We went to see Dad at the hospital yesterday. It was Dad, but not Dad, somehow. Michiel said it very well, that its not really him lying there. Its an empty shell. It was hard, very very hard and upsetting but at the same time I do feel better. It made it real, somehow. Before, it felt like he’d stepped out of the room, and would be back any second. I half expected to look across the sitting room to “his” chair and see him in it any second, or to see him stepping through the door with his flat cap on and cheery grin, asking if I was alright. It was the same when Grandpa died, but then I didn’t get the chance to see him before he was cremated. Mum said afterwards she wanted me to remember him as he was in life, not death, but i think this is better. For me, Grandpa isn’t really dead. He’s just not… with us. Which is quite a different sensation to knowing that he’s dead, if that makes any sense.

Dad… i know is dead. I’ve kissed his cold head. I’ve said my goodbyes to him. I told him the important things, the things i needed to tell him. The sensation that somewhere, somehow, he knows anyway, is a comforting one. Probably wrong.. who knows? but for now, its a comforting one.

Its the little things i’m going to miss him most for, as well as the big things. Silly things. I’d been talking to someone at college about him, about his accent and wanting to record him reading from a book, in his accent, because its so unique, for the future, for when he was dead and gone. and now its too late. That’s a realisation that’s really hit home. To appreciate and do everything you can today, because tomorrow… you just don’t know what life will bring.

The funeral has been arranged for next wednesday, a week tomorrow. The post mortem is tomorrow – a legal necessity, since it was a sudden death – and then hopefully the coroner will release Dad for the funeral. Mum and I are having to make decisions about how we want things. Mostly Mum. I feel a bit useless when it comes to decisions, as this is so far outside my experience. Mum’s been through it before, when her father died, so at least she’s familiar with some of the processes and things that have to be done. But its all new to me. Where i’m of more use, i think, and Michiel also, is both in the practical (washing up, etc.) and as a sounding board. We’ve done so much talking in the last 48 hours, between us. Its been an intensely personal, emotional period, not just the shock of Dad’s death but talking it all through. We’ve done a lot of laughing and reminiscing as well. Powerful, in a good way. Healing.

I feel better than I did yesterday morning, despite it all. I think Mum does too. Although its still hard, and we’ve hard times to come, we’re on the right path.

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