I often hear people say ‘it was their time’. On a normal day I’d believe it, but on Father’s Day I’m reminded how it often isn’t ‘their time’ but it happens anyway.
In 2009 my Dad died after an ‘accident’ in hospital, a series of mistakes and misjudgements that meant that my sister and I had to make the drive to the hospital for one last visit before the machines were turned off and the tiny spec of Dad that remained left too.
I don’t intend to mislead you. Dad was old and frail. He’d blacked out in the car one week before and drove into a power pole. He seemed vague and forgetful, and I had started to think that maybe he couldn’t stay at home alone any more. He just wasn’t well. Then one morning he called and said he wasn’t good, and I told him to get off the phone and I’d call an ambulance. I told him I would see him at the hospital. I never saw ‘him’ again.
But then they didn’t want me to come to the hospital until he was on a ward, hearing my baby in the back ground and saying they’d call me, he was alright. I should have forced the issue, gone anyway, but I had no idea of what was coming so I didn’t. And then there was the brief phone call from an un-named nurse who said ‘They’ve overdosed him’ and it all just went to hell. If it had not been for that man, whomever he was, telling me the truth of it, I may well have bought the stories and lies they told until they were forced to tell the truth.
When they briefly got him back after the overdose he said he wanted to go home, but they didn’t let him. He said he wanted me but I was never called. Instead they told him to lie down and wait, to be patient. But he didn’t want to… scared, alone, angry, frightened… and when he took off his oxygen mask there was no one there to stop him or help him or explain that he wouldn’t survive without it… and he didn’t.
I feel a huge weight of responsibility for his death; knowing I sent him to that place. That I believed them when they said he was alright. That I didn’t just go there anyway when they said to stay at home with my baby. My baby who hardly knew her Grandad before he left. Four years and I doubt it will ever leave me.
I remember he said Emma was the happiest baby he’d ever seen. He was so proud. I wish he had been here to meet Harry. To be proud again.
My little family are in bed as I’m typing, knowing I’ve been silent and thoughtful this afternoon as I run over it all again in my mind. Familiar thoughts that sneak in when ever I see a burgundy sedan or an old man in a flannelette shirt and trousers. When birthdays and holidays pass, or it comes round to Fathers Day again and I miss him.