It is almost the exact hour, when twenty seven years ago time stopped for me.
It was a Friday morning. I was working on the geriatric ward as a student nurse. I was tired and feeling low, as my Dad was very weak, with motor neurone disease. The ward sister came over and asked me to go home. Thinking that she was just being kind I refused, but with the help of a friend she persuaded me to go. I didn’t know that she had received a phone call. I didn’t know my Dad had died. I didn’t know life had changed.
I asked her would she mind if I gathered a few things for my Dad, some suction tubing and wipes and other hospital bits that the ward were always so generous to supply me with. I was unaware of the hush around me, as nursing friends rushed to help me pack a bag for him. All the time knowing I would not need it.
At about 9.20am I was leaving the main hospital door when I decided to phone my Mom to tell her I was on my way. I knew she was also very tired, and I thought she’d appreciate the fact I’d be home soon, to be there with her and Dad. I went into the phone booth. There was no door on it, and I dialed home. Mom answered and as I told her I was on my way with the bits Dad needed, she interrupted me. ‘He’s gone Patricia..we’ve lost him’.
To this day I remember my utter confusion at her words. What? How could she lose him. He was bed bound. Immobile. I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. I said, ‘What do you mean Mum, where is he gone?’, Her words spoken through tears haunt me still, ‘He passed away Tric, we’ve lost him’.
My confusion left me, to be followed by such an array of emotions washing over me in waves. I can barely recall the minutiae of those next moments. I do remember shouting ‘No, No, No’, and my Mom trying to stop me. I remember her hanging up, and my overwhelming anger, fury, and incredible rage. I shouted and cried so hard. The security guards came and tried to speak with me. They made repeated efforts to remove me from the phone booth. I knew them well and looking back I am still embarrassed at my display. When I did burst out of that phone booth, lets just say they stayed well back, as I flung Dads needless supplies all around me, so cross that he would never need any of them ever again. Eventually a lovely old nun, who I was most fond of, was called to rescue the situation. All four foot six of her, stood before me, put her arms out, and said nothing. It was all that was needed. I crumbled.
Twenty seven years have done little to reduce the sadness I still feel at the loss of my Dad. He never saw me qualify, nor shared in any of my many trials and tribulations of life. He didn’t get to walk me up the aisle, to ‘give’ me to a man I know he would have hugely approved of. He never got to meet my children. To hold them, kiss them or love them. He and I have missed out on so much. So much of what we all think is a given. He left us way before his time.
So today October 9th, I wonder what might have been. I say to Dad,’ I miss you’, but then again, I say that almost every day, and I mourn the man I loved so dearly. My Dad.
I wrote this earlier today. Writing it was a lovely way to take the time to sit and remember Dad. However be assured I did not spend the day weeping, and all is good in my world. Sometimes, it is only when we take the time to sit and cry, that we can truly be close to someone we have lost. Now if I didn’t get to you with my post, just look at the song I chose for the day that is in it.