There’s a list of things in life that you hope you never have occasion to write about. This one is at the top of that list. I could have chosen not to write about it here, but that felt wrong, like I was getting on with my life without recognising the huge shift that has happened in my world.
I lost my dear Dad 13 days ago, and we held his funeral 1 week and 2 days ago today. His death was not unexpected. He had been diagnosed 4 years ago with Motor Neurone Disease, and he had become very ill. But despite the knowing and expecting, the end was swifter than we’d ever imagined & it hurts like someone has ripped my insides out.
I, along with my brother, sister and Mum, have cried a river of tears for Dad. The wretched cruelty of MND broke Dad’s body, took away the physical strength that had provided him with a career and which in a way, defined him for his adult life. It diminished his strong, shapely legs to mere skeletons. Dad was always a voracious eater, food was his joy but MND took away his appetite. When Dad sneezed, the whole neighbour heard it, but MND stole that trait from him too. It took away his ability to cough, and in the end, to breathe. It was robbing him of his memory, and his ability to process thoughts and questions.
But the things MND did not take away from Dad are the things we’ll be forever grateful for. Until his very last day on earth, he was able to talk and communicate with us. And he could give us his trademark hugs, albeit with less intensity than they used to have. We were given 4 years of life to live with him since his diagnosis, and that meant time to appreciate each other, to take holidays and make memories for us and his grandchildren.
It hurts like hell to know that he’s gone and that I can no longer pop around the corner to visit him like I used to several times a week. To think that our family is no longer whole…. is just so different and strange. My heart hurts for my mum, and her empty house and empty days. She gave her life to him in the last few years, and over the 44 years of their marriage, and now she faces her retirement without a life partner. I can’t say alone, because she has all of us and her friends and sisters. But there is no one to keep her warm at night, and that’s the bit that makes me cry.
I will always love you, my brave, beautiful Dad.