16 Feb 2016

Coming up for air

Well, hello again. I stepped away from this blog unintentionally almost eight weeks ago and have found it blissfully easy to choose life over blogging in the interim.  It would be an easy habit to slip into.

Truth is, I find it easy to blog about the daily delights of the garden but when something of enormous significance is happening, my brain doesn't want to connect with my fingers. And that something is that my dad got ill just before Christmas Eve and died at the end of January.  He had to be hospitalised when his chest infection escalated into pneumonia and pleurisy but, in the last two weeks of his life, was reunited with my mum, the love of his life over six decades of blissful marriage.  As she has dementia, she hasn't fully understood that he's gone but I think that's a blessing, given the grief she would otherwise be experiencing.


Dad, Singapore, 1961

I've written in the past of my parents' dementia. My dad had a form of Alzheimer's which seemed to affect his co-ordination more than memory.  Although increasingly frail and unsteady, he remained welcoming and interested right up to mid December when he seemed to make up his mind that it was time to go. He was 84. He'd been moved into a care home in November as he could no longer look after himself; there, he was without my mum as she'd been taken into hospital. They'd been together for so long, propping each other up.  He'd accepted the move with his customary good grace but without her, what was the point? 

Dementia is a cruel disease, slowly stripping away the brain's essential functions.  My Dad recovered from lymphatic cancer at the turn of the millenium only to very slowly circle the edges of dementia, spiralling inwards until, in the last year, the illness steadily pulled him down into the vortex.  He was a loving father and husband to the end, always the polite gentleman.

The family has had a long time to watch the gradual living loss of our parents and, as such, the grieving process began months back.  I'm saddened by my dad's demise but not mourning; I still have my mum to think about.  My lovely dad had a wonderful life, full of love and laughter, travels and interests, family and friends and he found time for them all.  What more could anyone ask of our time on this earth?


Mum and Dad in happier times.


If you've read to the end of this post, thank you.  It not only explains my prolonged absence from blogging but has helped emotionally to be able to write about my dad's passing. His funeral is this Friday. Death comes to us all but life goes on and I'll be back soon with news of my winter gardening exploits and a new project that I'm involved in. They say gardening is the best therapy and I'd have to agree.

22 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss of your dad. I lost both my parents and know how much it hurts. Be thinking of you on Friday/

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    1. Thank you, Sue. It will be hard, especially with the collective grief from all the family, but I remember saying to my son possibly four years ago "I'm not ready to lose them" so I've been preparing for this for some time.

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  2. Oh Caro I'm so very deeply sorry for your loss, I hope you can make it through Friday as well as you possibly can. Thinking of you all xx

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear your news Caro - though I wondered if something like this had happened. I was just about to email you when your post popped up - I must have tuned into your blogging thought waves. Hugs to you, especially for Friday xxx

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  4. Very sorry to hear about your dad. I hope it goes well on Friday. Will be thinking of you. Take care x

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  5. I am so sorry to hear your news and had been wondering where you were. I found this piece profoundly moving and I hope the writing of it helped your grief a little.

    With much love.

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  6. Caro, I am so sorry about your loss. It is also very enlightened to read your last post, such a graceful description of such a grief. You are a great writer with a great attitude towards this painful stage of the life. Thank you for the chance to read about it, I will take it with me.

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  7. Caro, I'm so very sorry about your loss of your dad, you have written so beautifully about him, it sounds as though he was a wonderful man and lived life to the full. The photos are both lovely. I hope Friday goes okay. Sending you a cyber hug, CJ xx

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  8. Gosh, Caro. I'm so sorry to read this and I send all good wishes to you. I hope you are bearing up and that Friday goes as well as it can do. Take good care of yourself and I hope a little early spring sunshine and time in the garden works its magic for you. Sam xx

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  9. Thank you so much for posting such desperately sad news, especially at a time when you must be feeling so raw yourself. I'm currently f/t Carer for my father (86yrs) and have the same feeling of almost perpetual 'dread' that their time is finite and all 'Good' things must come to an end. I must say how much I admire your fortitude and quiet dignity, I shall hope to be similarly composed when my own father passes. Finally, must add, what a handsome young man your father looked in that old snap and what a loving and happy looking couple your parents present in the other one :) Will be sending best wishes and kindly thoughts out to you and yours for Friday.

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  10. Such a sad story, Caro. You have my sympathy. I had been wondering why you were so quiet, but I understand why now. You certainly got your priorities right. One of my best friends died recently, and he had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia, so his quality of life had been poor for a while. In a way I have been fortunate, in that my mother died suddenly when in her 40s, and my Dad died of cancer after an unusually short period after his diagnosis - so not long-term slow deterioration. I hope your Mum is still able to understand and appreciate your presence and love. Hope it goes OK on Friday.

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  11. Oh difficult days for you Caro ((())) I had been wondering where you were and am so sorry to hear your news. It must have been of some comfort to you all that your dad was able to spend his last days together with his life long love. You will be in my thoughts on Friday. Take care xxx

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  12. A heartfelt post. My sympathies. It's never easy but when it happens at that time of year it always seems worse.
    Take care, Flighty xx

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  13. my eyes are welling up, and i'm at work...I feel so much for you. my thoughts are with you, sending you some Australian summer sunshine from afar to light your day.

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  14. Sorry to hear your sad news. The loss of ones' parents is so hard. It is like being set adrift. Take care.

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  15. Dear Caro, So sorry to hear your very sad news about your dear Dad. My Dad too had dementia. I can understand how you feel about the gradual loss you have been experiencing. It was so good to hear that your parents were reunited. I'm thinking of you and your family especially today. I hope the memories of happier times including those in Weymouth will be a comfort to you in the months ahead. Sarah x

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  16. Oh Caro I'm so sorry. I'm coming to realise that losing our parents is a right of passage that occurs naturally at this time of our lives. My mother died first in hospital from pneumonia having made a remarkable recovery from a severe stroke four years earlier. She had been airlifted to St George's Tooting and operated on for four hours. The saddest thing was visiting her in intensive care and seeing the young lives in the other beds. My dad was on his own for two years (he was the sort of man who never had a day's illness) and simply gave up after the second anniversary of my mother's death and died in his sleep. I was with my mum holding her hand when she died and I found my dad in his bed. The clean washing was dried and folded, the kitchen was tidy. A life well-lived. You are right though that gardening and working with the natural world will see us through, not to mention the next generation. There were six grown grandchildren at my father's funeral underlining the natural order of life. Take care Caro and thanks for giving me the opportunity to grieve a little here with you today. Sarah x

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  17. I'm so very sorry Caro, as you say, a kind of blessing that your mum isn't aware of the loss, but dementia is so cruel to those around. Warm hugs. I hope happy memories of your dad and the rich life he looked act as a balm as you adjust.

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    1. Oh Caro, I'm so sorry for your very sad loss. Thinking of you xx

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  18. Memories are so precious. Dementia is very hard to deal with, it's like you lose your parents twice over.
    Christy
    Lilbitbrit

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  19. So very sorry to hear of your loss, but how wonderful to know what a full life your father had, so many exist rather than live. Huge hugs.xxx

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  20. Sorry for your loss, Caro. My grandparents have dementia so I can understand a little of what you're going through. It is, indeed, a cruel disease.

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Caro x

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