Losing a loved one is hard and I’m sure many of you can relate. I thought i’d share my story about how my worst nightmare came true when I lost my dad.
When I was growing up I was a typical teenager who always liked to disobey my parents. I always got on the wrong side of them many times but I was very close with my Dad (I was a daddy’s girl).
He was so laid back and easy to talk to (he put me in my place plenty of times when I was naughty though) but I’ve always felt like he just got me. We used to sit and watch the soaps with biscuits and would chat about the most random of topics.
He was very outspoken about everything and always made me laugh, and sometimes cringe, but occasionally he’d repeat the same conversation from a half hour before – i’d still listen and enjoy the quality time we spent together just me and him.
When My Dad Became Poorly The 1st Time
My Dad was a funny man who would make a lot of jokes and was quite healthy for his age. He enjoyed taking the dog for a walk everyday.
He seemed fine in himself, but one day he felt something wasn’t right, so went for a check up at the doctors.
I remember going to see him that day, walked in and everyone in the room fell silent. They considered the possibility that my Dad had Prostate Cancer. He went for a usual routine check and it came back positive.
I was absolutely devastated and petrified- I couldn’t imagine being without my Dad.
I held his hand and broke down in front of him.
‘What you crying over me for, silly?’
That day our bond became stronger.
Ever since then he always came to me when he needed someone to talk to about how he felt (that was unusual for my dad, he always kept his feelings bottled up). As he battled through the Cancer (he had an op to remove his prostate), I would visit everyday to prop up his pillows and cook his meals to keep his strength up.
My Dads health began to improve steadily and was starting to gain his energy back. He’d go for his monthly check ups and was then told eventually his Cancer had completely gone.
We were over the moon! I wouldn’t have to lose my role model, my inspiration, my Dad. I was relieved knowing that things were going to be okay.
A few years past and my Dad was his usual self enjoying life, spending time with the family and continued walking his dog. He’d also enjoy his alone time watching television and eating his biscuits (that’s only if I didn’t pop over).
It was Faiths 7th birthday. The whole family came around to celebrate. I noticed that my Dad didn’t quite seem his usual cheerful self. He looked poorly again and had a nasty cough that didn’t shift and affected the way he was breathing.
It had me worried but he said he was okay and that he would head home and rest. I rang him later that night to check up on him – he still had that nasty cough and sounded breathless as he spoke.
I told him it was best to go and see a doctor about it (he ummed and arred for a while) but I managed to convince him to go.
They found a cyst in his lungs and they thought then and there that it could be Cancer again. My whole world came crashing down once again, but because he went through it before, I thought he could fight through it again.
As he went for further tests they found that the cyst had taken over the whole right side of his lungs and that was the reason he had become breathless.
He had Stage 4 Lung Cancer that had spread to his throat and nose. There was nothing they could do.
I knew I was going to lose him this time and I was heartbroken. They gave him medication to help him breath easier and suggested Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy to allow him more time, but because my Dad was stubborn and scared (he didn’t want to lose the remainder of his long silver hair – he’d call them his luscious locks) he refused to go.
Saying No To Chemo
My Dad decided he did not want to have Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy and just wanted to spend the remainder of his time at home. We had to respect his wishes even though we wanted a way of saving him. We would have done anything for more time with him.
I went to visit as much as I could and spoke to him everyday over the phone. Even though it was nice to spend time with him, it was hard to see him deteriorate in front of my eyes. I tried to make the most of my time with him and he’d kept himself upbeat whilst I was there – he’d make inappropriate jokes to make us both laugh.
I had to hold back my tears every-time (he always told me off if I got upset over him – just the way he was).
A Week Passed By…
…and it was time to go to visit him again, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. He looked pale and was glued to the bed finding it hard to sit up.
He still managed to throw in his jokes to make us smile. My heart broke – I had no control – I couldn’t do anything about it and I wasn’t ready to lose him this quickly. It was cruel and I was angry!
I went to visit my Dad but this time was the hardest. He wasn’t himself and looked very frail. I couldn’t hold back my tears this time, it was too much!
I held his hand and told him how much I loved him.
He answered back and told me he was in pain and that he couldn’t live like this – he just wanted to die.
It was the hardest thing to hear in my life but I stifled a smile and made a joke needing him to be around until I get married. His reply back humoured me.
‘I ain’t going to live til i’m 90 Zo’
He was only 71. At least he still had a sense of humour.
As I left, he told me and Liam that he loved us both. I didn’t think it was going to be the last time I heard him say that.
The Flu Hit Our Household
It was that day again I was to visit my Dad, but this time I couldn’t go. The whole household fell ill to the dreaded flu. We couldn’t risk my Dad getting worse.
It was tough to have to stay away, but I thought i’d still have a chance to see him when we were all better. I didn’t realise how wrong I’d be.
A Phone Call I Didn’t Want To Hear
It was a normal day, I dropped the kids off at School and was about to sort Auroras breakfast out when I received a call. It was my Mum.
She was distraught and hurried me to come over. The panic set in and I broke down immediately. I rang Liam to hurry home. We needed to see my Dad before it was too late!
As I got everything ready to leave, I received another phone call, this time from my sister. She was crying uncontrollably.
That moment I knew it was too late. I didn’t get my chance to say goodbye. She urged us to come over straight away.
As I arrived at my Dads house, I saw my Mum collapse in the front doorway broken and in ruins. I knew then and there he was gone. I’ve never seen my Mum this way before.
I approached her. She looked at me, took my hand and uttered ‘you can’t go up on your own’.
She slowly escorted me up the stairs and stopped me outside my Dads room. I composed myself to see my Dad. I was not ready for this. I went into the room and saw him lying there paralysed and still, so very still. I didn’t get to say goodbye. It was too late for me.
I kissed him on the forehead and told him I loved him. Everyone in the room broke down and I felt I had to be the strong one to hold everyone together. I put my grieving aside for the time-being to support everyone else. It felt like it was something I had to do.
4 weeks after being diagnosed, my Dad had passed and I so felt angry, broken and guilty I didn’t arrive sooner! I felt like I should have been there to hold his hand. Many thoughts run through my head even today –
Could I have done things differently?
Did he know I loved him?
Was he on his own?
Did he think about me before he passed away?
There is a huge hole in my heart since I lost my Dad and I think of him very often. Losing a loved one is really hard and can make you feel angry and unlike yourself. I still have days now where it’s hard to function, but I pull myself together for my kids and partner.
They keep me going and I truly wouldn’t know what i’d do without their love and support through the difficult times I’ve had over the past 6 months since he’d passed.
In Loving Memory of John Warren, My Dad.
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