It’s been a week since my Dad died.
I’m always in pain. I’m always grieving. Some days I cry, some days I feel numb but there’s always a painful hole in my heart and when the wind blows – as it often does during Perth winter – it hurts like a bastard.
I keep going through the day Mom told me Dad died. I’ve been over and over it, trying to figure out how. HOW DID YOU DIE, DAD? You were meant to be going home the day you died – you had recovered well from your hip operation. I was going to tease you about being Ironman because of your new titanium hip.
Mom and Dad had just bought a ‘new’ car – a taxi that had been upgraded and turned back into a car for normal use. Dad was so excited about the Covid restrictions being released and he and Mom planned to trip around in the Philippines together.
Dad had so many plans and so much life ahead of him.
So it makes me really angry when people try to comfort me by saying “He’s in a better place” ERR NO HE ISN’T. Dad’s place is next to my Mom. In Dad’s eyes, there was no better place than that.
“He’s not suffering anymore” DAD WASN’T SUFFERING TO BEGIN WITH. He didn’t have cancer, he wasn’t in chronic pain – he was happy and excited about going home with Mom the very morning he died. SO SHUT UP WITH THAT “no longer suffering” BS because it’s simply not true.
Dad died laying sideways on his bed. I think he was trying to get out of bed. Alun assures me Dad probably died instantly and didn’t suffer or feel any pain. I can immediately believe that and I feel at peace with that. What I don’t feel peace about and what haunts me constantly is how scared and worried my Mom must have been. I picture her little brown face in tears as they do CPR on my Dad. Have you seen someone perform CPR? It’s BRUTAL. They crush ribs trying to pump a person’s heart. My Dad had a big belly from drinking loads of beers. His belly would have been bloated and bounced horribly and his body would have shuddered as medical teams pounded on his chest. My Mom had to see that. She was all alone when that happened.
Oh Mommy…you must have been so scared.
My Mom had to be there – ON HER OWN – *crying as I type this, it fucking hurts so much* – when a Doctor shook his head and told her they couldn’t bring Dad back.
Mom would have been alone as they wheeled Dad’s body out of the hospital room.
That’s what kills me.
She tried to call me, you know. Mom had over 10 missed calls on my Facebook Messenger App. I’ve gotten into the habit of turning my internet off during the night – I’ve always thought that anything on Social Media can wait until the next morning – it’s not worth giving up a good night’s sleep for Facebook notifications.
But that morning, Mom tried again and again to reach me.
I wasn’t there! I didn’t get those missed calls.
Mom rang my mobile at around 5pm (I can’t remember now – how is this slipping my mind when it was only a week ago???) and again at 5:30am and then I heard the worst news of my life…my Dad was gone.
I wasn’t there when my Mom needed me. I will probably never forgive myself for that.
So now, I’m super protective of my Mom.
Over the first 3 days of my Dad’s passing…Mom and I both wept as we spoke to each other over Facetime. I don’t turn my internet or phone off any more. We both felt the loss of Dad like a baseball bat to the face. Then we felt sadness and acceptance. I think Covid sped things along and having my Dad cremated on the same day he died probably rushed our acceptance along, too.
When Dad died, Mom’s face and voice changed. The little light behind her eyes had gone out and her voice had a edge to it that I’d never heard before. For the last 10 years, whenever Mom answered a call – she’d be laughing. Always laughing, bless her – even before you start a conversation, Mom’s chuckling away. This time it was brokenness and grief whenever Mom answered or called.
On the 5th day, Mom’s voice softened again and I could hear my Mom sounding a little more like she used to. Mom is in the Philippines and is surrounded by her family members. Mom has her siblings around, her neices and nephews and her friends from the community are with her always.
Mom messaged me that she is having trouble sleeping and only manages a few hours every now and then…but when she is awake – even at 2am in the morning; there is someone in the house awake to talk with. I love that for my Mom. I love knowing she’s surrounded, loved and held. I love that Mom can speak in her own language, eat foods that are familiar to her and be supported by an entire community who care for her.
Jay wants to fly Mom home at the end of the month. I understand he wants to see Dad and say goodbye. I get that closure is important for all of us…but I don’t want to see Mom uprooted from a family and community that love her and are there for her to going on a long flight on her own – to 2 weeks of incredibly lonely quarantine on her own…to another long flight from Brisbane to Perth…just because my brother wants to say goodbye to Dad.
I don’t want Mom in her fragile state to be taken from that security and love and care to be quarantined in a state where we can’t wave from the window until she’s let out.
Praise God, Alun supports me on this and feels the same so we’re trying to look after Mom but asking Jay to put off the flights until Mom is stronger and more able to take on a long journey on her own.
Mom is the only parent Jay and I have left. I don’t want to break her.