We lost him on this day a few years ago. I was expecting Junior at the time and my family were concerned that I might miscarry because of grief.
Dad knew he was going to be a Grandad again to a little girl. First birth child of mine. I was the last of the kids to 'produce' physically, so it was a big thing. All his sprogs had become birth parents! He desperately wanted to hang on and 'meet' her. But, sadly, it wasn't to be. I know he watches over her, guardian angel-like. He said he would. She has some of his traits. Stubbornness....and his eyebrows!!! And she cheats at cards!!!
Mother, of course, was desolate when he died. 50+ years of togetherness had ended. Ups and downs and the like. I was at work when I got the 'call' to go the the hospital as it was 'time'. I lived over a hundred miles away. So, my lovely workmate rang the kids' school and explained and soon after I collected them at the school gates and we were on our way up the motorway to the hospital. The boys were bewildered but very protective. Primary school aged kids protecting their mum:o)) I drove on autopilot.
Everyone else was there when we arrived. Even an old family friend, Emilia. Beautiful woman, salt of the earth type. Adopted auntie, if you like:o)) She was another WW2 refugee.
It turns out that Dad had been hanging on for me. Everyone was in bits...especially Mother. My siblings couldn't bring themselves to stay in his room for any time. Watching someone die is no fun when they are struggling for breath. After a while I asked if Mother had eaten or had a break? No. So I took her for a 'break'. She needed it. After a while, maybe 20 minutes, she sat bolt upright and said she had to go back, so we went. It was time and 20 minutes later Dad was gone. Mother sobbed at his bedside. But I didn't cry. I couldn't because of Junior. I couldn't lose her too.
We felt relief that he was no longer suffering. So now we had to support Mother.
When we got back from the hospital, their dogs were waiting. They knew!!!!! and comforted Mother in their way. A few days later, Mother laid out Dad's burial clothes on a bed. His favourite suit and Ukrainian tie. They had been dry cleaned. And thermals. She didn't want him to be cold:o) We were pottering around downstairs and I noticed that one of the dogs was missing. Went upstairs and found him laying, hugging, curled up on the burial clothes:o)) Wouldn't leave them. Broke my heart to see that and when the dog eventually died, years later, we scattered his ashes on Dad's grave, so they are together again:o)
None of my siblings could bring themselves to sleep at 'home' once he'd died. So, I stayed. Autopilot, again. Couldn't leave Mother on her own. He came home the night before the funeral. I thought I would hate it, but it was strangely comforting.
What do other people do on such 'anniversaries'? Do they congregate together, have a post wake type of thing, or what?
We don't seem to be such a family. We all contemplate, remember, celebrate in our own ways....on our own. No gatherings.
We are a strange lot.
Now I can cry...and I do But he's probably up there telling me to stop being such a wuss!! xxx
He was just an ordinary bloke with faults, just like any other. Forced out of his homeland and away from his loved ones because of some tyrant. Did his bit and best to help keep us ALL free.
My Dad, the Hero:o))) xxx