This morning I had an attack of melancholy. I checked my facebook memories and found images of my Dad that I have used on various anniversaries of his death since facebook became a communication tool for me.
Twenty years ago, in the afternoon I went to visit him after work. He had pneumonia. He was unresponsive. I stayed a while with him. They had moved him into a new room. One that was like a real bedroom. Quilt on the bed, his rosary beads hanging off the bed head, A couple of comfy chairs. I talked to him and sang to him.
As I was leaving a former school friend who was a nurse there said to me ” I don’t think it will be long now. If there is anyone who should see him, tell them to come now. I rang my older son. He was in Brisbane. ” no, Mum, I won,t fly down. I have no unfinished business with GrandKen” I went home, had some dinner, spoke to my brothers, one of whom assured me that based on his experience Dad had days left, and I went back.
It was early evening. The staff asked me if I would be able to give him his antibiotics – a pink jelly like substance which he swallowed. All the while, eyes shut. I sang our family singalong songs – it’s a long way to Tipperary, Mademoiselle from Armentiers, pack up your troubles, the Irish Lullaby and every now and then he would hum a little. I sat with him for a couple of hours and then decided to go home.
I moved to the other side of the bed, leaned over his head to kiss him and he opened his eyes with such incredible strength it scared me to death! I took his hand and he squeezed mine. There were no words. Just this powerful few seconds of soul touching recognition and complete love. I kissed him. He closed his eyes.
As I left, my friend met me and asked if I was sure I wanted to go home. I needed to be with my son , aged 12. The phone rang around 4.00 am. The magnificent, forever Spirit of my Dad was free. What followed for the rest of the day will be my next tome!
But TODAY my Dad was as present to me as he has been every day of my life. I heard him in the Kookaburra as I left home this morning. As I headed for my car, my son’s voice behind me ” grab your coat and get your hat……..Dad always sing that!” An attempt to cheer me up ” yes, so did mine!””and he was with us both!!
Every day on my way to work (YES work) at Mums’ Cottage I think of him as Mount Sugarloaf ” changes” from one side of the road to the other as I head into West Wallsend. Sunday drives. Up the steep and bumpy road, into the car park, out of the car, up to the top. Dad conquering his fear of heights with his beloved Bessematic Camera getting my to pose with the panoramic vista at my back.
Once upon a time I was absolutely convinced that Heaven is a real place. I’m not so convinced anymore but I do live in hope! What I am utterly resolute about is the eternity of the Spirit.