Nurse Loves Farmer


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Tuesday, 25 June 2013 13:14

One Year of Mourning

This morning the phone rang just before 10am. It was my Grandma calling to see how I was.

Last year on this day, at around 10am after a long weekend spent next to my Dad's bed at his care home, I had been awoken by the sound of the telephone ringing. It was my Mom with the shortest and heaviest phone message I have ever experienced.

"He's gone."

My Dad was gone. 

As odd is it may be, that following week was one of the most blissful weeks of my life.  Dad's awful journey had begun on June 1, 2010 and the following years - particularly the last three months of his life were nothing less than horrific. 

The last conversation I had with him was in spring of 2012, and I documented it here on my blog, because I had asked him to allow me to interview him about parenthood. Only days later, I wrote this update on his situation. It was the beginning of the end, for my Dad. Soon afterward, he was moved into a care home, and while he was there it felt as though our world was falling apart. My family was devastated, and everyone mourned differently - in the process we were tearing each other apart. The emotional toll on all of us was huge, and I was trying to juggle being a new mother while pregnant, helping to advocate for my Dad amongst the healthcare system as well as in our family and not lose my mind in the process. 

When my Mom called to tell me that Dad was gone, my only thought for a number of hours was that it was 'finally over'. This was even the text message I sent to many people that day who had been prayerful and supportive of us, and were constantly awaiting updates.

"It's over."

I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders - as though I was free for the first time in a long time. I spent that week thinking about my future - because although Dad didn't have one, I still did, and it was as though my life had suddenly begun again. After spending months trying to sort out the appropriate amount of time to spend with my Dad - not knowing if each time might be the last, or if he were to live in his near-vegetative state for years to come - and juggle this with all of my other roles and responsibilities, my time was suddenly my own again. It was thrilling. 

I wrote this tribute to him and read it at his funeral, and although I cried on the morning he died as I stood and looked at the body he no longer inhabited, I didn't cry again until after I had finished reading it. 

I felt guilty, and I was certainly sad, but I knew that my Dad would have been glad to know that I was ok. That he would want me to be ok. I had a really great week.

The next week was ok, as were a few after that, but soon after I think the truth of losing my Dad - forever - really hit me. I would sit on the bathroom floor and cry until I couldn't breathe, feeling more pain than I thought was possible. And because I had been handling it so 'well' for weeks already, I didn't want anyone to know that I was suddenly struggling with dealing with the situation.  

Then, gradually, things got somewhat better, although I chose to ignore my faith completely. I certainly still believed in God, but I was too angry to talk to him. For the most part, I avoided thinking about Dad.

When Audrey was born, I was flooded with memories of Dad when Clara was born. When I called to tell my parents that they had a granddaughter, it was my Dad who answered, and I'm so glad for that because this time, he wouldn't answer the phone.  I struggled again, because this was an event that Dad was supposed to be there for. He was supposed to see the births of all of his grandchildren - that was simply the way it was supposed to be. 

Christmas was a blur, and I again struggled with all of the moments that my Dad should have been there to share.

Shortly after Christmas I started talking to God again. I was still angry, and I still struggle with not knowing why he took my Dad from me, but I knew that simply not liking my situation or what God had done didn't mean that God had changed. If he existed before my Dad died, God still existed now. If God was a loving God before my Dad died, he was still a loving God now. If everything in my life so far had given me reason to believe that God was a God who 'had my back' and knew better about everything than I did - then I had to trust that all of this was still true.  I know there are times when my daughter will think my choices as a parent are horribly unfair because she won't be able to see the big picture, and I believe in a God who is far greater from me than I am from my daughter, so I know there will be times when I can't see the big picture. 

Lately my biggest struggle has not been anger at God, but at other people. I am angry when someone slights my Dad, or my feelings about my Dad, in any way. I am angry when someone feels sorry for themselves about anything less than dying young. I want to scream "Just be glad you're still alive!!!" Lately a family member voiced their pity for someone who's birthday had been ignored at this time last year - because of my Dad's death - and I want to shake that person and yell "Do you understand how blessed they are to even HAVE another birthday??? Because my Dad doesn't. My Dad's mother spent her birthday last year watching her son die. I have a long list of people I can feel sorry for in reference to last June, and someone who didn't really get a birthday party doesn't quite make that list." 

I know I need to deal with my anger, because it only hurts me and I can't control what anyone else says or does. As time goes by the tragedy of my Dad dying seems to lessen - when I say my Dad died last year, I am met with calm 'Sorry to hear that's, and 'oh, that's too bad' instead of the gasps of shock and hugs I got at this time last year - and it's funny because then I thought it was an overreaction because I thought I was fine. Now I feel less fine, and could use a hug. 

I don't know how long it takes to mourn the death of a close family member, and I don't know how my stages of mourning will play out from now on. This is how my last year has been, emotionally, and although I know it's slowly getting better, it's still very hard. 

My daughters will never know the man who gave me my life - in more ways than one - and that tears me apart.  

But there's nothing I can do about it. 

Read 3263 times Last modified on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 22:15

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