I lost my dad on 30th April this year. He had been so poorly for so long. I chucked my job and helped my mum care for him from mid October 2020 until the day he died. We literally cared for him 24/7. He had COPD hypertension of the lungs & heart failure. He was so ill for so long. It started when I was 16, the day I took my English language GCSE, he collapsed at home with a stroke & just 3 hours later a massive heart attack. It was a miracle he survived that. That was 20 years ago, over the years he had 6 more strokes and 3 heart attacks, not forgetting battling (and beating) prostate cancer.
When he was diagnosed with COPD, il be honest I thought some tablets and he would bounce back. But he was quickly on oxygen when walking, then within a couple of months it was 24/7. As he deteriorated, he could do less and less, but needed more & more help. What with COVID and me juggling front line work as a funeral director, it was a scary time.,
I don’t regret a moment of caring for my dad, but the final days haunt me. He died 6 days after his 72nd birthday and just 3 days after my mums 71st birthday. He wasn’t interested in his birthday gifts, two of which remained unopened. It wasn’t he didn’t care, it was he was so incredibly ill.
On the Wednesday, I took him to a hospital appointment and they told him he didn’t have long, maybe a couple of months. I pushed his wheelchair out of that appointment fighting back tears, yet he told me he was going no where anytime soon. He then demanded a Costa… the Thursday I had a job interview, he was delighted for me. When I rang him to say I’d got the job he said that’s great, but your late with my fish and chips…I took them round and we laughed. The Friday he looked so ill, I rang his oxygen nurse who came out and tweaked his levels. He perked up a bit, but was gasping, il never EVER forget that sound.
My mum made me go home for a bit as I’d been there hours, she told me to go get some rest. I drove home, decided to go for a shower and as I got undressed the phone rang, all my mum could say was ‘I think’ I flew back round to find 6 paramedics performing CPR as his DNR hadn’t been finalised. That image is ingrained in my mind.
It was my dads wish that he had a direct cremation. Something I personally struggled with, but of course respected his wishes. He was cared for by the undertaker I used to work for. They were wonderful. The day of the cremation I followed the hearse to the crematorium and saw him go in. There were no tears, I was ok. I’ve not much cried since. Until now. Here we are 7 and a half months down the line, I’m a complete wreck. Tonight at work, I’ve cried so hard I made myself sick. I had to come home the pain was so much. I’ve put a request through to my GP since coming home too. I don’t know what for but I just don’t know which way to turn.
To add to it 6 weeks after my dad passed, my mother in law was found dead at home and yesterday my aunt has been diagnosed as terminal. My heart hurts, my body hurts and I feel selfish for feeling how I do….