Dad came home on Tuesday 8th October. For two weeks mother and ourselves cared for Dad at home. This was very much a familial time and a private one in hindsight. Dad was in great form and enjoyed having people visit him daily. Those two weeks and what they entailed will always be special for myself, my siblings, mother, grandchildren, neighbours and family friends. It’s not a time to share the daily routine but it can be said it was a very happy time. We laughed lots with Dad. He made us smile and laugh so much every day.
During that time I would bring work with me for Dad to do – simple tasks like folding paper for children’s workshops I was doing. He enjoyed those simple tasks just us at the kitchen table and him asking how much he was going to get paid. He enjoyed being able to help out in any way he could. And he did. He was a huge help to me. I hate folding paper and yet this simple task was something he enjoyed doing. He was so particular and it gave him a purpose.
Also during this time community and palliative nurses were calling to see to Dad. He really enjoyed those ladies coming in daily. He was such a social person his whole life that this was part of his social life those two weeks. I can never put into words how grateful myself and my family are to those nurses. To say they are and were special is an understatement.
And yet every day of this time I was grieving. I smiled daily and laughed out loud daily with Dad and my family. Yet at night I cried sore. Every day I treasured as my gut was telling me that the future was so uncertain.
After just two weeks at home Dad took unwell very suddenly and was taken back to hospital that Monday night, 21st October. As the ambulance arrived Dad looked at me and said, ‘you’re coming with me, aren’t you?’ There was no need to ask, I was going of course. As Dad and I left my home street that night in the early hours of the Tuesday morning, I knew that Dad wouldn’t be coming home. He sat up chatting to the medical team and laughing and joking. My family saw us off and I knew they didn’t think for a second he wouldn’t be coming home. As we drove to Letterkenny, I cried silent tears. My gut was telling me things I can never explain.
As we drove to the hospital that night I was grieving for the Dad I was losing. Grief for me was well underway. No one told me even at this stage Dad was dying. But my heart had told me weeks ago. And now I knew I was on the road to the end of Dads life, and by his side. Dad was always by my side in everything I did in life. So it was more than fitting that I made this last journey by his side.
The next few days are again familial ones. On Friday night just around dusk, Daddy fell asleep peacefully, surrounded by his family. I, like my family, cried so sore and we had all said our goodbyes. My grieving was well underway and yet the death had just taken place. Grief is so different for everyone and I now know that mine was, and continues to be, unique to me.
It was very fitting that Dad fell asleep forever at dusk. A time of day when we all switch off. The time to settle down for the night. The time to pull the curtains. At dusk Dad pulled the curtains on his life. And a light went out that night at dusk that I will never again turn on. A light that will never again shine.
My heart broke many weeks before that night, but that night it broke into so many pieces that it will never be whole again. I know my life goes on, and my heart will heal, but never will it be whole again.
My journey of grief was about to take me on yet another road. A road I had never envisaged travelling. A road without Dad.