The Day my Dad died…

A week ago today – 15th April ’15 –  my dad passed away.

It was a beautiful spring day, from his hospital bed overlooking Aberystwyth we could hear birds singing and lambs bleating, and see blossoms growing everywhere – he would have loved all of that.

He had been in the intensive care ward for over a month, he went in with severe double pneumonia but suffered a collapsed lung and sepsis infections along the way. For most of the month he’d been sedated and on a ventilator. We’d had real highs – we had several days where he was awake and was able to hear and see us, and hold our hands. We’d had real lows – I think 4 times we were called into the relatives room to be told that he was unlikely to make it through that night. But he kept on fighting.

The day he died, they told us that the sepsis (blood-poisoning infection) had gone too far – they was nothing more they could do, they would have to ‘withdraw treatment’. We didn’t argue – we knew they had tried every possible treatment during the last month to try and help him, including amputating his sepsis-ridden right foot. He had put up a good fight but now it was his time to go.

We spent many hours waiting to find out if his organs could be donated, they couldn’t but at least we tried – we knew he wanted that. Once we knew that, the doctor came in at 3pm and very business-like just confirmed what was about to happen and started to unplug everything that he was on. The only thing they left on was morphine, so he wouldn’t feel any pain.

We sat with him until he took his last breath at 4.30. We had a funny moment when we thought he’d gone and I was bawling and said ‘I don’t want to let him go!’ and he took another breath! We all laughed and what a lovely thought to think he might have heard us, even though he was essentially in a coma. I stroked his hair, and held his hand, and cried, for most of that hour and a half.

I never would have imagined wanting to be with someone when they died, but it was very peaceful and soothing, not scary at all and I think he would have liked to have been surrounded by his family.

After spending most of the day crying, the few hours after he passed I felt strangely calm and at peace. I managed to eat a chinese take-away despite not hardly eating the last few days and weeks! When we went to pick up the take-away, I saw my first sign from him – I passed a house window full of toys, and there were 2 little toys in there that we’d bought him when he was in hospital – that was lovely and spooky!

It’s been a heck of a week since then. My dad was a huge part of the community here in mid Wales so we’ve had endless visitors – including many grown men arriving in tears! Some of the visitors have been good therapy as they’ve come with funny stories/memories/anecdotes – many of which I’d not heard.

Other visitors have turned up and maybe stayed a bit too long – too many awkward silences! We’ve had about 300 cards, 30 cakes and so many flowers that we’ve had to buy more vases and have now started giving flowers away to friends!

I went to a local concert 2 nights after he died, with my auntie as they were giving my dad a tribute – it was lovely but maybe a bit too soon in hindsight- I cried through most of it!

I went back to Cardiff for the weekend to see my baby! I’ve only seen him for a few days here and there over the last month or so, I miss him but right now I feel more like a little girl wanting her dad, than a mum. I cried most of the way to Cardiff as it felt like I was leaving my dad. If his house, village and area were all-consuming about him, going home to Cardiff was the opposite- it felt surreal to not be surrounded by his death.

The day after he died, the local funeral director came to arrange the funeral – something I never thought I’d have to do. We’re holding it on Saturday, 10 days after he died, to give people enough time to make travel arrangements etc- the funeral director who knew him, says he expects 600-700 people will attend, thus showing the impact and reach of my dad is various communities from golf to Welsh literature to bee-keeping to male voice choir singing.

The upcoming funeral is daunting, but I am looking forward to the ‘celebration’ part of the day – I want to consume myself in stories and memories about him.

Over the last week I’ve strongly come to believe that he chose his time to go – he’d had a very full life with no regrets. He’d seen his daughters grow up. He’d become a tadcu (grand-dad) and as I know (and everyone keeps telling me!) he was so happy and proud to be a tadcu! He was young at heart, and never wanted to be old. He was so full of life that it would have been awful for him, and everyone to see him, limited in anyway. So I think he chose his time to go – on a high.

Despite that, it still feels like he went too soon – I am gutted that he won’t see baby W grow up and/or meet any other potential grand-children. But I have to keep remembering the happiness and joy he had from the 10 months that he had with him. We were lucky enough to be with him, on St David’s day weekend, just a day before he fell ill.

So I have tried to rationalise everything – it was his time to go, it was the right time, he’s in a better place and in no pain, he had a wonderful life and touched so many people with his warmth, kindness, patience and cheeky smile which will be a comfort.

But I still cry several times a day – I miss him so much and can’t believe I won’t see him again (on this planet!) Some people have told me that I will always feel like this. Other people have said that time will heal. Someone said ‘it doesn’t get easier, but you get better at dealing with it’.

I will always love you dad, I’m so proud of you – of everything you achieved and the exceptional person you were – truly one in a million. I know you were so proud of me (and my mum/sis/baby W), I will miss your sunday evening phone calls, I will miss you sending me press cuttings about my line of work, or baby stuff, or anything! I will miss you so much, thanks for being the best dad and tadcu ever, caru ti dad x x x x x x x x

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10 thoughts on “The Day my Dad died…”

    1. Thank you so much Ruth – it’s true that blogging can be therapeutic – I just had to get some words done, didn’t even read or edit it so it’s crazy how powerful words can be!
      Thank you again x x x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sending love
    It’s my Moms one year anniversary next week and I can’t believe I’ve survived this year. Losing a parent affect everything and will never ever ever leave you. It’s changed me as a person without a shadow of a doubt
    I like you never thought I would ever want to see someone die but I’m so glad I was there right to the end
    I’m sorry for your loss. It is so hard xxxx

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  2. Beautiful and heartfelt post, what a lovely tribute to your dad. My mum passed away in Nov 2012 and I was with her too – can totally relate to the feeling of finding it peaceful and soothing, not at all as I’d imagined it. I think it’s very hard to get over the loss of a parent, especially when you have a child yourself (I had an 18 months old at the time and them fell pregnant with my second just 8 weeks after she passed, so very bitter-sweet) – but I like to think she is still there watching over me, as is your dad I’m sure. I have come to realise that you slowly get used to a new kind of ‘normal’. Thank you for sharing x

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    1. Thanks so much for calling by and sharing your experience – I like your advise about ‘getting used to a new kind of normal’ – that makes a lot of sense and I will try and remember that over the next few weeks and months. thanks again x x x

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  3. Oh gosh Heledd… I don’t know where to begin. I’m sat here, Squidge on my lap and crying my eyes out for you. As you know, I’ve been through this and know how hard it is. Everyone’s grief journey is different, the only common ground I’ve managed to find is that these deep dark moments become fewer and fewer as time goes on. You’ll never forget him and how wonderful he was, but thinking about him and talking about him will get less painful as time passes.

    It’s actually one of my regrets is that I wasn’t there when my mum died – I don’t think we realised just how series it was when they admitted her back to hospital – she’d been in and out so many times and the weekend before she had seemed so much better – alas, she was dying and only had hours to live… anyway this isn’t about me!

    You know if you ever want to talk, I’m here. Your Dad was the same age my mum was when she passed too – far too young – but like you said, it’s wonderful he got to meet W and become a tadcu 🙂

    Georgina
    xxx

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    1. Thanks Georgina – you’re now the 3rd colleague to cry…. sorry!!! It must bring back so many memories of your mum – it will be really helpful to talk over a coffee when you’re back in work! Thanks for sharing your experience, I do hope time helps as you suggest! x x x x

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      1. It does – but that’s not a bad thing – I need to cry about it (I tend to bottle it up, then it all pours out at once). Of course, I can’t promise I won’t cry though 😉

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  4. I’m so sorry to read this darling. I’m sat here sobbing for you. I can feel the love exuding from your writing.
    You are right – your Dad will have been so proud of you and will be with you always xxxxxx

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