Friday, 24 August 2012

My Dad is Gone

My Dad died on Wednesday 22 August 2012 at 9:40pm.

He passed quietly in his sleep with his wife by his side. I had kissed him goodnight and told him I loved him just a few hours before.

I did manage to have a lovely visit with Dad for a week before he had to go hospital. Although he couldn't get out of bed he was lucid and chatty and very happy to have me there.

I am glad his suffering is over, but oh how sad I am that he is no longer in my life.

I wrote this tribute for Dad a while ago, and I shared it with him during my visit. He was thrilled and very touched.


Every child starts off thinking their Dad knows everything and can do anything.

When I was little Dad made me a ride-on tortoise, and a bit later a scooter. He has built shelves and furniture, brewed beer, pickled olives, cured biltong and renovated houses. Dad has surfed, paddle-skied, windsurfed, kite surfed, hanglided, played tennis, cycled the Argus and run marathons, including the Comrades several times. He has serviced his own cars, and mine once I owned one. All this while carving an exemplary career as a naval officer. There is nothing Dad can’t do.

Dad always feels other people should be able to do anything too, and encourages us to attempt everything we want to do. Milord often says “Why didn’t you wait for me to come home to do it for you?”, when it never occurs to me that I couldn’t do it myself! My Dad taught me to do anything.

Anything I ask Dad he can usually answer, and if not then he’ll find out. “I don’t know” is never a good enough answer for him, and so there is nothing Dad doesn’t know.

Once I learned to read Dad’s answers tended to become “Look it up” as he steered me towards the 3 sets of encyclopedias we owned. At the time it was a bit frustrating, but knowing how to find things out for myself is an invaluable skill. “I don’t know” is not good enough for me either! One of the best professional compliments I have ever received was from a colleague who said he was always happy to explain something to me, because he knew I’d already looked everywhere else for the answer first. My Dad taught me to know everything.

Not many independent adults can say that their Dad has never fallen off the All-knowing All-doing pedestal!

I’ve been hearing stories about Dad from family recently. The recurring themes are “Hero”, “Mentor”, “Leader” and “Larger than Life”. Dad was just “Dad” to me, and I thought all his fabulous attributes were normal. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been so disappointed in the various boyfriends I tested over the years, and why it took me until my mid-thirties to finally find a man who measures up!

Family has always been very important to Dad, and he has been the centre of our enormous clan from the beginning. As the eldest and the first to settle down, Dad’s house was usually the venue for any family gatherings and I grew up surrounded by a swarm of aunties, uncles and cousins. I am really sad that Dad is not going to be able to be Grandad to my kids. Grace and James won’t remember their Grandad, or know what it’s like to be tickled and teased into a complete meltdown by him as a little kid, or be able to draw on his vast wisdom as confused teenagers, or be able to merrily share a few beers and tall tales as young adults.

Somewhere over the past few decades my Dad and I became friends rather than just father and daughter. He now trusts me to choose the right job, the right country and the right husband. Dad always says: “If you know what you want, you can achieve it. Believe in yourself. Be happy.”

I think Dad’s proud of me. I’m certainly proud of him!

Plus, of course, I love him to bits. I love my Dad like a flower follows the sun, like water flows downhill and like night follows day. He has always been there in the background no matter how far I roam or how rarely we make contact, and I can't imagine the void his absence is going to create.

Friday, 10 August 2012

I'm Fine

I'm getting worried emails from around the world!

I'm fine, really. Nothing a slab of chocolate and some wine can't fix! I don't get depressed, but I do get sad, worried, frustrated and cross. Sometimes all at once and I then I feel the need to complain.

Princess will be fine. The heart murmur can't be that bad if they've only just found it, I'm not really concerned about her balance, and the glasses are cooooool.

I have the sweetest boy in the world.

Dad's blood results were so good this week he didn't need to be admitted.

So, on the whole, things are as good as they can be ;-)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Pity Party

*sigh* I have the blues.

In 4 days I fly to South Africa to see my Dad. To say goodbye.

Dad spends half of each week in the hospital now, receiving blood and antibiotics as his body is not doing much in that department anymore. He sleeps most of the time. This will be the last time I see my father.

I feel bad writing that I'm miserable, because it's so selfish.

Poor Princess is getting glasses today, which she has to wear all the time to try to correct a squint. If the glasses don't work then she will need surgery on her eye muscles. And she's now been referred to a neurologist because her walking is so wobbly. Oh, and she has a fucking heart murmur!

The cost of the fence we recently built, my flights to see Dad and Milord's leg operation have seriously impacted our finances. I have had to dip into the kid's college fund to pay for it all. This makes me feel bad too. And makes Milord cranky because he's the breadwinner blah blah blah.

I'm fat. No more than usual, but I really was hoping I'd lose a few kilos before my trip to visit Dad. It seems so wrong to be a blobby mess while visiting someone who is wasting away because they can't eat. Food is my comfort thing though...

Milord is taking 2 weeks off work to look after the kids while I'm away. He's never even had them both for a day, so I'm a bit worried about him although he's being very gracious about it. What with me being blue, and all Princess' latest medical issues, Milord is a bit short tempered lately. I have to walk on eggshells around him.