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Right now I'm...

Listening to :
Nick Cave : Murder Ballads

Reading :
Defying Hitler

Occupation :

Weirdest Dream lately :
I dreamed I was on the "other side" when my Dad was passing. I spoke to him and made sure he was okay. Then I woke, and knew he was gone. 30 minutes later, we got the call from the hospital saying that his blood pressure had crashed in the last 30 minutes.

Currently working on :
A BTVS related story called "Long Goodbye" which deals with a member of the Watchers Council being vamped as part of an experiment.
Also completing my nanowrimo effort.



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A blog for that outspoken and aggressive member of the Buffy Bulletin Board.
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   Tuesday, September 28, 2004

And we're back...

My Dad died last week.

That's the main reason I'm coming back online to the blog. I will be keeping a record of sorts, to examine what I'm feeling, and how I'm dealing with my grief.

I loved my Dad, as I'm sure most every kid loves their Dad. And regardless of my age, I know that to him, I was always his son, his kid, his firstborn. We had a great relationship, and in many ways, he was my best friend. He was the one person in the world that I really felt could love me unconditionally because I'd put his love to the test so much over the years.

He had been fighting cancer for about 2 years. And he had had a pacemaker installed even before that. A lifetime of drinking and smoking to excess had taken its toll, but he was a very fit man for all of that.

The treatment he had received last year was sucessful in clearing the cancer from his throat, and for a while, it looked good. But in the last 6 months he had been smoking again, and complaining of extreme nerve pain in the side of his face. All the scans remained negative but he was sent in for a swab/biopsy about 2 weeks ago.

At the time, I was still living abroad. I flew home on the weekend to see him, and he was in a bad way. He had developed pneumonia while in the hospital, and so his 2 day stay was being extended. Then he began to develop muscle shakes, spasms, halluncinations and a host of other problems.

My brother and I were not impressed with the treatment he was getting, and we were not quiet about it. I flew home the following weekend as well, and he was much improved. Friday evening, he was doing so much better. I really believed he was going to be out in a few days. Saturday evening, I was the last in our family to see him awake and talk to him. He was lucid, but still had some visual problems. He was back on his feet though. He wanted me to bring him in some DVD's to watch. Comedy and a "serious" movie. I helped him walk around a bit, and he was able to do this with minimum assistance.

Apparently what happened was that in the middle of the night, he wanted to go to the bathroom, but wanted to go on his own. He didn't ring for the nurse. And on the way, he fell and badly hurt his head. Hours later, (Sunday morning) his blood pressure crashed, and he slipped into a coma. He never came out of it.

I suppose it's normal to find fault with the hospital staff in these cases. Anger and frustration etc... But in this case, I feel justified for the following reasons: The doctor in charge of him in the ICU forgot what a biopsy was called. (He called it something else.) When I corrected him, he said "Oh yeah, sorry, the biopsy. Because the cancer is back, and it's big." He made no effort to break it to us gently or anything.

And the staff didn't seem to know enough to keep their story straight. Was he in pain? No. Was he on sedatives? No. Then we found out from someone else that he was on a morphine drip.

I can't really explain what it's like to see your Dad in a coma, but still moving his arms and legs, like he is only in a light sleep. To see his eyes and head move towards you (eyes still under the eyelids) when you speak loudly in his ear "Hi Dad!". You convince yourself that you might be able to talk him out of the coma. And then days later, you're wondering... if they hadn't pumped him full of morphine, maybe he could have struggled to consciousness on his own.

I knew that I would not be able to be at his bedside when the end came. It would have destroyed me completely. I know what my limits are. So when the call came at 3:30 am, I didn't go back to the hospital. It was just my mother and my brother. They came home around 6am to tell me that it was officially over.

Over the next few days, we were busy with all the preparations. Funeral home, cremation, mass, etc... And then the silence hit in, once all the scheduled acts were over. Now, I'm in my parents house and preparing to fly home tomorrow to get on with the rest of my life.

Considering how close I was to my Dad, and how much I loved him, and how much I will miss him... I am a little concerned at how calm or numb I am feeling. Since he died, I have cried for a total of maybe 10 minutes, (perhaps 5 groups of 2 minutes each.)

I've spoken to friends who've gone through this, and it's normal to feel numb and stunned. But I wonder if my oft-vaunted unemotional state is more pronounced than I ever knew.

Also worth bearing in mind is that I am an atheist. Or at the very least, an agnostic. I don't have the comfort of a religious myth to fall on. So you can imagine how annoyed I was to hear the priest say that our love for someone was measured in the tears we shed at their passing.

My Dad died on Thursday September 23rd, around 4:10am.
I said my last goodbyes to him on Wednesday September 22nd.
I last heard his voice on Saturday 18th September, around 9:30pm.

But life must go on, and I go forward with no regrets. I wasn't fighting with him. I know I did everything I could for him while he was alive. I never let an opportunity to tell him I loved him go by. He knew how much I loved him, and I always let him know what a great job he did as a father. I hope that if I ever have kids of my own, that I can be as good as him.

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