He died tonight

By the time I’ve finished typing this my ever-so-logical father will be gone.

He had an awful childhood but, within the constraints of his emotionally-stunted upbringing, he was a kind and always helpful person. Expressing affection was impossible for him, but he had a sharp sense of humor and an amazing intellect fed by an insatiable appetite for non-fiction books. I can’t ever recall him hugging me or telling me that be loved me, but the stiff upper lip of the Englishmen of his generation is legendary. I can’t blame him for it.

He collapsed in the kitchen and his partner found him a few minutes later. He was already in cardiac arrest, his third and final heart attack. The emergency services talked his partner through resuscitation until the ambulance arrived. According to the nurse in ICU, his heart was already too damaged to sustain life and they only kept him on life support long enough for family to say their goodbyes to my unconscious dad.

I was supposed to call him yesterday evening but the reminder on the phone went off when I was away from home and I forgot about it by the time I got back. At 1am this morning, I got The Phone Call. Too late now, SD…

My father the logician had no interest in deep feelings or sentiment. He planned for no funeral and for his body to go to science. When he sent me copies of this material some years ago with a Living Will, I called and explained to him that a funeral wasn’t for *him* (as he wasn’t religious) but for the people left behind. This had never occurred to him before. At the moment, I don’t know if he updated the paperwork or not. So I don’t know yet if I’ll be on a plane to Australia in a few days.

This hasn’t fully sunk in yet and I’ve been busy tracking down my outback brother and other family, so I’m still able to write about it in a detached way. Don’t expect anything so lucid tomorrow… I can feel it welling up but have it under control just for now. Just barely.

Good night, treasure your family moments, and don’t forget to make that phone call you’ve been putting for a while…

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About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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32 Responses to He died tonight

  1. Jo says:

    That is very sad, I’m so sorry x

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  3. Lady E says:

    Oh my god, Sean. I am so sorry. Words sounds dreadfully hollow here though. Hugs from across the Atlantic.

  4. Caroline says:

    I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you at this very tough time.

  5. mysterycoach says:

    I’m sorry Sean…

  6. That’s so very sad. I’m so sorry.

    • Thanks very much CV

      … And kudos to having the most interesting mix of words for your screen name, especially when couple with the gravatar. However did you decide on these three?? πŸ™‚

  7. TikkTok says:

    I’m so sorry, Sean. Don’t beat yourself up- I am sure your dad knew you were thinking of him.

    Lots of thoughts rumbling through my melon this morning. Have an aunt (59) recently diagnosed with a very aggressive and rare cancer. It is, of course, terminal. The question is how long. Survival rate is 0% at two years. This morning, she goes in for surgery to clean out the blood from two internal hemorrhages. She is not strong enough for general anesthesia, so they’ll do local and go in through her not-very-old incisions from her surgeries a few weeks ago.

    Hope your mum and her maybe-not-really-legal hubby made it home safely. You’re totally right- treasure your family. Life is more fragile than any of us give it credit for…. {{{hugs}}}

    • Thanks TT.

      I’ve had a number of similar stories from friends. People who flew to see an ill parent after delaying the flight for a day and then being too late, that kind of thing. My dad was always very comfortable with occasional chatting about the substantive stuff. (Whereas my mum spends about 1/3 of our interactions telling me I don’t talk to her enough and she doesn’t see how she could have 50% more “interaction time” without her complaints.)

      I’m sorry to hear about your aunt. I hope she is comfortable. When my father-in-law (if that is still the right term) was dying last year, our greatest worry was that he would be suffering. But the medical staff ensured he was in very little pain and he spent lots of time with family right up to the end.

      An odd thing is my mum will arrive home (if she doesn’t miss a flight) only the day before I arrive in Australia. That has to be odd for her…

  8. goyagrrl says:

    Dearest SD,
    My deepest condolences to you and your family. My thoughts are with you. Big hug.

  9. I’m so sorry, SD 😦

  10. So very sorry. My dad died 14 years ago and it still feels like yesterday 😦

    • Hi QoZ. Thanks very much. Another blogger mentioned to me something very similar. These big life events hang over our futures in ways we don’t appreciate for a long time sometimes…

  11. everevie says:

    Hey Sean…you are right about cherishing our moments while we have them. I’m sorry you missed that last conversation with your father, but I hope you don’t hold onto what you missed…but only all that you gained throughout your life with him.

    I’m sending condolences and hugs from across the miles.

    • Thanks Evie. Ever since my family almost split for good in 1998, I have treasured my relationship with my girls and with my runaway wife. I didn’t want any of them to think I didn’t care enough.

      I wonder if I have taken my parents for granted and need to focus more on my mum…

  12. I am so sorry, SD. Hugs from Portlandia.

  13. John says:

    I am sorry to hear about your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

  14. Surrey gal says:

    I’m so sorry 😦 This hasn’t been the easiest year for you, has it…

  15. Alaina says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad…hope the funeral and associated gatherings will have some nice moments for you and your family.

    • Hi Alaina,
      Thanks very much. I started writing a post about the first day I will be in Australia, when most of my family will be together for dinner. I’ll try to finish it before I leave. It will be better if it’s future tense…

  16. I don’t even know you and yet I feel your pain coming through your post. Please take care of yourself, give yourself the space to grieve and come to terms with whatever feelings this brings up in you.

    May you find peace in your memories and the knowledge that he isn’t suffering any longer….

    Blessings,

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