Its been such a long time since I updated here. So much has happened, things got busy, life got in the way. I will try to update and explain a little bit, fill you in on some goings on and try to explain the world inside my head.
It may be long. So if you are interested in reading perhaps make a cuppa, get comfy and Ill see you on the other side.
August was when I last wrote, it wasnt a bad month as far as things go. Summer holidays mean that we get to chill out with schoolie friends and family. As always there are those who don’t like that, there was jealousy and fall outs which we dealt with, and what came after made sure that there was no returning. Because real and true friends are there for you when your darkest times come calling, they don’t walk away. So in the dark times that followed August anyone who wasn’t prepared to brace themselves against the storm with us confirmed their absence from the rest of our lives with no argument.
But I digress, we had a good August, a lovely summer. We went on numerous adventures with different people. Then a stomach bug hit the household. Starting with the youngest it wiped us all out gradually, before finally hitting my brother and my dad while they stayed with us.
However, while we recovered my dad seemed unable to shift it completely. After about 2 weeks he visited his friends at his church and they made the decision to call an ambulance for him after a near collapse. I drove to the hospital and my brother also drove up and met us there. Dad seemed in good spirits and they were treating him for dehydration, but there was some concerns regarding his blood pressure which could not get stable. The drs suggested that this was a result of his dehydration upsetting his medication and they made the decision to keep him in and monitor him. I returned home feeling not to concerned, this was a Monday and we were booked to go on holiday on the Friday, a holiday that dad had been looking forward to coming with us all year.
Tuesday we went out to meet some new friends, a local home ed family whose children got on brilliantly with my little ones, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the park while I awaited news that my dad had been discharged. That call didn’t come. That afternoon I received a call from him that I think will stay with me forever, he didnt think he would be out to come to Scotland with us, because the tests had found cancer.
The rest is a bit of a blur, I got to him on Wednesday and we spoke some more, I spoke with the drs about discharging him, but in the end it wasnt possible, they still couldnt get his blood pressure or his diabetes under control due to the type of tumors, they also wanted to keep him in for a biopsy. We made the very difficult decision to continue our holiday plans as he insisted that we still had to go ahead and get lots of photos.
I phoned him every day. It was a good holiday all things considered. It was a 10 day road trip which took us up the East of the country to Beamish Museum, Alnwick Castle to Edinburgh. We rode the Falkirk Wheel, then travelled up to the Highlands. We made it to the Isle of Skye and then back down via The lake district, Blackpool and Chester Zoo.
Tests confirmed cancer in his liver, lungs, bones, pancreas…… there was nothing to be done. He refused treatment to prolong the inevitable and we all supported his decision however hard that was. We were able to book and take him to see the Harry Potter Studio Tour as he loved it there and he had not seen the gringotts part yet. I am so glad that we were able to do that. He saw his eldest grandchild turn 18, he attended all their birthday parties and was here for Halloween. We worked hard to make memories and to enjoy as much time as we could together.
In November he had a fall, my best friends husband had called in to visit him and phoned me to let me know that he had needed to call an ambulance. As it turned out, that fall broke my dads back. We don’t know if this was due to the fall or due to the cancer weakening his bones, but from then he was bed ridden and unable to get up. The Orthopedic drs at the hospital made the decision to focus on his comfort rather than his recovery and discharged him on to the palliative care team. He was moved from the hospital to the hospice of st francis. He had known them there for many years The hospice had cared for my mum in her final days 25 yrs previously and my dad had done many years of charity work for them, noteably, as Santa, how he was known by many all over the town. When he arrived at the hospice we found his room had already been decorated with a christmas themed blanket on his bed and “Welcome Santa” written on his door.
I can not praise the hospice enough. They were warm, welcoming, loving and supportive. There is a lounge and they were able to wheel dad in his bed through so he could still see the children playing with the toys and play kitchen there. There was no limit to visitors, no visiting times and food was what he fancied. He phoned me very happy that he had been given Lemon sorbet for breakfast. The salvation army band came and played for him in the lounge and family and Friends visited from Mansfield and Birmingham. Guests were allowed to eat as well so my brother was able to stay and join him for dinner.
But he grew tired, he was done, he had enough. Saturday the 7th December he was drifting in and out and said he had enough and was ready to sign the paper work and go, we all assured him there was no paperwork to sign. Sunday while I was there he didn’t wake much, other than to shout “shut up” when I was chatting to another of his visitors. Now it seems strange to think, that was the last thing I heard him say. I didn’t manage to get to him on Monday because I had hospital appointments for the children, i planned to spend Tuesday with him. But at approx 2am Tuesday morning my dad passed away.
I cant say much else, I am sure you can imagine how broken hearted I was and remain. He was a huge part of our world.
We have been in a bubble of the practical stuff, sorting his flat etc…. which we returned the keys and ended his tenancy on the 10th Feb. His car was collected a week later on the 17th, and so life continued for us.
But I am without my biggest supporter and one of my best friends. I no longer have him turning up here in the morning and making me tea before we head out on a random adventure. I run the adventure playground social meet and he isnt there to chat to everyone. I am no longer able to phone him when we come out of hospital appointments to update him. This month N learnt to swim underwater, and I wasn’t able to get straight on the phone to let him know.
I see little towns that I drive through, and I know that in another lifetime we would have gone and walked around, just to be nosy. We would have stopped and he would have bought us ice cream. Now I have no one to explore with, it takes a special kind of someone to pass time visiting somewhere without an end goal, just for the sake of “seeing whats there”
Its taken a while and a conscious effort for me to start trying to get out the house again, to try visiting new places. Its a strain but I know that we must try to keep going. And so I am back. I am sure I will write some more in time.