Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Ghost of Christmas Past

This time last year I was begging a nurse to feed my father. He'd just woken up after two days of being out cold from a seizure. We had had the resuscitate or let him go conversation.

Protocol dictated that a physio must visit to assess his ability to swallow before he could be given anything to eat or drink. On Christmas Eve, with three or four days to go before the appropriate person would be back at work, my father faced being so weakened that he would never recover.

He was more lucid than he'd been for a while and wasn't yet ready to let go of life, and we weren't ready to let go of him. She finally agreed to help. By Christmas Day he was eating well, and I was desperately grateful.

These few days were the beginning of the end. The beginning of six months of dying. When he returned to his usual hospital unit, he never walked again and said little, but he was still there. I am glad I fought for him.

I'm sad that his last Christmas was spent in strange environment with us visiting for an hour or two, trying to make everything as normal as possible. It broke my heart. It still does.

In amongst friends' talk of family and festivities, all I can do is miss him. What's going on around me feels so very alien. Life does go on, but so does loss. I not yet ready to remember him with a smile. I can only find sadness and memories of fighting a medical system, a dying body and mind, and a family still grieving. I am tired and tearful.

I hope this time next year I will be able to raise a glass to him, look back at his life and be glad he was my Dad.

1 comment: