent, honest, warm, kind-hearted man.

A rare species.  And for that, always missed.

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