Today is a normal day for some, maybe a celebration for others. For me it marks 10 years since my father died.
On a Saturday morning in June Dad was taken into hospital. Scans showed a massive grey area on his brain stem. His time, they told us was, “painfully short”. My father, the distant, angry and scary man, was now a fragile creature in need of help.
One morning we were asked to a meeting where doctors advised us we should switch off life support and let him go. Instinct told us something wasn’t right. Thankfully, medical staff listened and I am eternally grateful for their understanding and patience. Instead of treating us like the hysterical family not ready to let go of their loved one, they sent the scans to three neurosurgeons across the country. We would wait for a response. The first one back would be the one to decide my fathers fate.
We came home for lunch but ate nothing. Desperate for comfort, we talked of life and the journey of death. How the angel of death (was it Izrael?) didn’t want to gather the souls of men for fear that he would be hated by Gods, beloved, mankind. “I will give you reasons, excuses,” he was told. “They won’t hate you.”
The hospital called and we returned ready for bad news. Comforted by our talk of angels.
Someone in Edinburgh contacted the hospital and diagnosed a stroke. Involuntary muscle control comes from the stem which is why Dad’s respiratory system was failing, not because of a tumor. Dad was to be given time for his brain to rewire itself. Six months later Pops came home a different man, much closer to God and closer to his children. We had all been given a second chance and we embraced it.
Nearly two years later Dad had a huge heart attack and died in his sleep. The angels took him quietly and without fuss. I pray God grants my father a destiny in heaven.
My father passed away on 7th Muharram or 12th March – dates that trigger a deep sense of loss. Some days the feeling will visit without warning and the word ‘Dad’ will wring my insides. On other days it comes like a longing for something I can’t quite put my finger on.
IMAGE: Van Gogh Almond Blossom.