Losing My Dad

Losing my Dad three days before my planned c section was hard. My dad’s passing wasn’t a sudden death. In fact, I wish it was for his sake. Seeing someone die through cancer is heartbreaking.

My dad’s cancer journey started three years ago. I was pregnant with baby girl at the time when he started getting ill. Dad was a hardworking farmer all his life and never stopped for anything. He kept chickens, geese, cattle and a goat right up until the very end when he left us at 88 years of age.

He came from a generation that would rarely visit the doctors. This older generation is tough as nails. We had to beg him to see a doctor 3 years ago when we knew he wasn’t right.

My Dad

His worst nightmare was being sent for tests to our local hospital but he went eventually as he was in horrendous pain. My dad had bowel cancer.

In the summer of 2015 he went in for an operation to remove cancer from his bowels which had attached itself to his bladder as well. He was in for just over a week if I remember correctly and he hated every minute of it.

At the time I lived across the road from the hospital so I visited him in the evenings while my mum, brother, and sisters went during the daytime. This was so he wasn’t left alone too long. It was scary for him I know.

My sister used to take him fried egg sandwiches and cakes because he hated the hospital food. He said to the nurses he had to get out because it was Summer, the most important time of the year on a farm which so much to do before Winter.

He was so happy the day I took him home but said he was never going back there again. My dad refused chemotherapy and radiotherapy and his surgeon told him the operation would only give him a few more years. It gave him just under three. You see he also had a shadow over his liver. At this point, my sisters and I could have done with speaking to a family counselor to talk through our feelings. Maybe it wouldn’t have come as such of a shock then a few years later.

In those nearly three years he made the most of it. Content and happy at home and on his smallholding. He got to meet baby girl and she was the light of his life. He adored helping mum to look after her when I went back to work after maternity leave. She was extremely precious to him. Baby girl adored her papa.

9 weeks have passed since he’s been gone. I keep thinking back to his last few weeks and seeing him fade from a strong man to someone so thin and frail is heartbreaking. I know I must remember him for who he was and not his last few days when that vile disease took him.

Mum respected his wishes and never let them take him into the hospital. She set up the front room for him so that he could sleep in there. The Dr and nurses came to visit him to make him as comfortable as possible. The wonderful Macmillan nurses stayed with him overnight and were there for my mum.

He died peacefully at home. Which was what he would have wanted.

The day he left us was a Saturday afternoon. I had been visiting him every day and spent time sitting with him and chatting to him. They say the hearing is the last thing to go, so I have some comfort knowing that he heard my waffling on about my children. I said goodbye to him that Saturday lunchtime. Deep down I knew it would be the last time I saw him. My exact words were “Goodbye dad I’m going home to Livvie now” and I kissed his forehead. He made a sound so I know he heard me.

He passed away while I was driving home. I got the phone-call from my sister saying he had gone just as I was going up the stairs to get changed. I sat on the bed with my husband holding my hand and cried my eyes out. I was devastated. I knew I had to hold myself together being nearly 39 weeks pregnant so I didn’t go into labour.

The other week I finally broke down and cried my eyes out in the middle of the night. I think the tiredness and pressure of being a new mum as well as losing my dad got to me.

He was such a special man, my dad.

He will always be with me, I’m sure of it.

Love you always xx

rachel bustin
Thank you for sharing

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