Hello all, as you may have noticed I have been away more-or-less continually since February.
It was an odd time. I spent a total of 3 weeks during the last three months at home, the rest being spent travelling backwards and forwards to Nuneaton, where my parents used to live.
Mum and Dad went into hospital on the same day. Mum came home after a few days and was attended by care workers four times a day. Dad remained in for six weeks after a fall which hurt his back. He was medically fit, but couldn’t walk for some reason that they didn’t really understand. Before Dad came out of hospital Mum was back in with kidney and heart failure. I held her hand for two weeks until she finally lost the battle on 18th April. Dad went into a care home two days before she died. He was medically fit but not able to walk except very short distances with a frame. After he understood that Mum was gone, he turned his body off. It was as if a switch was thrown and he died on 22nd May.
Why am I telling you all his? Well, I am not looking for sympathy, and am certainly not wishing to make anyone sad with such news. I would like to tell you what I have learned from the recent events.
Firstly, I had a very good relationship with my Dad and we were very close. I was the ‘chip off the old block’. We understood each other. Conversely, my connection to Mum was not so good. We were very different characters and never seemed to get close all through my life. I had expected that I would have very little emotion on her death, whereas would find it hard to deal with the loss of Dad. Well, the opposite happened. I was good for nothing immediately following Mum’s death, whereas I took Dad’s with very little emotion or sadness. Is this because of our past relationships working the opposite to what I would have imagined or is it simply that Dad wanted to die as he had lost his life partner, therefore it is difficult to be upset when it was his wish?
The second thing I learned is the power of the mind. Mum’s body and organs were in a severely ill condition for the last two months of her life. Even the doctors told me two weeks before she died that she only had a few hours left. But despite the terrible condition she hung on, never complained and always gave us a weak smile. She fought until the very last breath, against all the odds. Dad was medically fit when she died, but after 66 years of marriage had no wish to carry on alone. He closed his eyes, shut out the world and managed to destroy his body in one month, such that he died quickly. The contrast between their ends was controlled more by their will to live or die, than by their medical condition.
Despite the loss of my parents in such a short time I really can marvel at what I have seen and learned from them recently.