Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Visiting Dad

I have just come back from spending the weekend with my Dad. It is still hard going back and seeing the house without Mum in it. There are photos of her everywhere. The kitchen was always her jealously-guarded domain; it is heart-breaking seeing her pots and pans and larder full of neatly labelled jars, her baskets and plates and ornaments. I kept finding notes in her handwriting. Bulbs in the garden pushing up through the dark soil, carefully labelled by her 'Narcissus - Pheasant's Eye', I remember her telling me it was a favourite when I told her about my bulbs last spring. Dad still feels her presence, I feel only her absence.

Dad is drawing on deep reserves of courage to cope with life after the no-anesthetic amputation of bereavement after sudden illness. He is doing better than me in many ways. He is looking after himself, going out and socialising, continuing with his ministry duties and is supported in this by many kind thoughts and prayers and practical help from friends. I am very proud of his grace and determination.

Mum and Dad were so looking forward to retirement together, they lived and worked together for almost forty years. It would have been their ruby anniversary this August. The money set aside for a present for Mum was spent instead on a slate headstone for the grave, which Dad visits regularly. I have not been to the graveside since the internment. I can't.

Dad has taught himself to cook - this started when I bought him a cookery book at Kew Gardens, which we visited together last year. This weekend he bought a casserole dish and I taught him some more recipes: he made a lovely beef and Guinness stew. We spent Sunday afternoon with my brother and his wife and baby; his grandson brings much joy even in days when Dad is very sad and raw.

I said he should get a dog, to live with him, so the house won't be so empty.

He is thinking about it.


Blogger granny p said...

It was the recipe cards in my mother's writing used to get me... all those little things. Your dad will hurt for a long time but it sounds like he's doing well. Brave him. xx

March 11, 2008 11:33 am  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

This is so hard for you all; such a long haul. You write about it beautifully, evocatively. Sending more cyberhugs.

March 11, 2008 2:49 pm  
Blogger Peach said...

you write so well... what shit it is for your dad...

March 12, 2008 12:06 am  
Blogger MarkF said...

People say time is a great healer but for me initially it just marked another day of loss.

One hour drifted into another with no loss of pain. One day slide into another with that horrific feeling every morning that you had been hit in the stomach with the realisation of what had happened.

Twenty years later standing in my Father's shed as I cleared out my parents house that pain, that loss came back.

Time doesn't heal - it makes it a little easier but the loss will be there always because the love for that person is all we have left and we cling to that.

I really feel for you all and hope that the rawness of this loss eases soon.

March 12, 2008 7:42 am  
Blogger Kris said...

Dear Rachel

Thank you for giving me a moment of reflection and pause.

March 12, 2008 7:44 am  
Blogger aka Cate said...

I feel for you.

I'm sending you warmth and light and good wishes.

March 12, 2008 7:56 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks everyone

March 12, 2008 9:28 pm  
Blogger Single Parent Dad said...

Life is most definitely a bitch.

Your Dad seems to be coping really well and adapting to what has become his new life.

I hope you and yours continue to find the strength to go forward with your successful lives.

March 13, 2008 11:25 am  
Blogger Spirit of Adventure said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 13, 2008 3:54 pm  

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