I had been expecting the call to say he was dead, injured or ill for many years and thought (very guiltily) that it would be a relief when it finally came. So I was shocked when the call came and that wasn’t how I felt. When I realised how ill he was, it hit me hard. I knew that the end was not far away and I needed to be with him.
Having difficult but honest conversations with consultants who treated him as a person, not as an addict, will always stand out for me as an exceptional example of how professionals should communicate with patients, families and carers.
It was important for me to be there for his last few days. I’m so glad those closest to me ensured I was able to be present and gave me the time I needed with him despite our complicated relationship. He was not awake for most of his last few days but I was able to say what I needed to and make my peace. I also spent some very precious, funny and sad times with my sister and brother by his side.
Enabling his long term companion (and drinking buddy) the opportunity to come to the hospital and say goodbye to him was beautiful but also a painful reminder of the reality of his life and how amazing it was that he had have lived so long.
My grieving started many years before he died. We never had a ‘conventional’ father/daughter relationship due to his alcoholism. My grieving continues for his life, his death, the things that never were and the things he could never be. He had so much potential yet for many reasons he couldn’t work it out and life took him down the path of addiction. Sadly he never managed to escape it.