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Monday, 29 March 2010

Meanings...



"Once upon a Time..." Copyright Anne-Julie Aubry TheNebulousKingdom on etsy...

And came the week my dad went into hospital...

After almost completing the task of trying to fit heavy modern kitchen cupboards in their home, my strong and fiercely independent dad suffered a big heart attack, which robbed him of his strength and, in time, of his dignity...

His decline was marked and rapid.

Shocking.

I would visit him in hospital during the permitted hours, having taken compassionate leave from the office. His hospital sick-room would be filled to bursting with all of her family... Looking on, not doing anything helpful, practical.

My father had always been a quiet man, though sociable. A solitary man, independent like I said, comfortable in his own skin, and tolerant of his own company. He wallowed happily within the close confines of our nuclear family... He wasn't a man to want to be watched, nor to be gregarious when he didn't feel up to it. ...When his strength had been suddenly torn from him...

He didn't want to see my son... He didn't want The Boy, (who also carries his name), to see him so ill. I acquiesced to his wishes.

And, when he asked for her son to leave. This boorish, brutish, rude man my gentle father had never taken to, I sensed a greater sea-change in the relations between our families...

And we tried not to turn up to his bedside a deux, his partner and I. But it happened. ...And she didn't like to leave me alone with my dad... She wanted him all to herself... I know she was jealous of my love for him. She hadn't had that relationship with her own father, nor had her husband had a favoured relationship with his daughters. At several points in time, working abroad, he hadn't seen the children in years.

And my lovely aunt said to me later, (to make me feel better, for she'd had a horribly wicked stepmother too, who had made her life so miserable, she had moved in with my mother's family as a teenager in the fifties, later to marry Mutti's youngest brother, 'Weigh it in the balance, pet, your forty-odd years to her seven...'

And this woman began to ask awful questions at my dad's bedside - She started to conduct a Spanish Inquisition into the bank accounts, the home security alarm codes... I didn't understand...

Of course, I was being my usual colour of pale naive... She wanted to ensure things would be all right if these were to be his last moments, she needed the important numbers for when he wasn't around to recall them...

He, on the other hand, thought he was coming home, to pull up the draw-bridge and be safe... I knew he was too, too ill to come home. He was in need of so many intrusive medical interventions at that time, none of us could have coped with the pain, the demands, of those...

It was very difficult dealing with the hospital. I was officially his next of kin... He and she had never married, although a fond-remembered trip to a sunny isle and some mocked-up, dated photographs, including two bemused looking strangers as 'witnesses', convinced some of their friends and family that they had... We'd all been pressed, especially by her, to lie to our families and children about their married state. I once endured such questions at my cousin's wedding... I had to bluff away uneasily. Lying doesn't come easily to me.

This was a very difficult time for us all.

Her daughter, a nurse, would feed her information. Not all of it was correct, she wasn't that kind of a nurse. But it all served to fuel her bitterness, her anger, her ire at the planet. ...I tried to ensure the hospital kept me, his daughter, not her daughter, informed. It was only right...

Did I tell you before now? I have a strong sense of fairness, of what is right, and what is wrong... My son inherited his bloody-mindedness from me, in fact. And from his beloved grandfather, of course.

And the final call finally came. Not unexpectedly, three weeks later. Early in the morning, as I was waking blearily from a tear-drawn sleep. The news came to me third, or fourth, hand. Not directly from the hospital in the end, but from one of her daughters.

And I wept again.

I wept for weeks in fact. I still weep now. ...As waves of grief for both my parents combined into a Tsunami of despair which lasted months, years even...

At first, I bared my soul in the shower, where the water would wash away the traces of salt and some sadness, but the glass cabin didn't quite mask my painful howling and wailing from my family. Nor from the neighbours.

The skin on my face began to flake away...

But like the good Snivel Serpent that I am, I knew - just as when my mother passed - All of the paperwork fell to me.

I and GJ were the executors of his last will and testament, as it turned out... My father, protecting me from beyond the gossamer veil, had known only too well that my husband would be able to be far stronger than I, and that he had the broadest shoulders between us, to cope with what came next...

5 comments:

French Fancy said...

Twice I have filled this box with words only to delete them a moment later - I don't want to do cliched and trite here.

There is nothing really for me to say other than I think you should let it all out on to here. I care for you and really do feel that everything is better talked about in the anonymity of a blog. This is your safe place.

xx

slommler said...

It is so sad that people have to be so ugly at a time when compassion and grace should be the order of the day. I am so sorry for the loss of your lovely father.
Hugging you
SueAnn

Fab, feisty and fifty... said...

oh Fhi how wonderful your painful words are, a mix of pain and honesty and love....

this place where we can and laugh and cry is a wonderful nest for our thoughts, dreams, fears and pain....

you are amongst friends who won't judge you, won't hurt you, only to watch and hope and love....

l hope we get together soonest..eve though l find each day worse emotionally than the next, as revelations emerge and frighten me back into my shell...

talk soon...

saz x

Helen said...

Just to say; how intrusive of her to place herself between him and his own daughter! And, how awful to impose her family like that. So sorry for all the pain.

Moannie said...

I am so so sorry that you are suffering, but so proud of you for what you are doing here.

Something I wrote earlier...

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