The father of her childhood, the distant yet frightening presence is whose loins had part – created her; was now frail. His skin, alabaster white and tissue – thin; his body bent, stooped and as unsteady as a moment's old fawn taking its first steps. His once rapier sharp mind, dulled, confused, often unable to find the words that he searched for. His face, forlorn, sad, confused, empty. As if he was giving up.
Although many, many years ago, when she was a young and angry woman, she pledged that she would dance on his grave when he died. Despite the history and her story, she had learned to view him with compassion as he aged.
Now that it was becoming clear that his life had started its final descent, her heart was so heavy, so deeply sad. The ocean of sadness felt all the more deep and unfathomable and pulled her into it’s depths, as she sat in silent retreat; no escape from her thoughts or feelings; both of which were confused and confusing
Now that it was clear that the undercarriage was engaged, the runway insight; she felt desolate, alone and raw. She had entered into the crone–phase of her own life, yet wasn't ready to say a final goodbye to her father. In a sense, can one ever be ready to face this moment? The passing of one's parents isn't just about their being lost to you and yours; it also means that once they're gone you and your generation are next in line. We are then faced with our own mortality in a very real and brutal sense.
She felt a chill inside her soul, like a slowly melting ice cube as she pondered; that he may already have had his final Christmas, birthday and Father's Day on this earth.
She felt cold around the edges like a softly frozen puddle, brittle yet soft, fluid yet solid; she wondered how she would feel next Christmas, birthday and Father's Day; should he no longer be around."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I wrote these words nearly three years ago, whilst on a Writer's Retreat. Three weeks before the retreat, my elderly father had had a stroke and was rushed into hospital. The day after I arrived at the Writer's Retreat, I had a call to say he'd had a heart attack. I was frantic, especially as my stepmother instructed me not to rush back, but also because that evening, we were due to go into sacred silence for 18 hours. No papers to read, no radio or TV to distract myself, no conversations. Just silence. It was so hard, I can't begin to tell you, the fears, the awful thoughts that raced around, jostling for pole position inside my head. So I did the only thing I could do under those circumstances. I wrote. And this piece, formed the start of Chapter one of a book I've been writing. It's not finished yet, but one day it will be.
And that piece above, was what I wrote, in the library, in Sacred Silence. I poured my heart out onto the page, wept silent tears, prayed, bargained with the Divine and worked out how long it would take me to get to the hospital if a crisis happened. Five hours.
Next morning, still in Sacred Silence (everyone else knew what was going on) I disappeared across the diamond-dewed lawn and called the hospital. I just had to hear his voice. He sounded fine, and waxed lyrical about the hospital food! But he sounded fine and was pleased to hear from me. I can't tell you what a relief that was!
My childhood was complicated, complex, my relationship with dad wasn't good then. But with the assistance of hindsight, and a Universal view of what was going on then, I learned to forgive him, and 15 years ago, we forged a new and solid relationship. A mutually loving relationship, where we valued and appreciated each other. He was always pleased to see me when I visited, always introduced me to his neighbours with pride. And I let go of what had gone before.
There were further crises over the years, so many times he's been rushed into hospital, indeed this is the third time in eight months. Each health crises has taken more out of him, robbed him further. But since those cataclysmic events of three years ago, he's never been the same. Frail, fragile, much weaker but still mentally active and sharp. Mentally fabulous, but his body has been giving up on him. I'm not sure what is worse really, to be demented like my mother, or to be mentally sharp but physically failing.
I received this latest emergency call around 9pm last Friday and headed straight to A & E, pleading with the Angels to keep him safe until I arrived. But I felt the presence of Archangel Azrael hovering nearby. I got there just as the ambulance arrived. I can't believe how ill he looked. We were there with him until the small hours, I then drove my stepmother home and saw her in safely before heading home myself.
Needless to say, there have been some very complex and conflicting emotions playing hide and seek in my brain. I'm not ready to let him go, yet I can't hold onto him. I have to let go and accept that this is the beginning of the end. I'm facing the death of a parent and I don't know how to handle this. I've not done it before and there's no map to guide me. I've asked the Angels to help me reach a point of acceptance, so that I can surrender to the process, and be and do what is needed for my dad and stepmother.
I worry about who will greet him once he's crossed over into spirit. He didn't have good relationships with either of his parents not his sister. Indeed, his sister, who lived in Canada, died two years ago. This was found out by accident. Her family did not inform ours. So who will meet him, who will celebrate his return?
Our grieving at his loss, will be the spirit worlds joy at his return, his birth into a world where an ailing body will be a thing of the past. I visualise him being warmly greeted by those he's known and loved earlier in life., as he crosses the rainbow bridge.
He's had his last Christmas, his last birthday; has he had his final father's day I wonder?
Life for the rest of us will be a different colour, a different shape. There will be a dad-shaped hole in it. Writing and blogging will be my salvation through all of this, and one day, I will finish the book.