Picture a clear blue sky, with a tint of yellow as if streaked across on a half dry paintbrush. Not a single cloud in the sky, birds singing far off in the distance and the sound of laughter from next door having a water fight and basking in the late evening glow of Summer. Rarely does it feel like a heatwave here in the Peaks, most of the warmth is muggy and claustrophobic but the past three days have been fresh, clean and have tinged all around with a golden feel.
Suddenly the roads were quieter and the pavements became the new motorways as residents flocked to the parks and to the fairground on the other side of town. Supermarkets filled with those desperate for meat and booze and pub gardens became the hub of the town. The bushes and trees were green, a vibrant gorgeous emerald and filled with life and vigor. Roses were an abundance of colour in the garden as the lush grass, freshly mown began to sprig wildflowers which tempted in the passing bees.
Summer brings life. It is a short-lived time of year where we can all sit back, relax and enjoy the warmth whilst we immerse within the beauty of our loved ones. The pansies in the hanging baskets radiate from purples to yellows whilst the apple tree is starting to show the first signs of glorious fruit ready to be picked once Midsummer has passed.
But this happiness feels empty. I sit here not chatting and laughing, the neighbors have gone indoors and the garden is now quiet as the last slither of sun sets behind the silhouette of the houses nearby. I’m sat here alone. The past few days have been beautiful but haunting. The Summer has not brought me life, but is about to bring me Death.
In the front room of the bungalow, encircled by a tall hedge and a small patch of garden there is a large bay window that allows all the light to filter in and fill a simple white bedroom that only holds a hospital bed and a few camping chairs that are clumsily placed around. And in that bed is my hero. His demise was inevitable, we just couldn’t comprehend how soon it would come to torture us. As we hear the faint sounds of laughter and love for the Summer, here we sit waiting and willing our precious loved one to let go.
It’s not a circumstance that feels real. The word surreal has never felt truer than right now. A man who I have loved, adored and spent my best days with will soon be gone. I already miss his voice. I already miss his smile. I’m already haunted by those big ocean blue eyes that are filled with fear as the morphine wears off and as he realises that his end has come too soon. I hold his hand, I shed tears, I laugh with family and I stare vacantly into empty space. A plethora of emotions yet I can’t seem to hold onto a single one.
The guilt of wishing for his passing is deep, the relief feels forthcoming, the grief is beginning to suffocate and the practical side of me is already planning my life without him by my side. Without pushing his chair, filling his oxygen, ordering his coffee and holding his hand deep into the night as he tells me stories of his childhood. My life won’t be empty. It won’t be pointless. Just lost along the way until I find a new path in which to hold him close spiritually for when I meet him again in my own afterlife.
My greatest fear has always been to lose my Dad. If I’d have known only ten years ago when I lost my Nana, that I would be losing him so soon after I could not have carried on. But we did. We went to the theater, we went to music concerts, we climbed the O2 in London, we went to Whitby Goth Festival, we drove around and talked. I learnt so much about my Dad in this past two years than my whole life. This disease has been awful, I would do anything to take it back and to see him walk through that door. But it has been an honor and a pleasure to spend this time with him, to be close to him and to have memories that I can take forward. I have some ideas on how I want to commemorate him and how to hold onto him going forward but for the foreseeable future it is time to grieve, to cry and to remember him.
One thing is though, I will never stop talking to him or writing to him. My dear Pa.