I did not learn of my father’s death until two days after he died.
I was in hospital giving birth to my first child, and had been there for a couple of weeks due to high blood pressure. My father (who was a very vital man, some might say, larger than life) had been ill for a while and was at home with both my (now) ex-husband and younger brother who was then fourteen. My mother and one of my sisters were late night shopping as it was a Thursday night. My dad collapsed from a heart attack and died instantly, and my mother and sister arrived home to find the ambulance there.
I was oblivious to all this as I was waiting for a c-section scheduled to take place on the Friday. My mother came in on the Sunday to inform me of dad’s death (after swearing all the staff and other patients to secrecy so she could tell me herself) in order to see if I was up to going to his funeral on the Monday. After she told me, I was numb and full of conflicting emotions due to the euphoria of my daughter’s birth and grief and shock of learning of his passing.
The next two years I was mainly concentrating on being a new mum and I don’t think dad’s death hit me till I remember coming in with my husband to see mum, full of news about the soon to be birth of my second child, and I remember distinctly thinking “I’ll go and tell dad, he’s going to be so chuffed” and then … bam! … it hit me, I would never tell my dad anything again. I would never have a joke with him or laugh with him, or fight, (we had a LOT of fights when I was growing up mainly because in many ways we were so much alike) and the next thing the grief came up and hit me so hard in my heart it was like a physical blow.
As I mentioned before my dad was a vital, outgoing, gregarious man who loved a laugh and was great at telling shaggy dog stories, which mainly meant, long, loooong, involved jokes (sometimes the duration of 5 minutes) with a pretty bad punchline, but here’s the thing, even though they often elicited a groan, they were funny because of the way he told them, you know?
He worked in publishing and one of the things I inherited from him was the love of books. We were both avid readers (I still am now) and our tastes were very eclectic and varied. He was very generous and I have been told I am too, but shockingly bad with money …. me too. We both had very volatile tempers so therefore during my teenage years, we had a lot of clashes and it must of been SO much fun for my poor mum.
When I was around seventeen my dad went on a business trip to Adelaide by car, and took me with him. He tried SO hard to bond with me over the music I was listening to, he proudly told me he liked Abba, me not so much, I was then into Elton John, so he played a tape of him on the car trip for around 2 hours and I am sure his ears were assaulted by Elton, but he persevered (Looking back now he should be grateful that I wasn’t into ACDC (who I got into at a later date). Even though I originally didn’t want to go on the trip, I am glad that I did as I think it brought us closer.
Nonetheless, I loved my dad very much and wish he got to meet all his grandchildren as he would have made a great granddad and I think (no, I KNOW) they would have loved him. Wherever you are now dad, I hope you are holding court telling one of your long involved shaggy dog stories.
RIP dad I love you.