My little sister’s Christening – far too many years ago to admit to the date
My sister is having routine day surgery this week, her hubby is serving in Afghanistan at the mo so Mum is going up to have my niece and keep my sister company for a couple weeks. Next week Dad is off to annual camp with his Army Cadet Colleagues – just for one night, he’s been invited to the annual dinner. Much drama of late has ensued as he lost a satin button from his Dinner Uniform but that looks like it’s all sorted. He’s staying with my brother for a few days before camp and the week after, so all being well he’ll be away for a fortnight too. No parental’s for a fortnight and my Auntie is looking after my parent’s cat and my grandfolks. So all should be well.
Yet somehow it doesn’t feel well at the mo.
This weekend I had a bit of a ruck with my Dad – now this isn’t in itself anything too major, it’s not a big deal, nothing to write home about, yet it’s warranted this blog post. It wasn’t a massive blow out or anything of earth shattering significance. Yet somehow it left me feeling like shite. I think that’s the trouble when you argue with someone you know is dying! I know, I know, we’re all dying, you should never go to bed on an argument, and you never know when/if you might see someone again and all other such truisms, but it feels a little different when you *know* someone might die at any moment.
Not that my Dad is ill – as such, right now. It’s not particularly obvious that his health is declining – although arguably you can spot it if you know what to look for. He had an infection a couple weeks ago and seems to have recovered physically but has been left a bit rattled by it, Mum described it as though he was spooked this time. It’s almost like the seriousness hit home – all over again. Which when you stop to think about it, it must. It certainly did for me, and for Mum, so I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for Dad.
My Dad has nearly always seemed to respond physically to emotional situations, I guess we all do but for most of us they don’t have as much impact. So even though he seems to have recovered from the latest infection, he is also just not as he once was. He is on a short fuse, and this weekend when I spoke to him I was too – I’d been trying to sort travel insurance for a holiday, which of course I can’t plan or book just in case his health declines suddenly in the next month. He was snappy, I was snappy, crap phonecall led to words.
This in itself isn’t surprising. I’ve always had a relatively firey relationship with my pa, I used to think it was something to do with being a middle child, or my little sister being the apple of his eye, or his practical non-academic approach to life when I was such a bookish child (a curse placed on me by my Gran many years ago). As the years have gone on I’ve come to realise that it’s just because we’re so alike, strong characters, don’t think before we speak, passionate, bloody minded and determined – not always a good combo. Luckily for me I’ve got a healthy dose of all his good bits as well as his slightly more difficult traits.
My reflection as I drove home tonight is that whenever I think about Dad dying, or being terminally ill, it’s like my minds eye sees it in sepia. It’s like everything is a dulled down version of itself, all the emotions are there, but they’re on ice…just waiting for the actual moment when life or death will breath colour into them. As ever I’m hoping that day is a long way off, but in the meantime I’ll be calling Dad tonight to apologise, just in case.